Past Meetup

Free screening: Alfred Hitchcock's "The Lady Vanishes" @ Harvard Film Archive

This Meetup is past

32 people went

Location image of event venue


Harvard University's Department of Visual and Environmental Studies (VES) sponsors on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the Harvard Film Archive during the academic year free screenings of classic films that are open to the general public. A calendar of screenings can be found at http://hcl.harvard.ed... ( ... Come join the Nerd Fun Meetup as we watch this 1938 light-hearted comedic murder mystery from Alfred Hitchcock.

Movie: The Lady Vanishes
Release Date: November 1st, 1938
Runtime: 96 minutes
Cost: Free

Where to Meet:

T.J. Maher will be waiting in the small lower level food court in The Garage on JFK Street right near Harvard Square starting at 5:40 pm. Come drop by and grab a bite to eat! We can comandeer tables as needed, pushing them together. We should probably leave at 6:20 pm to head over and wait for people who don't join us for dinner.

Let's grab seats as a group at 6:40 pm. T.J. Maher (MAH-har) is 5 foot 7, with short brown hair, blue eyes, a "Hello My Name is T.J." nametag, and a red MEETUP sign attached to his black messenger bag.

... The movie should be finished by 8:40 pm. Anybody want to go out for drinks after?

About The Lady Vanishes, according to (

"Alfred Hitchcock had hit his early, near-flawless stride by the time of The Lady Vanishes, the 1938 classic that seems as bright and funny now as the day it was released. After the deliciously comic opening reels at a mittel-European hotel where a train has been snowed in, the plot kicks into gear: a very nice old lady (Dame May Whitty) suddenly disappears in mid-train ride. Worse, the young woman (Margaret Lockwood) who'd befriended her can't find anybody to confirm that the lady ever actually existed. Luckily, suave gadabout Michael Redgrave is at the ready--to say nothing of two English cricket fans, brought to memorable life by Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne. The film bops along briskly, borne along on the charm of the players and the witty script by expert craftsman Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat (who also did the delightful Green for Danger and the St. Trinian's films), to say nothing of Hitchcock's healthy sense of humor about the whole thing--indeed, it may be the most 'British' of his films. --Robert Horton"

... I've never seen this film, but from reviews I have heard that Alfred Hitchcock meant the first twenty minutes to take its time to build up to the actual murder mystery at the movie's own relaxed pace, to distinguish itself from the taut thrillers he was to be known for.

According to ( "In its opening scenes [...] the film appears to have less in common with Hitchcock's later capers and psychological thrillers than with the comedies of manners popular in the mainstream British cinema of the '30s. The opening shot is a panorama of a snowbanked alpine village in the fictional Eastern European nation of Bandrika. The miniature set is an obvious fabrication—and would have been even to a 1938 audience—with toy trains, powder snow, and frozen figurines on the sidewalks, a touch that allows Hitchcock to establish a playful tone and a sense of quaint, reassuring artifice crucial to his technique. The more secure the audience feels, the more susceptible they are to the horrors of disruption Hitchcock will visit upon them later in the film. [...]"

About VES, the sponsor of this free screening:
http://www.ves.fas.ha... (

"The Department of Visual and Environmental Studies (VES) is the curricular home of a broad range of studio arts and more theoretical studies. The department offers studio courses in areas that include painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, design, film, video, animation, and photography. VES also offers lecture courses and seminars in film history and theory, studies of the built and natural environment, design and urbanism, and contemporary arts.

"For undergraduates, the department provides students in a liberal arts college with an opportunity to gain an understanding of the structure and meaning of the visual arts through both study and practice in diverse areas. The department is committed to an integrated study of artistic practice, visual
culture, and the critical study of the image. Our faculty of practitioners, critics, and theorists works with students to develop both formal skills and a sophisticated understanding of the roles played by technical ability and individual invention in the creation of art. Visiting artists join the resident faculty in exploring current issues in contemporary art in the context of the department's course offerings, and in exhibits and public lectures scheduled to take place throughout the year."

About the Harvard Film Archive:
http://hcl.harvard.ed... (

"The Harvard Film Archive offers a public cinematheque program, presenting films Friday through Monday nights year round. All screenings are held in the Archive's 200-seat theater located in the historic Carpenter Center for the Arts.

"The HFA frequently invites filmmakers to discuss their work and engage with the vibrant community of students, professors, artists and cinephiles who regularly attend Archive screenings. Recent visitors include the French director Agnès Varda (Les plages d'Agnès), American screenwriter and director Paul Schrader (Blue Collar), Catalan director Albert Serra (Birdsong), American independent filmmakers So Yong Kim (Treeless Mountain) and Lance Hammer (Ballast), Argentinian director Lucrecia Martel (The Headless Woman), Irish director John Boorman (The General), and Korean filmmaker Lee Chang-dong (Secret Sunshine), as well as avant-garde filmmakers Ken Jacobs, Nathaniel Dorsky, Lawrence Weiner and Robert Breer. Some of the HFA's recent programs include retrospectives of the work of Edward Yang, Joseph Losey, Vincente Minnelli, Warren Sonbert, Bruce Conner and Richard Quine, as well as surveys such as Technicolor Dreams, Unseen Noir and Shaw Scope: A History of the Shaw Bros. Studio".

Trailer for 1938 film: (

Can't make the screening?

It appears that The Lady Vanishes is also on Hulu at (

Directions, Maps, and Parking:
http://hcl.harvard.ed... (

"The Harvard Film Archive is located in the lower level of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at 24 Quincy Street, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We are east of the Harvard Square Red Line T Stop, in between the Harvard Faculty Club and the Fogg Art Museum, one block north of Massachusetts Avenue between Broadway and Harvard Streets in the Harvard University campus.

"Although parking in Cambridge is difficult (most of the surrounding streets have restricted parking for Cambridge residents only), metered parking on Broadway and Harvard Streets, as well as the rest of Harvard Square, is free after 8pm. Film-goers are encouraged to use public transportation, particularly the MBTA Red Line".