3 The Lady Vanishes

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jmj713
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#26 Post by jmj713 » Thu Aug 16, 2007 10:27 am

malcolm1980 wrote:I hope this will be the start of the re-release of the other out-of-print Hitchcock Criterions like Notorious and Rebecca.
I don't know what else they could add to those, and the transfers are fantastic.

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#27 Post by teddyleevin » Thu Aug 16, 2007 10:29 am

jmj713 wrote:
malcolm1980 wrote:I hope this will be the start of the re-release of the other out-of-print Hitchcock Criterions like Notorious and Rebecca.
I don't know what else they could add to those, and the transfers are fantastic.
I just want them rereleased, even without more stuff. I just want those movies on DVD.

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#28 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Aug 16, 2007 11:22 am

The BBC site I first posted to seems to have disappeared, but found a potted history at Wikipedia (reproduced below in case it gets deleted!) It says that after Night Train To Munich the characters appeared in two radio serials. Crooks Tour seems to be a film version of the first of them:
In The Lady Vanishes, the pair are hilariously singleminded cricket fans, rushing back to England to see the last days of a test match. They proved so popular with audiences that they recurred in the Gilliat-and-Launder films Night Train to Munich (1940, also starring Margaret Lockwood) and Millions Like Us (1943), and in the BBC radio serials Crook's Tour (1941, made into a film later that year) and Secret Mission 609 (1942).

Wayne and Radford played similar double acts in several more movies, such as Straker and Gregg in the 1949 Passport to Pimlico (again scripted by Gilliat-and-Launder), The Next of Kin (appearing at the end as a "Careless Talk Costs Lives" pair), Dead Of Night (1946, sequence directed by Charles Crichton), A Girl In A Million (1946, Francis Searle) and Quartet (1948, sequence directed by Ralph Smart). Another recurring cricket-mad pairing played by them were Bright and Early in It's Not Cricket (1948, Alfred Roome), Helter Skelter (1949, Ralph Thomas) and Stop Press Girl (1949, Michael Barry).

They were intended to reappear in I See A Dark Stranger (1945, Launder), but Launder and Gilliat refused to give them the larger roles in the film that Radford and Wayne demanded as befitting the high profile actors they had now become. As a result, the actors opted out of the film and two similar but differently named characters were substituted. This falling out, however, left Radford and Wayne contractually disallowed from portraying the characters. BBC radio (wanting to broadcast more of the popular radio comedy thriller serials) thus created the pairing Woolcot and Spencer in Double Bedlam (1946), Traveller's Joy (1947), May I Have The Treasure (1951) and Rogue's Gallery (1952). This also became Berkeley and Bulstrode in Crime Gentleman, Please (1948), and Hargreaves and Hunter in Having A Wonderful Crime (1949) and Fanshaw and Fothergill in That's My Baby (1950). In mid-production on Rogue's Gallery, Basil Radford died suddenly of a heart attack at 55 and Naunton Wayne completed the adventure on his own.

Charters and Caldicott themselves were resurrected again for a BBC television series, Charters and Caldicott, in 1985, (with Michael Aldridge as Caldicott and Robin Bailey as Charters), and recurred in the 1979 remake of The Lady Vanishes (with Arthur Lowe as Charters and Ian Carmichael as Caldicott).
Last edited by colinr0380 on Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:11 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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#29 Post by tryavna » Thu Aug 16, 2007 11:44 am

It's also worth noting that Radford and Wayne appeared as a team in many more films, playing variations of the Charters and Caldicott characters even when they had different names. Probably the most notable examples are Passport to Pimlico and the golfing segment of Dead of Night.

Edit: Oops, my point is more or less covered in the link Colin posted (though it doesn't seem to mention Passport, which is an odd omission). I didn't realize that Launder and Gilliat intended to incorporate them into I See a Dark Stranger, though I know exactly which characters they were mean to be. Frankly, I prefer the movie as it now is, with the uncanny resemblances of the two actors who replaced Radford and Wayne.

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#30 Post by sevenarts » Sun Sep 30, 2007 9:47 pm

Eric Skillman provides a blog post about his design for the new package.

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#31 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Nov 08, 2007 3:38 pm


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#32 Post by PfR73 » Wed Dec 05, 2007 1:39 am

I just received my copy of the updated release today. I want to thank Criterion for putting in it a single-width keepcase even though it's 2 discs so that it will still fit in my "Wrong Men & Notorious Women" Box since I'll be getting rid of the original disc.

I think it's interesting that a few comments in the Bruce Eder commentary have been rerecorded. If you listen to the commentary, it's very obvious when something has been changed. It's mostly to make the commentary seem more recent (adjusting references to time). For posterity's sake here are the sections that were changed:

1) starts at 00:05:05 on old release, 00:05:37 on new release

a. Original commentary: "They're also the only characters in the movie to make reference to 'the Americans.' In an era of peacekeeping in Bosnia & military intervention in the Persian Gulf, it's good to remember that in the period in which 'Lady Vanishes' was made, Americans were considered nothing more than an annoying group of rival tourists with, as Charters & Caldicott later say, 'no sense of proportion.'"

b. New commentary: "In a time when the United States is wrecking Middle Eastern countries by mistake, it's good to remember that in the period in which 'Lady Vanishes' was made, Americans were considered nothing more than an annoying group of rival tourists with, as Charters & Caldicott say, 'no sense of proportion.'"

2) starts at 00:25:23 on old release, 00:26:07 on new release

a. Old commentary: "Incidentally, the actress on the right, Googie Withers, is still working in the 1990's. She played David Helfgott's benefactress in 'Shine.'"

b. New commentary: "Incidentally, the actress on the right, Googie
Withers, was still working in the 1990's. She played David Helfgott's benefactress in 'Shine.'"

3) starts at 00:34:17 on old release, 00:35:02 on new release

a. Old commentary: "In 'North By Northwest,' Roger Thornhill is mistaken for George Kaplan when one of the villains sees him answer a page for Kaplan, never realizing that Thornhill was also being paged."

b. New commentary: "In 'North By Northwest,' Thornhill is mistaken for George Kaplan when one of the villains sees him seemingly answer a page for Kaplan, not realizing that he's trying to send a wire."

4) starts at 01:31:36 on old release, 01:32:37

a. Old commentary: "The amazing thing about 'The Lady Vanishes' is that it has not only held its audience for the 60 years since it was released, but gained new fans."

b. New commentary: "The amazing thing about 'The Lady Vanishes' is that it has not only held its audience for the 70 years since it was released, but has gained new fans."

Those are all the differences I recall hearing. Another fact is that the Michael Wilmington essay from the original booklet was not reprinted in the new booklet

Also to confirm, the six seconds that were missing from the previous release have been restored. Even with the picture-boxing, the new transfer blows the old one away. I hadn't watched the old release in a while & so hadn't realized how analog it looked. Good job, Criterion.

Trivia note: the word "criterion" is used by Charters in "Crook's Tour." Is this the first film released on a Criterion DVD to actually use the word "criterion" in the dialogue?

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#33 Post by Jeff » Wed Dec 05, 2007 1:57 am

PfR73 wrote:I think it's interesting that a few comments in the Bruce Eder commentary have been rerecorded.
Thanks for the copious notes on the changes. I recall yelling "No he wasn't!" at my television when Eder misremembered that scene from my beloved North by Northwest.

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#34 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Jan 21, 2008 6:50 pm


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#35 Post by denti alligator » Tue Jan 22, 2008 11:17 pm

I'm sorry to report that Crook's Tour is rather forgettable. It puts the brilliance of The Lady Vanishes in perspective, I guess, but it's not one I'd imagine ever returning to.

Glad to have a near-flawless transfer of this Hitch feature, though (even outdoing the German box set version). I found the Leonard Leff video essay to be very good. Criterion should do more of these in place of full-length commentaries. Actual film analysis works better when the critic can cite and show scenes that are not contiguous in the film.

Anyway, a very welcome reissue.

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#36 Post by Narshty » Sat Apr 19, 2008 11:06 am

I made it through 25 minutes of Crook's Tour then couldn't hack anymore (and I was looking forward to it). Anyone else have a more positive opinion?

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#37 Post by tryavna » Sat Apr 19, 2008 12:19 pm

Narshty wrote:I made it through 25 minutes of Crook's Tour then couldn't hack anymore (and I was looking forward to it). Anyone else have a more positive opinion?
I watched it all the way through during lunch last weekend, and I found it entertaining. (Caveat: I had just twisted my ankle earlier that morning, so I was also immobile -- or at least unlikely to get up off the couch unless a movie was totally unwatchable.)

Two things struck me about Crook's Tour: (1) It's clearly influenced by the Hope-Crosby "Road" pictures, which had just started the previous year. So if you've ever been interested to see what a British version of the "Road" pictures would look like, here's your chance. (2) It also illustrates an interesting fact that I think we often overlook: that the British who belonged to the last generation of empire-builders and to the "stiff-upper-lip" generation who endured the blitz could actually satirize the cliches of British empire-building and the "stiff-upper-lip" in clever ways. There's a moment when Charters and Caldicott are entering a restaurant in Bagdad and a hat-check girl takes their hats, to which Charters responds with exaggeratedly pompous xenophobia: "I doubt we'll ever see those hats again."

Of course, none of this is as brilliant as in Lady Vanishes. Crook's Tour is a fairly mediocre movie by any stretch of imagination. The main problem, as I see it, is that the characters of Charters and Caldicott simply cannot sustain a feature film by themselves. They're far too dense and sexless to serve as satisfying protagonists. But it's an OK time-filler and an interesting footnote to British film history.

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Re: 3 The Lady Vanishes

#38 Post by swo17 » Thu Sep 15, 2011 3:33 pm


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Re: 3 The Lady Vanishes

#39 Post by The Narrator Returns » Sat Nov 19, 2011 1:30 pm


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Re: 3 The Lady Vanishes

#40 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:04 pm

I don't really know what I expected, but the source materials seem to still be rather poor. It could really benefit from some sort of contrast adjustment or something, at least judging from those screenshots.

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Re: 3 The Lady Vanishes

#41 Post by TMDaines » Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:11 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:I don't really know what I expected, but the source materials seem to still be rather poor. It could really benefit from some sort of contrast adjustment or something, at least judging from those screenshots.
Really? I thought it looked fantastic, especially that shot of the bandages, so much detail!

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Re: 3 The Lady Vanishes

#42 Post by triodelover » Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:03 pm

Absolutely agreed. My favorite Hitch and I can't wait to get it - for the third time. <sigh>

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Re: 3 The Lady Vanishes

#43 Post by Jack Phillips » Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:47 pm

Fourth time for me--I had it on laser.

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Re: 3 The Lady Vanishes

#44 Post by giovannii84 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:36 am

I have the re-issue DVD, and was wondering if someone could explain what the Restoration Demonstration from the original release consists of. For example, how long is it; is there narration or text about it; is it a short documentary (similar to the one on 'BEauty & the Beast'), or is it just a comparative compilation (similar to the one on 'Grand Illusion').

If anyone was able to upload it on YouTube or something, it would be great to see it.

Also, does anyone know why the Original Theatrical Trailer (which appears on the Australian DVD release) was not included on this disc?

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Re: 3 The Lady Vanishes

#45 Post by dustybooks » Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:31 am

There's very little to the restoration demonstration -- just before / after stills with a line going across the screen, as I recall. Don't think it's more than 3-4 minutes.

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