The 39 Steps
Handcuffed to the girl who double-crossed him
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- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 26 minutes
- Video: Black & White
- Released: July 9, 2015
- Originally Released: 1935
- Label: Reel Vault
- Encoding: Region [unknown]
Performers, Cast and Crew:
|Starring||Robert Donat & Madeleine Carroll|
|Performer:||Lucie Mannheim, Peggy Ashcroft, Godfrey Tearle, John Laurie, Wylie Watson, Helen Haye & Frank Cellier|
|Directed by||Alfred Hitchcock|
|Edited by||Derek N. Twist|
|Screenwriting by||Charles Bennett & Alma Reville|
|Composition by||Hubert Bath|
|Cinematography by||Bernard Knowles|
|Produced by||Ivor Montagu|
It's melodrama and at times far-fetched and improbable, but the story twists and spins artfully from one high-powered sequence to another while the entertainment holds like steel cable from start to finish. Full Review
It's like NORTH BY NORTHWEST in black and white. -- Grade: A
In Hitchcock's hands, however, this well-known espionage adventure provided the basis for a new sort of thriller and a new sort of comedy. Full Review
As an artist, Alfred Hitchcock surpassed this early achievement many times in his career, but for sheer entertainment value it still stands in the forefront of his work. Full Review
The newest Gaumont British importation, The 39 Steps, should prove pretty conclusively that Alfred Hitchcock is the finest native director in England. Full Review
The Thirty-Nine Steps neatly converts its essential implausihility into an asset by stressing the difficulties which confront its hero when he tries to tell outsiders about the predicament he is in. Full Review
Rating: 2/4 -- The lack of chemistry between Donat and Carroll's respective characters only compounds the hands-off feel... Full Review
Reel Film Reviews
A classic British spy mystery, and one of Hitchcock's best, THE 39 STEPS is the story of an innocent man who struggles to prove his innocence. Robert Donat gets more than he bargained for when he brings home a mysterious woman (Lucie Mannheim) who confesses to be a British agent on the hot trail of a dangerous spy ring. The woman is killed in Donat's apartment and he immediately finds himself on the run, burdened with the charge for her murder and the dangerous knowledge of her mission. The film is distinguished by its pioneering use of contrapuntal sound effects, as well as the dynamism between Donat and his costar Madeleine Carroll.
Richard Hannay (Robert Donat) is a Canadian rancher on vacation in London who sees a vaudeville act at the Palladium in which Mr. Memory (Wylie Watson) draws on his photographic memory to answer questions posed by the audience. When a shot rings out in the theater a frightened young woman approaches Hannay and asks for his help. The woman claims that foreign spies who plan to smuggle valuable military secrets out of the country are after her, and when she herself is later killed, Hannay finds himself both framed as the man responsible for her death as well as the next potential victim of the spy ring. Traversing through rural Scotland, on the run from both the police and the spies, Hannay finds himself attached to a cool but reluctant blonde, and together they have to figure out the meaning of the woman's last words and bring down the spy ring before the precious military secrets are smuggled abroad. THE THIRTY NINE STEPS is the film that established Hitchcock as the master of the mystery spy-thriller.
British | Classic | Mystery | Romance | Thriller | Vintage | Recommended | Theatrical Release | Spy | Essential Cinema
- Theatrical release: June 1935
- Filmed in Sheperd's Bush, London, England.
- Hitch onscreen: Hitchcock plays a pedestrian passing a bus in front of a music hall.
- Novelist John Buchan, who played the Baron Tweedsmuir, was Governor-General of the Dominion of Canada at the time of the film's release.
- Director Alfred Hitchcock's wife, writer Alma Reville, did continuity.
- Some laserdisc editions of the film include a 20-minute documentary on Hitchcock's British films.
- The film was remade twice, once in 1959 with Kenneth More and Taina Elg and again in 1978 with Robert Powell and David Warner.
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