The Lady Vanishes

In honour of our 1st anniversary, MNFC had a birthday party on 7th Feb 2012.  Here is the account of that, and the film of choice, The Lady Vanishes…

the-lady-vanishes-2What an absolutely splendid birthday party we had last night! It almost made up for England’s abysmal performance in the test match series against Pakistan (Almost makes one wish floods had affected play).

We started the party with Kir Royales – lovely crème de cassis, Grayson old boy – and a wonderful spread. Everyone had outdone themselves and brought lots of goodies worthy of any first class restaurant car. I think we were all a bit overwhelmed by all the food on display, but soldiered on through lashings of crisps, sweets, pork pies, savoury muffins, cheese & pineapple and chicken legs. I was a bit miffed that Richards wasn’t able to provide the promised chocolate crispy cakes, but managed to keep a stiff upper lip in the face of bitter disappointment.

On to the viewing portion of the evening, and the main feature was preceded by a specially produced short film. Love had created an MNFC montage – a sort of review of the year, if you like. It was frightfully good, and made one realise just how many marvellous films this little club has watched over the last year.

The film selected by the Founder to mark the historic first birthday was The Lady Vanishes, a film from Alfred Hitchcock‘s British, pre-Hollywood period (none of your foreign rubbish, thank you very much) which followed the exploits of some marvellous Brits on a train foiling a dastardly plot by some shady European chappies. That’s the stuff the empire was built on! The lead characters were played by Michael Redgrave and Margaret Lockwood. Redgrave was frightfully dashing as Gilbert, and considering this was his first feature film, did a jolly fine job and made me thankful that he didn’t just stick to the stage. We can also thank him for producing a fine brood of thespian children and grandchildren including Vanessa Redgrave and Joely Richardson to carry the acting torch for Britain.

Two other characters that showed all that was best about dear old England were Charters and Caldicott. The genius of these two was recognised enough for them to appear in several subsequent films and a radio series.

I was horrified to discover that some buffoon directed a remake of the film in 1979, with two Americans in the lead roles! It was a commercial and critical flop, and quite right too.

Alfred Hitchcock needs no introduction, being Britain’s finest ever export to Hollywood, and one of the most significant influences on film during his life and since his death. It was about time he made an appearance at MNFC, by Jove! Some of Hitch’s many cinematic trademarks include trains, the theme of lost or assumed identity, icy blonde female leads and the fact that he made a cameo appearance in every one of his films. You may not know it but the Master of Suspense also had a phobia of eggs, was married for 54 years, and is the voice of the Jaws ride at Universal Studios.

The party was rounded off with cake, candles and a rousing rendition of ‘Happy Birthday to us’, all accompanied by the Englishman’s nectar, tea. Club members were sent home with full bellies and full party bags, and notes in the diary about the next meeting on 27th February in Walthamstow.

And that’s that. Now, when’s the next test match?

Becca xx



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