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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Lady Vanishes (1979)

Set in 1939 Austria during the rise of Nazism, a madcap American heiress (Cybill Shepherd) befriends an English nanny (Angela Lansbury) on a train going to England. When she wakes up after a nap however, the nanny is gone and everyone insists the woman never existed. She joins forces with an American journalist (Elliott Gould) in an attempt to discover what happened to the missing woman. This remake of the 1938 Alfred Hitchcock classic has, understandably, a bad reputation. Of course, standing next to the original, it can't hold a candle, very few films could. But on its own, if you're able to stifle memories of the original, it's a modestly entertaining adventure. The remake follows the original narrative very closely. The major change is in the two lead characters which are re-imagined from the genteel Brits of the original into rather loud and pushy Americans. Shepherd, who looks gorgeous in her Emma Porteous satin gown, is rather grating as she channels Carole Lombard and Gould displays very little charm. Lansbury, as always, elevates the film. Strikingly shot in Panavision and color by Douglas Slocombe (RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK). Directed by Anthony Page from a screenplay by George Axelrod (SEVEN YEAR ITCH). With Herbert Lom, Ian Carmichael, Arthur Lowe and Jenny Runacre.

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