The Rank Organisation
Oh, that white dress. Cybill Shepherd (Amanda) stars in this 1979 remake of Hitchcock’s classic 1938 movie. Filmmakers freshened the plot with a hearty dose of steam engine-powered runbys through Austria’s spectacular scenery. Cybill/Amanda is a brash, American heiress who strikes up a conversation with Miss Froy, played to English-nanny-perfection by none other than Angela Lansbury (a.k.a. Mrs. Fletcher).
The rub is that Amanda wakes from a short nap only to find Miss Froy has vanished — and no one on board will admit to her being on the train in the first place! The film takes place in pre-WW2 Germany, so you know those pesky krauts are involved. Who would want to off sweet, old Mrs. Fletcher, er….Miss Froy? (OK, Cabot Cove IS the murder capital of the planet, but I’m getting off track here.).
Both the Mrs. and I enjoyed this DVD for what it is — a light comedy/mystery with train scenes and bodacious scenery galore. Perfect for an evening’s entertainment. Let’s check it out!
As a railfan, I appreciated the effort filmmakers put into getting great scenic vistas as the train rolled along.
Our train waits at the station for passengers to board.
Hello, Nip! Doing her best Carole Lombard, Cybill/Amanda flounces along the corridor and plants herself in a seat — much to the disapproval of that nice German family.
Here comes Miss Froy down the corridor who immediately hits it off with Amanda.
Interiors were mostly filmed at the fabled Pinewood Studios in England.
Highball! Good shot of the locomotive crew. I think it’s something they teach in movie school. There MUST be at least one shot of steam locomotive drivers slipping upon start up. And we’re on our way.
Miss Froy and Amanda head for the extremely posh speisewagen (dining car) located just behind the engine. This is how I spell my name! Amanda salutes her with what appears to be a scotch and soda.
“Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go…”
Back in the coach, Amanda wakes up to discover Miss Froy is gone. No one in their compartment or the dining car seems the least bit concerned.
The smirking krauts even substitute an impostor Miss Froy, but Amanda isn’t buying it. Back in the speisewagen, Amanda discovers the Froy still on the window.
Well, Amanda flips. Pulling the emergency brake, the train comes to a screeching halt with a great view of the churning drivers.
The train resumes its journey as Amanda is placed under house arrest.
Bite ’em, Amanda! The action then moves to the baggage car where the knife-welding kraut gets a great face hold on Robert. Somehow, their Teutonic tormentor is tossed from train.
The stunt double did a remarkable job as he had to jump over a fence and land in what looks like a very shallow pond of water.
Great railroad scenes. Our train smokes past some soldiers on the platform. A good view of uncoupling a European passenger car. Inside a switch tower. The forward portion of the train is sent down the line.
More iron horse goodness. The abbreviated train at a level crossing; telephoto shot; Zis is how vee schtop a train in Chormany; Soldiers surround the short consist.
Close up of tender and cab of our locomotive; inside the cab; setting off in reverse with an impressive display of steam; Plucky Amanda throwing a switch.
Will they make it out of Germany? What happened to Miss Froy? Why no particulars on the steam locomotive? So many questions. You’ll just have to rent or stream this entertaining feature and enjoy it yourself. Oh, and according to IMDb trivia, the wardrobe department made NINE copies of that white dress for Cybill Shepherd to wear during filming. All Aboard!
Here’s what IMDb has to say about The Lady Vanishes:
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