My questions in bold, PG’s answers below!
1. Do you remember when you first saw the movie?
I first saw The 39 Steps on March 9th, 2013. I had a limited time before I had to go to work so I could only watch a short film, so I decided to throw on The 39 Steps.
2. Why do you think that it’s recommendable? What do you like about it?
Simply put, the film is a lot of fun. A high level of energy is maintained throughout, the leads are fantastic, and Alfred Hitchcock effectively crafts some great scenes.
3. Is the movie underappreciated, do you think? Or does pop culture have it fairly rated?
Sort of. I do really enjoy the film and wish more people knew of it, but at the same time it comes from Hitchcock, a man with so many classics under his belt I can see why the film is ignored. It also doesn’t help that The 39 Steps can be very easily compared to North by Northwest, which is on the whole a better film. Still, all that says more about the awesomeness of Hitchcock than it does anything negative about The 39 Steps.
4. Is there any particular reason you thought I should watch it, or were you just surprised I hadn’t seen it?
As I said, it’s a very fun film, that’s the main reason. But also because it is an Alfred Hitchcock film, and as a film fan I figured you’d jump at the opportunity to see more of his work.
5. Have you written about the movie yourself? (Insert plug here! LOL)
I haven’t, but if I ever do a Hitchcock retrospective (and it’s highly likely I will) then it will be discussed.
Thanks PG, my review is below!
In an attempt to be gallant, a man named Richard Hannay (Robert Donat) offers a woman safe haven at his apartment (at her request) after shots are fired in a club they’re in. Once they’re back at his place, she reveals that she’s the one who fired the shots. She’s a spy, being followed by foreign agents. She’s trying to prevent a secret being taken out of the country… something regarding the 39 steps. Hannay allows her to stay over night, but in the morning, he awakes to her find her dead. She’s been stabbed in the back, clutching a map.
He quickly finds himself on the run, wanted by the police for her murder. His only hope is to follow the map she was holding and find out for himself the secret of the 39 steps. If he can, he can expose the secret and prove his innocence. If he can’t, he’ll wind up in jail for a murder he didn’t commit.
Released in 1935, “The 39 Steps” is the earliest Alfred Hitchcock film I’ve yet to see. Hitchcock’s fingerprints are still evident, however. The plot deals with one of his favorite themes: an innocent man wrongly accused and on the run. You can also notice his impressive camera work, even though the film is still barely post silent era.
Which is the most impressive thing about the film, to me. Even though it was released less than 10 years after “The Jazz Singer”, Hitchcock manages to create some intense action sequences and put together a story that holds up well even after 80 years. It’s not exactly on the level of his later works in terms of staying viable, but the era of the film needs be taken into account. In 1999, BFI voted it the 4th greatest British Film of the 20th Century. I don’t know that it holds up that well, but reading up on it, I understand that this movie was a watershed moment in gaining British films exposure to American audiences.
As a fan of Hitchcock, I was happy to add this film to my resume, and I did enjoy watching it. As with all Hitchcock films, it tells an exciting story, and features impeccable direction. I’m uncertain whether it will have as much to offer modern audiences as the films of his later career do, but it’s still an impressive classic film.