by HELEN GEIB
My favorite Alfred Hitchcock film got the deluxe DVD treatment last month with the Criterion Collection release of The Lady Vanishes (1938). The 2 disc release promises the excellent print and transfer expected from Criterion and is loaded with special features.
The Lady Vanishes is one of those flawless films where everything comes together so beautifully that you wouldn’t want to change even the smallest detail. In his last great work before he left Britain for Hollywood, Hitchcock is in top form directing the sparkling script by Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder. Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave star and the cast is filled out with a marvelous lineup of British character actors.
The features include an audio commentary by film historian Bruce Eder, plus essays by Hitchcock scholars Charles Barr and Leonard Leff and film critic Geoffrey O’Brien. There’s also a stills gallery of production photos and promotional art, and excerpts from Francois Truffaut’s 1962 audio interview with Hitchcock. The most intriguing extra is a second feature film made a few years later. Called Crook’s Tour (1941), it stars Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne reprising their roles as Charters and Caldicott, the determinedly oblivious cricket fans.
New releases this week: The Game Plan, The Hunting Party, Moliere, Saw IV, Sydney White