Cinema Gadfly – Episode 21 – The Vanishing


My guest for this month is Herb van der Poll, and he’s joined me to discuss the film I chose for him, the 1988 Dutch–French film The Vanishing. You can follow the show on Twitter @cinemagadfly.

Show notes:

  • The director, George Sluizer, didn’t really direct much else besides this film and its remake
  • The soundtrack definitely has a Tears for Fears vibe to it, which is 100% ok with me
  • Herb checked with his Dutch parents to make sure we pronounced Spoorloos correctly
  • Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu is basically perfect as the villain in this film
  • If you enjoy this film, you’d probably also love Alfred Hitchock’s The Lady Vanishes
  • The actress who plays the second girlfriend Lieneke, Gwen Eckhaus, was randomly in a television series in the Netherlands called Spoorloos verdwenen, which I assume is unrelated
  • Getting a compliment on your film from Stanley Kubrick is a big deal to me
  • The first girlfriend, Saskia, is played by Johanna ter Steege. I think I would have enjoyed her in a Kubrick film
  • I want to be very clear that this film is a billion times better than The Blair Witch Project
  • Apparently Curious George is alternately called “Slimme Sjors” and “Nieuwsgierig Aapje” in the Netherlands
  • This film is really nothing like Requiem for a Dream or Audition
  • Seriously, please don’t watch the remake, it’s not even fun ironically
  • I don’t know how much we can blame the remake on the adapted screenplay by Todd Graff, but I would hazard a guess that it’s a lot
  • A more subtle mistake was the changing of cinematographers from the sublime work of Toni Kuhn to the mediocre adaptation by Peter Suschitzky
  • The changes go way, way beyond those of Brazil’s Love Conquers All cut. Also, at least that one includes the entire original film to enjoy
  • Jeff Bridges is usually pretty good, so I’m not sure what happened here. I tend to believe Herb’s Silence of the Lambs theory
  • Milton from Office Space was played by the incomparable Stephen Root
  • R.I.P.D. is really an underrated example of good acting in a terrible film
  • Jeff Bridges is truly terrible here, while Kiefer Sutherland and Sandra Bullock are just really bad
  • This film was two years before The Net, but a year after Love Potion No. 9, so I’m not sure how famous Bullock was
  • Nancy Travis is terrible as well, but her character does provide a lot of the unintentional comedy, so I mind less
  • The award Blood Simple got was the Mel Novikoff award
  • Peter Becker and Jonathon Turell didn’t start the Criterion Collection, but they do run it today
  • To my mind, the Coen Brothers, Barry Sonnenfeld, and Blood Simple definitely belong in the collection
  • I am irrationally excited for the arrival of FilmStruck, and just wish it was here already

Rent or buy the film from Amazon

Rent or buy the film on iTunes

Watch the film on Hulu

Arik Devens

I'm attempting to watch my way through the collection, writing about it on my site, Cinema Gadfly. Additionally, I host the Cinema Gadfly podcast, which is essentially an excuse to get my friends to watch awesome films.