Dir: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave
An old lady disappears from a Switzerland-London express, and two British travellers investigate
This Hitchcock classic is based on the 1936 novel The Wheel Spins by Ethel Lina White and is often classed as one of his best films. The story behind this thriller sees an English tourist disappear from a train journey across Continental Europe. Most of the railway footage in this film therefore surrounds European railways, with stock footage of Continental trains slotted in among some studio work and dodgy model shots. The opening scene of passengers boarding a train in Switzerland is a detailed and quite complicated set, highly likely to be at Islington Studios in Shepherd’s Bush. The Longmoor Military Railway in Hampshire is cited as a location for this production although no action appears to take place there. Manuel Gurtner, meanwhile, believes that the back projection images used for the locomotive cab scenes as well as the car chase seen later were filmed on the Midland Region. There is, however, one sequence involving a British train that appears at the end of the film. This depicts a Southern Railway ‘Schools’ V Class 4-4-0 arriving at London Victoria at the head of a train, and a shot of the frontage to the station is also seen.