Before the hit American period, before Rear Window and Psycho and Strangers on a Train and North by Northwest, Alfred Hitchcock was the master of the minor British suspense thriller. Two years before heading to the States to direct Rebecca, which won the Oscar for Best Picture (though Hitchcock himself would never win one for best director), he directed The Lady Vanishes, a 1938 film that takes place almost entirely on a train traveling through a fictional central European nation. A young lady makes the acquaintance of an older woman, who mysteriously disappears from the train midtrip. A witty mystery full of many trademarks we now recognize as classic Hitchcock (the MacGuffin, espionage, playful camerawork — witness a poisoned-glass scene in which 10-inch glasses are filmed from a low angle to make them appear huge), it was named the best film of 1938 by the New York Times.
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