Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps


(and new polls..!)

Robert Donat and Madelien Carroll are thrown together in The 39 Steps

Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll are thrown together in The 39 Steps

After all the blockbuster hype this year, I thought I should take time to look back on a good classic movie. Well, I got ‘The 39 Steps’ free with the newspaper the other day so it seemed like a good place to start. It’s a great movie and well worth a watch, so if you also received a copy, do take a look. It’s an early Hitchcock (it was made in 1935), although he already had some 23 films under his belt at that stage. The basic premise here is that a man named Richard Hannay (Robert Donat) is wrongfully accused of murder and has to go on the run from the police. Typical Hitchcock fodder you might think, but this suspense thriller is mixed with plenty screwball comedy as Hannay finds himself (literally) tied to Pamela (Madeleine Carroll) in his escape across the Scottish moors, when she too gets caught up in the whole affair. Given this, it’s surprisingly lighthearted in comparison to other Hitchcock films. It’s very well paced too and has enough to twists and turns to keep you glued to your seat. It’s impressive really how much Hitchcock could say within just one frame. The final scene is relatively dialogue free but tells us all we need to know. This is also worth a look if only to familiarise yourself with the work of Robert Donat who, unfortunately, seems to have been forgotton by the world at large. He picked up a Best Actor oscar back in 1939 for ‘Goodbye Mr. Chips’, a year when ‘Gone with the Wind’ ran away with everything else. It probably took Clarke Gable quite a while to get over that one!

Hitchcock movies are never out of the limelight for long. After the remake of Psycho in 1998, it seemed like nobody would ever try anything so ridiculous again, but 2009 will see the release of ‘The Birds’ with Naomi Watts in the Tippi Hedren role. Check this IMDB page if you don’t believe me! I seriously hope that it doesn’t turn into an SFX filled popcorn movie. The original, which used real birds, was a feat of film-making.

Anyway, as Hitchcock is the flavour of the month again, I thought I’d pop up a poll so you can vote for your favourite Hitchcock flick, if you have one. And if you don’t, well you should! On another note, I’m using a Polldaddy poll widget. It’s a little oversized and completely scrambles this blog on IE 6, so if any other bloggers have better poll tips, feel free to comment below!

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