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The 39 Steps (Criterion Collection) (1935)

Cast: Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll, Godfrey Tearle, more...
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Criterion
Genre: Classics, Foreign, Chase, Espionage, UK, Quest, Chase, Criterion Collection
Running Time: 86 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: Spanish, Japanese
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Synopsis
This classic British thriller was one of Alfred Hitchcock's first major international successes, and it introduced a number of the stylistic and thematic elements that became hallmarks of his later work. Richard Hannay (Robert Donat), a Canadian rancher on vacation in England, attends a music hall performance by "Mr. Memory" (Wylie Watson); in the midst of the show, shots ring out and Richard flees the theater. Moments later, a terrified woman (Lucie Mannheim) begs Richard to help her; back at his room, she tells him that she's a British spy whose life has been threatened by international agents waiting outside. Richard is certain that she's mad until she reappears at his door in the morning, near death with a knife in her back, a map in her hand, and muttering something about "39 Steps." Discovering that a group of thugs are indeed waiting outside, Richard slips away and takes the first train to the Scottish town on the dead woman's map. Richard learns that he's now wanted by the police for murder, and he must find a way to clear his name. He begins trying to do so with the help of a woman he meets en route, Pamela (Madeleine Carroll), who serves as his unwitting assistant, even after she tries to turn him in. The 39 Steps was later remade in 1959 and 1978 -- both without Hitchcock's participation. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Special features:

  • Audio essay by Hitchcock scholar Marian Keane
  • The complete 1937 broadcast of the Lux Radio Theatre adaptation, performed by Robert Montgomery and Ida Lupino
  • Hitchcock: The Early Years (2000), a British documentary covering the director's prewar career
  • Original footage from British broadcaster Mike Scott's 1966 television interview with Hitchcock
  • New visual essay by Hitchcock scholar Leonard Leff
  • Audio excerpts from François Truffaut's 1962 interviews with Hitchcock
  • Original production design drawings

GreenCine Member Reviews

Solid Fun for Hitchcock Fans and First-Timers Alike by jamkat79 September 19, 2003 - 10:25 AM PDT
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10 out of 11 members found this review helpful
If you like Hitchcock's North by Northwest, you'll like The 39 Steps, though in spirit it is probably closer to Andrew Davis' The Fugitive; in structure, all three are essentially the same film, though their differences make comparison all the more enjoyable. Witty dialogue, comic sexual innuendo, smart chase scenes, and a healthy distrust of the police make The 39 Steps worth a look.




GreenCine Member Rating
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(Average 7.68)
260 Votes
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BFI's Top 100 British Films of the 20th Century
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In 1999 the BFI surveyed 1000 people from the world of UK film and television to produce this list. A few of the selected films were wholly or partly produced by non-UK companies, but but were perceived by voters as having significant British involvement
etaviotal
London on film
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For homesick expats and rabid anglophiles
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