Sight and Sound - 10/01/2003
"Ingeniously scripted by Launder and Gilliat....[The film] makes very inventive use of the confined space..."
Entertainment Weekly - 11/30/2007
"[A] thrilling riddle of a film set within the gathering storm of war." -- Grade: A-
Empire - 02/01/2008 4 stars out of 5 -- "Hitchcock's penultimate British movie....Every character turns out to be different from how they first appear."
The master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, weaves a knotty yarn of intrigue in this early outing. Young, beautiful, and spoiled Iris Henderson (Margaret Lockwood) is wrapping up a ski vacation before unenthusiastically returning to London to be married. In the hotel, she meets an elderly governess en route to home, Miss Froy (Dame May Witty), as well as an unbearably rude music scholar named Gilbert (Michael Redgrave). Then, just before boarding the train, Iris receives a blow to the head and is taken under the protective wing of Miss Froy. Their conversation is polite and uneventful. Iris finally dozes off and when she comes to, Miss Froy is nowhere to be found, and no one on the train recalls seeing the governess. Thwarted at every turn in her search, Iris finds only one ally, the unbearable but handsome Gilbert. As their search begins to seem futile, Iris starts to suspect she is losing her mind. Then several people on the train--including a shifty physician and a mysterious nun--reveal nefarious motives beneath their innocent facades.
When a young woman on a train meets a charming old lady who promptly disappears, the other passengers deny having seen her, leading the young woman to suspect conspiracy. Hitchcock's final low-budget U.K. production before leaving for Hollywood stands as an extremely deft cocktail of comedy, romance, and suspense.
Essential Cinema |
Kidnapping And Missing Persons |
Theatrical Release |
Theatrical release: August 1938.
Hitch onscreen: Hitchcock appears as a pedestrian with a cigar.
The set was one 90-foot-long coach, with other cars made by transparancies or miniatures.
Voted One of the Ten Best Films of the Year by The New York Times.
Voted One of the Best Films of All Time by the SIGHT & SOUND Critics Poll: Paul Zimmerman (1972), Philip French (1992).
While shooting, Hitchcock got a cable from David O. Selznick asking him to come to Hollywood to direct a picture about the sinking of the Titanic.