Robin chose this one, which she had never seen. It’s one of Hitchcock’s most delightful movies. The gentle comedy works as well as the mystery, and there is a refreshing lack of disturbing subtext going on (unless you count Caldicott and Charters, and they aren’t actually disturbing). This may be why The Lady Vanishes is a wonderful movie, but Vertigo is considered a great movie: the latter is stuffed full of subtext of a disturbing nature, so you never really get to the bottom of it, while The Lady Vanishes impresses more on the surface.
Which isn’t to say that The Lady Vanishes is a shallow film. Like all of the best Hitchcocks, this movie is a favorite of directors who can pore over the ways Hitch gets the precise effects he wants. But I would argue that, just as sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, here, the twists and turns and surprises in the plot are just that, twists and turns, not windows into the psychological soul of Alfred Hitchcock. If those are precisely the kinds of things that make someone like me rank Vertigo as our favorite Hitchcock movie (I had it at #16 on my Facebook Fave Fifty list), it’s good to be reminded that sometimes, you just want The Lady Vanishes.
Perhaps because of the above, I don’t have a lot to say about The Lady Vanishes. I don’t want to spoil the plot, and there’s only so much I can say about the cast or the directorial touches. I could talk about Caldicott and Charters, played by Naunton Wayne and Basil Radford in such an appealing concoction as a certain kind of cricket-obsessed Englishman, and how they turned up in other movies, sometimes as the exact same characters, sometimes as the same characters with different names, sometimes on the BBC … how many secondary characters do you know with their own Wikipedia page? #565 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They list of the top 1000 films of all time. 9/10.