The 39 Steps

The 39 Steps

DVD - 2012
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the commentary was patronizing and not useful for modern audiences but the movie is an historical gem. Acting styles are so old fashioned... over telegraphing their internal emotions. Really interesting.

1
1aa
Oct 27, 2018

This was a rather entertaining film; a clever plot; suspenseful; the viewer often does not know where the story is heading. For such an old film (1935) its rather smooth, not clunky as one might anticipate.

r
RescueDog
Sep 07, 2018

I enjoyed the commentary & the extras that were on this dvd. I enjoyed them more than the movie.

m
miaone
Oct 31, 2017

I'm very glad I watched this with the commentary playing. For the first time, I understood what Hitchcock was up to when he made the movie.

b
ba_library
Sep 30, 2017

Don't think I had seen this Hitchcock film before. Classic spy mystery involving secret agents with crucial information that must be protected. Unfortunately, it falls into the hands of an innocent couple who are pursued through the Scottish countryside knowing they have information that cannot be released or understood by them.

c
Cate03
Aug 16, 2017

Watched it twice. Had to rewatch because I didn't really get it. Had one freaky part then got dull again. Ending was fine but a bit anti-climactic.

o
Onewhoissaved
Sep 26, 2016

"The 39 Steps", written by John Buchan in 1915 is a terrific movie and a book. (Buchan himself is quite the man in real life.) World War I was a year old and now one was unaware of sabotage and its potential devasting effects on peoples and worlds. Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll are brilliantly directed by a young Alfred Hitchcock. The ability of Hitchcock to insert horrific behavior of some people into the ordinary, common everyday human behavior is masterful. Everyone who has seen Hitchcock's movies and television presentations understands that Hitchcock views life on more than one level. The remakes of 'The 39 Steps' never make even a dent in the impact of the original movie. In the novel by the same name there is no woman involved, no man with the missing digit, no one named Memory. Buchan wrote other 'shockers' with Richard Hannay as the protagonist.

g
gomez7
Aug 05, 2016

One of the all-time great capital-R Romantic movies. Mistaken identity, kidnap, handcuffed to a naïve young beauty, a dark and lonely road, moonlight, fog, babbling brook, open moors, dastardly foreign agents, quirky British characters and a two British music hall scenes! Pair this with The Lady Vanishes. See the originals first as all of the remakes are inferior.

a
akirakato
Jul 06, 2016

This is a 1935 British spy-thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock, loosely based on the 1915 adventure novel "The Thirty-Nine Steps" by John Buchan.
Richard Hannay becomes caught up in preventing an organization of spies called "The 39 Steps" from stealing British military secrets.
After being mistakenly accused of the murder of a counter-espionage agent, Hannay goes on the run to Scotland with an attractive woman in the hopes of stopping the spy ring and clearing his name.
In the middle of the film, Hannay is shot in the chest with a revolver at close range, and a long fade out suggests that he has been killed.
Suddenly, however, he appears alive.
This is nonsense!
What an ill-contrived trick!
In any case, it is an good entertaining piece with some funny moments while the young couple are on the run.

h
hoacornell
May 21, 2014

Made several times over the years but none better than the original "39 Steps" with Robert Donat in the leading role. The movie keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time. This is a story of spies, coded messages, and a wonderful love story on top of it all. I haven't read the other reviews, but for my money, put this on the Top Ten Movies of All Time!

THUD55 Nov 01, 2013

I enjoyed it but not as much as The Lady Vanishes. Robert Donat was better than in his other movies. I still don't know how or why he won on Oscar that year he won. I had never seen Madeleine Carroll in a film. she was very good. it's always tough to follow the fast talking when they have accents but it was still enjoyable.

l
Liber_vermis
Aug 27, 2013

A fast paced tale of an innocent man falling into the murderous web of a spy network. It often seems quaint and prudish compared to contemporary social norms. The at times slap-stick actions and nuanced word play serve to relieve the tension of the main plot. Some inconsistencies in the plot, such as the knifing of the female spy, detract somewhat from the overall enjoyment with the gripping movie. The screenplay is based on the novel by John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir, who was also an intelligence officer in World War 1, and governor general of Canada 1935-40.

m
MeReneG
Jul 30, 2013

An earlier (1935) "Hitch" film than expected, but that added to the enjoyment. Certainly had all the elements noted by AtomicFez. Certainly more drama than comedy, but some tongue-in-cheek situations and black humour arise (e.g., dinner shall not be delayed). // It's also worth checking out the extra features to gain perspective on the film and on Hitchcock's career.

r
randpog
Apr 02, 2013

Gripping, fun, nostalgic, intriguing, and amusing. I would watch again.

btmslt Jul 10, 2012

A good spy thriller. One can deffinately see similarities between this film and North by Northwest.

p
phyllis49
Mar 20, 2012

Encore

GManBruce Dec 28, 2011

Alfred Hitchcock, if he never made another movie, would still be among the best of the best having created this gem. So many other directors have used his ideas to push forward their stories in the drama genre it is easy to see even this early in his career where he was taking us and the future of film forever. You must see this!

a
AtomicFez
Aug 14, 2011

The original version, as it was re-made in 1959, then again in 1978, and for TV in 2008. It's also being developed into another future movie following the original's story-line, so stay tuned for that.

There's so much one can find in this, Hitchcock's best-known UK film, that points to future works by the director. There's the wrongly-accused man caught-up in international intrigue ("North by Northwest"), cheeky editing and over-lapping of one scenes sound and image with another (various, plus this film's use of it may have influenced the parrot segue in "Citizen Kane"), scenes on trains (hardly a rarity in films, but Hitchcock used them more than most), over-hearing of conversations by those on the run (again, various of his works), the use of a MacGuffin (the number of times Hitchcock used them doesn't matter, but you see it in Marcellus' suitcase in "Pulp Fiction" for one). and so on.

There's a couple of plot holes, but neither of them are particularly gaping or troublesome. The action takes us from London to Scotland and back, all within a week's time, and yet the geography is clear without once doing 'the old animated line on the map routine'. I happen to love 'the old animated line on the map routine', but it's more dependent on the narrative to demonstrate it the way Hitchcock has done it. Sadly, the narrative isn't permitted to be created in the viewers' heads as much as it should be, because once something is discovered and we are permitted to work it out, the characters then sit up straighter and exclaim "Gracious! Do you know what this means? It means that [whoever] has got to be [somehow involved] with [whatever nefarious activity] that [some other character] told us about yesterday!" Yes, thank you, Watson, we're ahead of you on that one, actually.

Robert Donat plays a man supposedly Canadian, but sounds a bit more central Atlantic than that. Madeline Carroll — in many ways playing same role as Eva Marie Saint would play in "North by Northwest" 25 years later — could have provided a clearer performance of someone being 'won over' by Donat's, but in many ways she shouldn't be convinced too easily, so too much subtlety is preferred to not enough.

Regardless of all of the problems mentioned above, this is a delightful tale, and well worth the 86 minutes required to tell it (thereby proving the point that people's attention span hasn't changed one jot over the years due to television, movies, the internet, GameBoy...).


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