39 Steps (Blu-ray) (Criterion Collection)

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One of Hitchcock's best British Films

by Brad W on 1/27/2014

The 39 Steps gets off to such a blistering start that the rest of the film feels like a bit of a letdown. Surely, there are some great scenes throughout, but the film’s conclusion is difficult to comprehend and does not compare with the tension and quiet confidence of the early scenes. The film is still one of Hitchcock’s best British films, but I prefer The Lady Vanishes. Read More

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Product Overview


Studio Image/sphe
SKU 230207403
UPC 715515096317
UPC 14 00715515096317
Format Blu-Ray DVD
Release Date 6/26/2012
Essential Cinema
Theatrical Release
Editors Note
Note 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.
Plot Summary
Summary 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.
Empire 5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]his is the most satisfying of Hitchcock's Brit period, a thrilling, roller-coaster romp made before the phrase 'roller-coaster romp' existed." 05/01/2008 p.62
Alfred Hitchcock
Madeleine Carroll
Robert Donat
Cast & Crew
John Laurie - Star
Frank Cellier - Star
Wylie Watson - Star
Madeleine Carroll - Star
Robert Donat - Star
Godfrey Tearle - Star
Peggy Ashcroft - Star
Helen Haye - Star
Lucie Mannheim - Star
Alma Reville - Writer
Derek Twist - Editor
Bernard Knowles - Cinematographer
Jack Whitehead - Special Effects
Joe Strassner - Costume Designer
John Buchan - Source Writer
Ivor Montagu - Producer
Louis Levy - Music Director
Charles Bennett - Writer
Albert Jullion - Production Designer
Hubert Bath - Composer
Otto Wendorff - Production Designer
Alfred Hitchcock - Director
Technical Info
Original Release Date 1935
UPC 00715515096317
Number of Discs 1
Running Time 86 minutes
Color B&W
Aspect Ratio 1.33:1, Black & White
Product Attributes
Video Format Blu-Ray

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One of Hitchcock's best British Films by Brad W on Jan 27, 2014