BBC The Lady Vanishes (DVD)

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BBC The Lady Vanishes (DVD)

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Review of "BBC The Lady Vanishes (DVD)"

published 07/08/2017 | Candyperfumegirl
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Pro intriguing thriller
Cons none
very helpful
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"All Aboard"

the lady vanishes

the lady vanishes

I am quite partial to a mystery thriller and I find myself looking forward to the yearly retelling of the classic Agatha Christie stories on the BBC over the Christmas period. Whilst flicking through my Netflix account looking for something to watch on a lazy Sunday morning I came across this film 'A Lady Vanishes' which sounded just up my street, having found the blurb intriguing I decided to give it a go. The film is based on the book 'The Wheel Spins' by 'Ethel Lina White', and there have been a number of different movie versions made, most notably the Hitchcock thriller way back in the 1930's. However, this version was made in 2013 for the BBC and apparently follows the books plot a little more closely than Hitchcock's vision.


Tuppence Middleton as Iris Carr

Keeley Hawes as Mrs. Todhunter / Laura Parmiter

Julian Rhind-Tutt as Mr. Todhunter / Sir Peveril

Sandy McDade as Mrs. Barnes

Pip Torrens as Reverend Kenneth Barnes

Stephanie Cole as Evelyn Floodporter

Gemma Jones as Rose Floodporter

Benedikte Hansen as The Baroness

Jesper Christensen as The Doctor

Selina Cadell as Miss Froy

Tom Hughes as Max Hare

Alex Jennings as The Professor


Iris is a young socialite with too much time and money on her hands, she is holidaying with a group of friends whom are all enjoying their lavish decadent lifestyle, drinking and getting up to mischief. Older guests at the hotel they are staying at watch them disapprovingly, making judgements about the way the youngsters are behaving. However, Iris has clearly tired of her friends and after a drunken argument with one of the other females in her party she decides that she has had enough of them and decides to stay on at the hotel instead of returning home with them as planned. Her friends try to change her mind, worried about a young lady being by herself, but Iris stands her ground, waving her friends off as they leave. Within days shes fed up of the other guests and of being by herself and decides to catch the train home.

At the train station she is told that all the tickets have been sold and there is no seat available, she is so desperate to return home that she bribes the ticket sale man and after handing over a wad of cash he is suddenly able to squeeze her into a carriage. Whilst waiting for the train in the blistering heat, she faints and nearly misses the train departing, thankfully she manages to board but begins suffering with terrible sun stoke, she is dizzy and disorientated. The majority of the other travellers in her carriage or Eastern European and not at all friendly, refusing to open the window when Iris needs some fresh air. However, there is one English lady sitting opposite her, who takes the poorly Iris under her wing. She introduced herself as Miss Froy, a governess travelling home to see her family. Miss Froy looks after Iris and even taking her for tea in the dinning carriage. Still feeling the effects of her fall and the sun stroke, Iris eventually falls asleep but when she wakes Miss Froy has disappeared. When she questions this disappearance to the other travellers in her carriage they deny there ever having been another passenger, they had never seen nor heard of a Miss Froy. Iris suspects foul play, she believes they are all lying and will not stop until she discovers the where abouts of Miss Froy and the reason for her disappearance. What follows are some exciting, edge of your seat plot twists and double bluffs, which leaves the audience questioning the motives of all the passengers on the train and the sanity of young Iris herself.

My Thoughts

This is by no means a big budget blockbuster thriller and there are no special effects here, it really does have that made for TV feel to it but this is none the less a quality BBC production. The first ten minutes or so at the beginning of the film is set in and around a hotel as we are introduced to the main characters - most notably Iris - a rather spoilt socialite who declares herself to be 'bored of life'. We also have the 'Honey Moon couple', a priest with his highly strung wife and two older ladies who enjoy a good gossip. Once we are all aboard the train, the plot moves quickly and it chugs along at a nice even pace.

The film is set in the 1930's and we have some beautiful shots of the steam train as it travels through the country. For the most part, the film is set within the train itself and the setting gives the film a claustrophobic feel, which adds to the tension.

Initially, I disliked the character of Iris, a young lady clearly from a privileged family whom had too much time and money to burn. My first impression of her was that she was rather cold and shallow. However, as the film progressed I began warming to her more and more, as she struggled to get anyone to believe her version of events yet remained confident in herself and refused to believe she was 'hysterical' or ''going mad", I really found myself rooting for Iris. The film took on a dream like feel as Iris tried to pull herself together after fainting earlier in the day which helped add to the feeling that things were not quite as they seemed on the surface and that something sinister was in play. The actress played the part wonderfully, in fact the acting on the whole was pretty good, albeit a little overly dramatic in places.

I found the supporting characters to be rather complex themselves too, and I found myself questioning their intentions to Iris and what their motives were, especially as most of them seemed to be lying for no obvious reason. I found that pretty much everyone was a suspect, even the 'nice' characters whom seemed to be trying to help the mentally frayed Iris - even if they didn't necessarily believe everything she was saying. There seemed to be no real motive for someone bumping the lovely twee Miss Frey off not to mention their was no body to speak of, whether dead or alive. And of course, there was always the possibility that Iris had indeed imagined the whole thing.

At just 1 hour 25 minutes, this film was the perfect length but I did feel the end to be a little rushed, still, it was enjoyable watching all the strands come together as the journey came to an end and the final destination was reached.
Age Recommendation

The certificate of this one is a little confusing, with the DVD release being given a PG rating whilst Netflix giving it a 12+. Personally, I would say that the PG was the correct rating, there's no strong violence here, no nudity or sexual scenes and I counted just one swear word - so I doubt there would be much here to offend.

Final Thoughts

The Lady Vanishes was a really intriguing psychological thriller which kept me on the edge of my seat throughout, I thoroughly enjoyed the journey it took me on and found it to be a pleasant way to spend an hour and 25 minutes of my lazy Sunday morning. A nice little hidden Netflix gem here which is certainly worth a look.
Price & Availability

I watched The Lady Vanished on my Netflix account, which costs me £5.99 a month. But content is forever changing.

It is also available on DVD with a RRP of £9.99

Prices correct Aug 2017. Delivery charges may apply

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Comments on this review

  • euphie published 24/08/2017
    e :o)
  • IzzyS published 09/08/2017
    I might quite like to see this. Good review.
  • justarube published 08/08/2017
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Product Information : BBC The Lady Vanishes (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Actor(s): Tuppence Middleton, Keeley Hawes, Julian Rhind Tutt, Stephanie Cole, Pip Torrens

Genre: Thriller

Director(s): Diarmuid Lawrence

DVD Region: DVD

EAN: 5051561042188

Classification: Parental Guidance

Production Year: 2011


Listed on Ciao since: 04/08/2017