Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Lady Vanishes (1979)

Synopsis: It’s like a bad Murder She Wrote – Moonlighting crossover set on a train in Nazi Germany.

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: "All aboard for 'THE LADY VANISHES', the Rank Organization's prestigious production of the romantic comedy-thriller, which not only boasts a truly star-studded cast but also possesses that indefinable quality which makes it a certain box office winner."

What Did I Learn?: It’s not a great idea to do a Hitler impression in a room full of Nazis.

Really?: 1) So...a couple of civilians armed with pistols can fight off a unit of German soldiers? 2) Why would the bad guys go to such elaborate lengths to convince Amanda (Cybill Shepherd) that Miss Froy (Angela Lansbury) was never on the train? Why not just tell her Miss Froy had to leave, unexpectedly? 3) How does the finger-mark of “Froy” get erased from the dining car window? 4) Gee...what are the odds of an empty package of Froy’s special tea hitting the window by Robert’s (Elliott Gould) head, and him actually noticing it for the brief second it’s there? 5) If somebody informed me they drugged my drink with a sleeping agent, I doubt that I would take the opportunity to climb outside the train to the next compartment.  

Rating: I’ve never seen the original Hitchcock version of The Lady Vanishes, but the 1979 remake is just plain awful. It starts out well, mind you, and the setup suggests a whodunit along the lines of Murder on the Orient Express. Instead, however, the viewer is treated to 99 minutes of Shepherd acting (to use that word in its broadest sense) nutso on a train. The plot is chock full of coincidences and implausible “Really?” moments, Shepherd is terrible, and Gould just seems out of place. I cannot recommend this movie. 5/10 stars

Would it Work For a BAD MOVIE NIGHT?: No

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