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  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • English Mono
  • 1 Disc
  • Audio commentary by Bruce Eder

The Lady Vanishes

1998 Edition
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas, Dame May Whitty, Cecil Parker, Linden Travers, Naunton Wayne, Basil Radford, Mary Clare, Philip Leaver, Catherine Lacy
1938 | 97 Minutes | Licensor: Gaumont

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $39.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #3 | Out of print
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: May 26, 1998
Review Date: December 6, 2008

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In this best-loved of Hitchcock's British-made thrillers, a young woman on a train meets a charming old lady (Dame May Whitty), who promptly disappears. The other passengers deny ever having seen her, leading the young woman to suspect a conspiracy. When she begins investigating, she is drawn into a complex web of mystery and high adventure.

Forum members rate this film 8.3/10


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Criterionís original release of Alfred Hitchcockís The Lady Vanishes is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-layer disc.

Itís a pretty bad looking transfer. The print has had some restoration to it, as shown by the included restoration demonstration, but thereís still plenty. This isnít the transfers real problem, though. The digital transfer itself is quite smudgy, presenting plenty of artifacts and noise. Edge-enhancement is noticeable on many occasions as well. The image is also very soft, and detail is never very good.

The disc was re-released not too long ago and that release presents a far better transfer. As an earlier release this disc presents one of their poorer transfers.


All DVD screen captures are presented in their original size from the source disc. Images have been compressed slightly to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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The Dolby Digital mono track leaves a bit to be desired. While dialogue is easy to hear it can come off a bit edgy, and there it can at times come off a bit harsh. Thereís also some background noise and distortion. I wasnít expecting much with the track and I didnít get much.



There is no big selection of extras here, unfortunately. Other than the restoration demonstration there is an audio commentary by Criterion favourite, Bruce Eder.

I enjoy Ederís commentary tracks and this is the first one I recall ever listening to. Heís obviously reading from notes, but he always keeps his tracks moving and engaging as covers various aspects of the filmís production, Hitchcockís style and direction, anecdotes, quotes, and even offers all sorts of trivia on members of the cast and crew. Hit commentaries are not overly analytical but that style works perfectly for a film like this.

And as mentioned before the only other supplement on here is a restoration demonstration which shows the process Criterion used for removing various amounts of damage to the print used.

Inside the case you will find an essay by Michael Wilmington, which makes a nice addendum to Ederís commentary.

Unfortunately thatís it. For what was a higher-priced release ($39.95) itís very scant on extras. The new two-disc release, while still not jam-packed, definitely puts in more value.



A bit of a rip-off. At $39.95 this release is a huge disappointment. The commentary is good but not that good. The transfer is also a bit of a disaster. Even if one came across this for dirt cheap Iíd suggest passing on it and fork out the extra bit of cash for the newer release, which has a cleaner transfer and a second disc of supplements.

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