I seem to be taking cues from PPCC these days, much obliged. Probably because of a lack of something to blog about, so I start writing film reviews. I need to get a life.
Although I'm in no hurry to do so.
So, The Lady Vanishes. So did my resistance against the vestiges of sleep creeping in from the sides. Without much ado, I fell asleep, so I'm not exactly qualified to review, but please acknowledge that I'm a hypocrite, so all's well that begins well.
So, the scene is set; a strange land, a benevolent-seeming old lady by the name of Miss Froy (May Whitty), Iris (Margaret Lockwood) the erstwhile holiday-er on her way to her sasural, and Gilbert (Michael Redgrave, a musicologist looking to write a book on the folk songs. Due to some inevitability in the train's getting late, everyone's got to take rooms in the hotel and wait for the following morning. Some humour is depicted alongside, with the local scene and Gilbert disturbing everyone with his work, which involves three of the hotel staff dancing with their heavy boots on the floor above Iris and Miss Froy.
With some minor arguements the passengers find themselves in the station the following morning, where Iris gets hit by a flowerpot and is concussed for the morning, when Miss Froy volunteers to take care of her.
At this point it would be prudent to mention the book from which the plot was taken. The original was written by Ethel Lina White, who called it "The Wheel Spins," wherein it is not a flowerpot that concusses her by sunstroke. Miss Froy takes care of Iris and accompanies her to the restaurant car (how come India still doesn't have those, even after so long?) and conviniently writes her name on the restaurant window. And then she accompanies Iris back to the compartment where Iris sleeps once more, and awakens to find Miss Froy nowhere.
Now, modern movie fanatics will remember a film, "Flightplan" (2005) starring Jodie Foster and Sean Bean, where Jodie Foster plays an engineer whose daughter disappears during a flight. They will also remember that while Jodie Foster's character, Kyle Pratt, seems to teeter on the edge of sanity and she suddenly spots the heart her daughter had drawn on the window. And her bravado returns.
The germans give up and the train reaches London, where Iris and Gilbert find themselves in love, at which point Gilbert wonderfully, typically, forgets the tune. But the day is saved when they find the tune played by Miss Froy, who manages to reach London inspite of her age, and the day is saved. C'est fin.
"The Wheel Spins" is differently told, however; Miss Froy has no idea she's carrying around a vital piece of information. The train never stops, and there is no final shootout. Gilbert is an engineer by the name of Max Hare, and it is sunstroke and not a badly aimed flowerpot that dizzies Iris, and the two unlucky cricket enthusiasts are nowhere.
The Lady Vanishes has an 8.1 rating on IMDB, and received the Best Film Award of 1938.
The best characters were Charters and Caldicott shown on the side panel, the two cricket enthusiasts, who were always wondering if they'd get to the match after all, unfazed by shootouts or spies or the war. And no, they're not gay, although they're a visual treat.
Amen and goodnight.