The 39 Steps
(PG, 1:22:17, Released 1935)
|Genres:||Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense, Classics|
|Release Date:||Aug 1, 1935|
|DVD Release Date:||Jul 20, 1999|
|Starring:||Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll, Godfrey Tearle, Peggy Ashcroft, Lucie Mannheim, John Laurie, Wylie Watson, Helen Haye, Frank Cellier, Jerry Verno|
|Directed by:||Alfred Hitchcock|
|Synopsis:||A man in London tries to help a counterespionage agent. But when the agent is killed and he stands accused, he must go on the run to both save himself and also stop a spy ring trying to steal top secret information.|
|Full movie details|
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Other Top Reviews
June 20, 2012
A few years ago I saw the stage play of this and thought it was absolutely amazing. This film, not so much. Yes it's brilliant in the way the story weaves around all over the place, taking the audience on the adventure with Richard and Pamela, however something is missing. I didn't really care for either character at all. I wasn't bothered what happened one way or another. Not my favourite Hitchcock but a worthy film.
December 28, 2011
A clumsy start to the directing dynasty Hitchcock would later build in America; The 39 Steps is unlike many of his other films in the way it's put together. Hitchcock would later make taut, sometimes action packed thrillers, all with ingenuity and a special zest that would saturate and identify his later films. This, made in his native England, is far from a disappointment. Though it doesn't possess inherent fear or a debonair protagonist, it does have this strange charm that he would never recapture in later films. For the time it was set it reads much more like a romantic thriller than a case of mistaken identity or reviewing a network of spies. Though the chasing of Hannay (Robert Donat) was at first overwhelming and tense, it becomes almost comical how he ends up in place after place. From hiding out in a country inn to being inadvertently thrust onstage to give a speech about a politician he knows nothing about, Hannay continually comes into contact with odd characters and irreverent townspeople. Much of the film is just his hiding out and people who have never met him helping to hide him from various spies, the police, and a bothersome blonde. Eventually the blonde (Madeleine Carroll) becomes the love interest and an ally in his quest to clear his name and stop a spy from leaving the country with viable secret government information. For an espionage film there isn't much in the way of action or strange, exotic accents, except for the first agent who gets killed off. Most of the film hinges on Robert Donat's performance, because it takes a considerable charm and gentility to make this film work without any of the core elements. Still, the film is quite entertaining and enticing. It has a lot of gimmicks and comes off as dated versus later films which are timeless, but this is still a great start to the Hitchcock empire.
fb1664868775November 16, 2011
One of the most timeless films I know. This was Hitchcock's first masterpiece. Though his films got much more elaborate later in his career, all of the things that I love about Hitchcock are here: suspense, comedy, beautiful cinematography and camera movement, etc. This is pure entertainment.
October 10, 2011
This may have just reinvigorated my love of film. This case of mistaken identity thriller from 1935 is leaps and bounds better than most schlock to hit the screens in the past 30 years. While technically we may be capable of creating flashier and sharper productions, we've lost our ability to tell a good story thoughtfully. The 39 Steps is just that and more importantly, made when cinema was still such a nascent medium. From scene to scene Hitch builds the suspense in such a confident and concise manner, with an awe-inspiring attention to detail. The acting here is top notch, and shoots holes in the misconception that all acting from this period was inflated and over dramatic. In fact, the performances are rather subdued, which is rather refreshing considering the material. Although the film is old, it is still, to use a cliched phrase, young at heart and still kicks the ass of most of the thrillers we have been served in recent memory.
fb1341085175October 4, 2011
Apesar de constantemente citado entre seus mais importantes trabalhos e certamente o mais popular filme de sua fase britânica, "Os 39 Degraus" não se tornou parte do consciente popular cinematográfico como as futuras produções de Alfred Hitchcock se tornariam. Tal fato não deve desmerecer a obra que, apesar de mostrar um diretor ainda em fase de amadurecimento, é capaz de se sustentar no cannon do mestre do suspense como um de seus grandes feitos.
"Os 39 Degraus" pode ser considerado o arquétipo do que viria a se tornar um tradicional filme de Hitchock, pois aqui somos apresentados a diversos temas que apareceriam constantemente em suas futuras obras: a história do "homem errado" perseguido por um crime que não cometeu; a figura da mulher loira fria, cínica e dominadora; e finamente, o uso do MacGuffin, um recurso narrativo utilizado para mover a história, mas que ao final revela possuir pouca importância. Os mais familiarizados com a filmografia do diretor poderão estabelecer uma conexão entre esta produção e filmes como "Ladrão de Casaca", "O Homem que Sabia Demais" e, especialmente, "Intriga Internacional". Podemos considerar "Os 39 Degraus" como o rascunho de uma obra de arte, que seria refinada e receberia os toques finais com este último filme de 1959.
Em "Os 39 Degrau"s somos apresentados ao canadense Richard Hannay (Rober Donat) que acaba tendo um encontro ao acaso com Anabelle Smith (Lucile Manheim), uma espiã que diz ter descoberto um plano que pretende levar informações secretas para fora da Inglaterra. Quando a moça é assassinada em seu apartamento, Richard acaba sendo acusado injustamente pelo crime e é obrigado a fugir para a Escócia, seguindo as pistas deixadas pela espiã. No país ele acaba caindo nas mãos da organização por trás do assassinato de Anabelle, e para escapar e desvendar o mistério ele conta com a ajuda da atraente Pamela (Madeleine Carroll). Sendo um filme de Hitchcock, diversas reviravoltas podem ser esperadas até o final, sendo que a revelação dos ditos 39 degraus acaba sendo a de menor importância (vide o MacGuffin).
Mesmo não apresentando o requinte técnico e visual de suas futuras produções americanas, "Os 39 Degraus" apresenta um diretor educado nas escolas cinematográficas alemãs e russas e já confortável com sua técnica. Hitchcock já demonstra seu talento na composição de quadros, e sua edição já se mostra eficaz o bastante para criar emocionantes cenas de ação e suspense, valendo destacar uma perseguição ambientada em um trem que oferece uma prévia de momentos semelhantes em "A Sombra de uma Dúvida" e "Intriga Internacional". Enquanto não apresentam um profundo estudo de psique, os personagens são iluminados por brilhantes momentos de diálogos. Podemos destacar as cenas guiadas por um humor cínico entre Robert Donat e Madeleine Carrol, tais sendo carregados de certa dose de tensão sexual - basta dizer que um ousado momento envolvendo algemas e meias-calça provavelmente não teria sido aprovado por censores americanos. O enredo em si não nos permite múltiplas interpretações como muitas das melhores obras do mestre (e se tantas comparações com seus demais filmes são feitas, é porque tais parecem inevitáveis), mas isso não altera o fato de que "Os 39 Degraus" foi um importante passo na carreira ascendente do então jovem Alfred Hitchcock, e provavelmente o primeiro filme que o fez ser notado internacionalmente. Mesmo não apresentando a mesma profundidade de outros de seus trabalhos, merece seu lugar entre os melhores filmes do diretor.
August 12, 2011
June 16, 2011
Typical man on the run Hitchcock flick. May have been great for the time, but now all we see is hammy acting and a swiss-cheese of a plot. Still it's fun seeing folk from the 1930s, particularly in the Scottish highlands.
May 31, 2011
The 39 Steps acts like a blue print, a hint of the greatness that was to come from Hitchcock and the foundations of an amazing body of work. It's where he truly found an audience, it's not his best but it has a certain charm to it unlike any of his other films. In all honesty it's not a great film but it is of a time that I adore to watch, with acting styles long gone but still enjoyed. It's easy to mock The 39 Steps but at the time it was cutting edge stuff, but as dated as it now is, it's so very easy to watch and I believe it will remain so for many years to come.
October 30, 2010
This movie is from 1935, and the cast list on here isn't right either. Anyway, I saw this movie such a long time ago (when I was a kid), I don't remember it well at all. I need to see it again.
June 18, 2010
This is the oldest movie that I've seen (made in 1935), and it took me a bit of time to get adjusted to it as a film from such and early era. After all, it was only recently that I really started enjoying movies from the 50's.
But as I was adjusting to the classic black and white visuals and the abrupt editing, I began noticing the same Hitchcock themes and flourishes that I've seen in the later favorites like North by Northwest. The train scenes, the cases of mistaken identity and being in the wrong place at the wrong time, the innocent man on the run who meets an icy blonde, it's all here. The 39 Steps is Hitchcock through and through, that's for sure.
I thought the story was pretty good, if a little abrupt in places. There's lots of tension, a bit of occasional sexually charged humor, and another thrilling escape for the protagonist always seems just around the corner. It's really impressive stuff, considering when it was made. Any fans of Hitchcock's other movies will probably appreciate this.
April 29, 2010
A great follow up to The Man Who Knew Too Much and debatably just as good. A perfect way to make a low budget thriller, using not that many sets and focusing on time. Itâ??s very much a precursor to Rashamon and Stanley Kubrickâ??s The Killing. On top of that, itâ??s a very exciting journey to find the truth with odd insertions of people with missing fingers and conspiracies galore. While it isnâ??t flawless, itâ??s clearly an essential part of Hitchcockâ??s career.
January 7, 2010
It was a little odd, but not all that bad. Definitely not the worst Hitchcock film I'd ever seen.
August 24, 2009
i was just thinking "what is this hitchcock thing everyone is always on about?" when a small independent local television station ran this beaut of a tongue-in-cheek chase (think "north by northwest", the biggest differences between the two not in plot but in location and culture: hitchcock is one mean casual observer) across england on morning programming. now i'll be talking like henry higgens for a week!
July 9, 2009
Let's call it a B-. I know why this gets lots of praise, as there are signs of innovation and great technique here, but honestly, it was boring..even for a thriller...and a Hitchcock thriller at that. Some decent humor and wit though, hence why it's not a "C+".
March 16, 2009
Mixing the first signs of his coming mastery of suspense with comedy reminiscient of Keaton, Chaplin and Vaudeville, The 39 Steps is a - the? - classic romantic thriller. White-knuckled love not starring Julia Roberts and Clive Owen? You've gotta love it - this is a ground-breaking film that seems to have effectively invented a genre, and it's a staple in any Hitchcock diet.
November 11, 2008
featuring one of the great macguffin's of hitchcocks career, the 39 steps is a great 1930's thriller. aside from the silliness of the all too simple getaways of the main character, the film holds in suspense as we await the identity of the 39 steps. a classic.
October 3, 2008
Not one of my favourites from Hitchcock, but watchable all the same.
October 2, 2008
The 39 Steps (1935): Starring Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll, Wylie Watson, Godfrey Tearle, Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
The movie opens in a London music hall. The amazing "Mr. Memory" comes out and to the audience's amazement performs feats of memory. But it's a very rough crowd, and soon a brawl breaks out, which erupts into panic when someone starts firing a pistol. Richard Hannay, a visiting Canadian (played by Donat) meets a mysterious woman outside who insists on coming home with him. Once there, she claims she is a spy and desperately in need of his help. However, in the middle of the night, she is killed by a knife in the back, leaving only a map of Scotland with a small town circled, and the ominous warning of the "39 Steps" and a man who's missing part of his pinky on one hand. These clues set off a cross-country chase, where he is accused of murder and dragged into the middle of an espionage caper. As is typical with Hitchcock's movies, the police are generally dim-witted doubters who refuse to believe the truth until it's shoved in their faces. The acting is pretty standard for its time, as are the comedic elements, but the interaction between Donat and Carroll sometimes takes on a twisted "It Happened One Night" feel (she being hand-cuffed to a man she believes is a murderer, but not really believing and sort of being attracted to him, all at the same time). Hitchcock brings the beginning of the movie back around at the end again, and it's a pretty satisfying conclusion. This is Hitchcock coming into his element, the visual gimmicks from his earlier films have mostly been done away with (there is a particularily nice shot- after Hannay is nabbed by spies who're pretending to be cops and they're hauling him back to the "police station"- which doesn't rely on effects so much as the clever direction), and it's more of a straight forward type of filmmaking going on. This is a film of it's time, and though not quite up to Hitchcock's later works is enjoyable and worthwhile none the less.
June 29, 2008
Stars: Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll, Lucie Mannheim and Godfrey Tearle
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Richard Hannay is a Canadian visitor to London. At the end of "Mr Memory"'s show in a music hall, he meets Annabella Smith who is running away from secret agents. He accepts to hide her in his flat, but in the night she is murdered. Fearing he could be accused on the girl's murder, Hannay goes on the run to break the spy ring
One of Hitchcock's very first masterpieces and one of the finest films of his that I've seen. Contains, which would later be, classic Hitchcok trademarks and brilliant cinematography which makes the film miles ahead of it's time. Brilliant...
More to follow...
February 1, 2008
Another overrated classic ...
December 26, 2007
the protype of hitchcockian action piece outsets since 39 steps with our debonair gorgeous robert donat as the wrongly accused innocent man who is forced to expose conspiracy to retrieve his integrity. it proves a theory of hitchcock's that the potentiality of a man could be enlightened under the enormous pressure, such as the scene donat is propelled to lecture a political speech then obtain the public affinity.
the first 20 mins is intriguing with the brief cameo of beautiful german spy called annabella smith who takes shelter in hanny's lodge(donat) that is arranged with taunting mystery. then annabella is assinated that drives hanny to clarify his murder charge. so he stumbles from place to place in various british and scottish landscapes. he hasn't made any concrete progress until he meets the combatively quarrelsome blonde pamela played by madelein carroll.
the best distinguished hitchcockian action pattern is the harmony of genders. lots of his action pieces have a pair of man and woman collaborated to confront mighty crisis, such as his rear window, north by northwest, the man who knew too much, the lady vanishes...etc. here he even wittily has the two leads tied in one handcuff as their feuds and concilliation. when man's being doubted, he remains in good humor of suave demeanor then he gains the confidance of the woman. it's so called hitchcockian symmetry of opposite sexes. none of his flicks are throughly testicular or estrogenic.
of course, the ingredient of hitchcokian mcguffin is firstly brought out here in 39 steps, the macguffin in this flick would be "mr. memory" in london musical hall. the thrill doesn't reply on the content of the macguffin but the speculating suspense upon it. such as you never knew what kind of big secret those agents are exploring in "notorious", either. but you enjoy the teasing process of its espials anyway.
madeleine carroll is the first hitchcockian icy blonde who matches adaptably with robert donat from their brawling discord under a handcuff to their deux of clasping hands at the last shot.
August 10, 2007
Film history was made in 1935 when Alfred Hitchcock, who was at the time an active but little known and somewhat run of the mill film director, received a contract to create a low budget potboiler type spy thriller, and used the opportunity to provide his studio with a masterpiece which has never been forgotten. In addition he established his reputation as the master of suspense, something which remained unchallenged throughout the remainder of his career. In style this film is quintessimal Hitchcock, and those who know his films can pick out sequences in any of his later ones which were based on, or inspired by, his work in this early thriller. Similarly, sequences from this film have also been imitated by many other directors - for example Richard Pearce, in the thriller "No Mercy" (1986), included sequences that imitated a famous sequence in Hitchcock's film where Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll were handcuffed together and on the run , by showing Richard Gere and Kim Basinger fleeing pursuers whilst handcuffed together. Because of this "The 39 Steps" has become a "must see" classic that most movie buffs still regard as an essential element in their personal film collection.
There are two criticisms commonly made of this film. The first is that there are logical imperfections in the story. This is true of almost all Hitchcock films (as well as those of most other directors). The point is that Hitchcock had an unsurpassed ability to maintain a flow in the unfolding of his story on the screen which totally distracts his audience from the type of mental agility required to even be aware of them. Only when dissecting the story on a sequence by sequence basis will such imperfections become significant. The second criticism is that this film, whilst based on John Buchan's novel of the same name, departs very considerably from the story in the book. I am not a purist about this, books and films are totally different media and must be judged independently. In some cases it must be recognised that a book is structured so that it is almost impossible for a film to remain true to the original book. What I do believe is important is that the film-goer should be entitled to know how true a film is to a previously read and perhaps long loved book. If a film is described as "the film of the best selling novel........", then it should be as accurate a dramatic presentation of the story in the book as possible. (Where the original is a play, not a book, the dramatic medium is already much closer to the movie form, and I believe such a description should only be used when most of the original dialogue from the play is accurately reproduced in the movie.) By contrast, if a film is described as "based on............" then the filmmaker should have considerably more freedom; and if the phrase used is "inspired by........" then a largely independent dramatic presentation should be expected. In the case of "The 39 Steps, Hichcock's film comes into the latter category, but a later (and in my opinion generally inferior) 1978 film of the same name can legitimately claim to be much more closely based on the book. In this instance I personally do not regard the original book as sufficiently important to be sacrosanct, but those who differ from me about this may feel they have an adequate reason for preferring the 1978 film.
Today "The 39 Steps" is seldom shown in movie theaters and, when a home video rather than the actual film is under consideration, attention needs to be given to the medium and technology with which it has been reproduced. The catch phrase "digitally remastered" is often used to reassure a purchaser that he is buying the best possible product, but this may be totally irrelevant. The nuances of shade in a good black and white photograph can often be artistically more significant than those of colour in a colour print, and the same is true for many early movies. But home video versions of black and white films are usually disappointing as these nuances are seldom reproduced accurately, if at all. It is regrettable that, largely because of this, many young people today have no appreciation of the artistic appeal a really good black and white movie film can have. Home video versions of "The 39 Steps" as both DVD's and videotapes have been released by a number of different distributors and these vary in quality enormously. In general DVD's are capable of better rendering of these subtle shade differences than videotapes, but either can be satisfactory. The first requirement is that the distributor has used a high quality master for the material copied, not an old tape that has already been played numerous times. The next is that proper equipment designed for copying from black and white masters is used. Too often copies of old black and white films are made with equipment that is designed only for copying colour films. In such cases the nuances of the multitude of grey shades present in the master are likely to be totally lost. Many of the copies of Hitchcock's film still being sold are particularly bad in this respect, with highlight areas that are totally burnt out instead of containing a mass of detail. The best advice is to consult a website such as that of Amazon.com, where the various versions available are listed and priced, with user comments that indicate how satisfactory the final product has been found by the purchaser concerned. My advice is DO NOT LET YOURSELF BE HAD - THIS WILL ONLY ENCOURAGE THE MARKETING OF SUB-STANDARD MATERIAL.
July 27, 2007
Hitchcock's greatest escapism/espionage tale. charming, tongue-in-cheeck performances by Robert Donat and the icy Hitch blond Madeleine Carroll. exciting and amusing from start to finish.
June 1, 2007
it's perfectly constructed and one of Hitchcock's great early ones, and kind of a great date flick for guys with its portrayal of 3 women and the hero indebted and pledged to help each of them
May 2, 2007
A bit dated now, but still an exciting film, even after seeing it a dozen times.