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The 39 Steps (The Criterion Collection) (1935)

Peggy Ashcroft , Ivor Barnard , Alfred Hitchcock  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (230 customer reviews)

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The 39 Steps (The Criterion Collection) + The Lady Vanishes + To Catch a Thief
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Product Details

  • Actors: Peggy Ashcroft, Ivor Barnard, Wilfrid Brambell, Madeleine Carroll, Frank Cellier
  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Format: Black & White, Special Edition, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: November 2, 1999
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (230 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0780021967
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,147 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The 39 Steps (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Gorgeous new digital transfer, with restored picture and sound
  • The complete 1937 broadcast of the Lux Radio Theatre adaptation performed by Robert Montgomery and Ida Lupino
  • The Art of Film: Vintage Hitchcock, the complete Janus Films documentary detailing the director's British period
  • Excerpts from the original 1935 press book
  • Original production design drawings

Editorial Reviews

The best known of Hitchcock’s British films, this civilized spy yarn follows the escapades of Richard Hannay (Robert Donat), who stumbles into a conspiracy that involves him in a hectic chase across the Scottish moors—a chase in which he is both the pursuer and the pursued. Adapted from John Buchan’s novel, this classic Hitchcock "wrong man" thriller encapsulates themes that anticipate the director’s biggest American films (especially North by Northwest), and is a standout among his early works.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
129 of 144 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion does it again... June 10, 2004
I just ordered the Criterion Hitchcock "set" which includes "The 39 Steps", a movie I've watched many times over the last 20 years, but NEVER in a form this crisp and well-transfered; it's been restored beautifully, and as with all the films("My Man Godfrey" and "The Lady Vanishes", to name two)that have been kicking around with duped, grainy, fuzzy prints for the last 60-some years that were FINALLY restored-it's almost like watching a new movie-even if you'd thought you'd memorized all the dialogue and action! There's just so much that's missed in a bad print. Here, we have Hitch at his finest....there just isn't a dull second in this film. It's really as sure-fire as any movie ever made, in terms of entertainment. I believe this too was Hitchcock's first huge breakout international hit, although happily for us, he didn't "go Hollywood" for another 3 years or so(and gave us the later "Lady Vanishes"-another Criterion must-have).
One caveat: if you're like me(hopeless film buff), you often get these Criterions for not only the fantastic quality of the print but for the often illuminating audio tracks, usually provided by experts of one type or another; I've never quibbled with any of them before, but I have to say, don't expect Marion Keane's wall-to-wall droning to be worth it. There's generally two kinds of film "discussion"(not counting the sort where the actual director or actors gab, which we get with new films): the sort that's superb, like Rudy Behlmer's on "Adventures of Robin Hood"-an amalgam of film history, film technique, on-the-fly biographies of the actors you're watching, tidbits about the production locations, etc.etc.-nd then there's the OTHER kind:
film "semiotics".
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It doesn't get better than this November 11, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I won't argue the merits of DVD or recount the plot--but I do want to say this is a practically perfect film; it has it all: humor, suspense, romance, action, intrigue. I think it is Hitch's best British film, with the "The Lady Vanishes" coming in second. All of the actors are great, the script is fantastic, and Hitch's direction is unparelleled: the way he moves the camera, uses cuts, and frames the shots. This is such a fun and well-made film I almost hate seeing some of his later Hollywood movies which may have featured superstars like Bergman and Grant, but were made under the constrictive thumb of either Selznick or Hollywood moral conventions. "The 39 Steps" is a flat out wonderful movie, and Hitchcock was an absolute master.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Have for Your Hitch Collection....... April 23, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
One of his masterpieces! From 1935.. "The Thirty Nine Steps" has Hitch's trademark style all through it.An innocent man gets involved with spies and counter spies. He is at the music hall, watching a "Memory Act"(which is quite a scene in itself),there's a gun shot, panic erupts and everyone runs out. A mysterious woman attaches herself to him and comes home with him. She reveals she is spy and others are after her. She mentions the mysterious "Thirty Nine Steps", and the next morning he finds her dead. He goes on the run for fear he will be implicated in the murder and in order to prove his innocence he must uncover this spy ring on his own. His path is fraught with danger, suspense and of course a beautiful woman. It stars Robert Donat,Madeline Carroll(you know how Hitch loved those beautiful cool blondes!), and Lucie Mannheim(as Annabela the spy).Also look for his trademark staircase scene.
Looking for Hitch: Less than 10 minutes in, you'll spy him. What a litter bug!
A must have to add to any Hitch collection...enjoy...Laurie
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go for the Criterion August 18, 2002
Five stars in all might make me sound like an easy-to-please viewer, but I don't see how this DVD could be better. Criterion never disappoints, so if you're buying this film it's worth paying extra for this one. I believe the transfer is way superior and the extras go on longer than an awards night.
The documentary focuses on Hitchcock's British films, which aren't as widely seen these days and also a complete radio broadcast from 1937. Talk about diggin' up some material! I also enjoyed the commentary and that press book stuff. I'm not even sure I've seen it all. Actually, I'm still not sure what The 39 Steps really is exactly, but who cares? I pity people who don't watch certain movies because they're old and black & white. The reason people should see this film is because no one can make a film like this anymore. This is a great film, don't miss it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars VINTAGE HITCHCOCK. November 20, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
Many critics and viewers alike feel that this is one of Hitchcocks' finest films: viewer response to the film today is often as enthusiastic as when it was first released. One of the directors' favourite themes is used here: the innocent caught in bizarre circumstances that he or she doesn't understand. Particularly effective in the film are rapid changes of situation and Hitchcock's obvious contention that nothing is sacred, especially if a location or situation can be used to demonstrate the cleverness of his protagonist. There is a funny scene with Donat and Carroll, handcuffed together, pretending to be newlyweds "forced" to spend the night together. Visually, the film enabled Hitchcock to transfer some silent film techniques most effectively: the silent dialogue between Donat and the farmer's kind wife as seen through the window of the farmer's cottage is memorable as is the wind blowing curtains at a window on a stormy London night. There was no doubt that Hitchcock was a genius; he was the real star of the film; two modern remakes pale in comparison to this original gem from 1935.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Suspense, Mystery, Comedy, Romance, What's not to love about it?
This has been one of my favorite films since childhood and after viewing it again recently, I think it always will be.
Published 1 day ago by Nightshadelady
5.0 out of 5 stars What are the 39 steps?
Adapted from the novel by John Buchan. Be aware that the book comes in all kinds of prices for the kindle starting with free. Read more
Published 4 days ago by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars oldies
I love to be able to watch my oldies. Robert Danot is one of my favorites. I am searching for as many of his movies I am find.
I highly recommend it to anyone.
Published 13 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great classic
Loved it! Fun rainy night movie . Yup must see don't wait another minute watch it now not later! Yah
Published 15 days ago by Brenda Crawford Martin
2.0 out of 5 stars The 39 Steps, The Black Narcissus
This movies seems to be a seminal who-done-it. Film buffs should see it in a class to see where some of the camera effects and dramatic action was born and used in much better... Read more
Published 17 days ago by Judith E. Cohen
5.0 out of 5 stars framing is cropped
This is in regards to the criterion Blu ray edition.

I have no problems with the movie per se. But I was noticing in the opening credits the word CAST is mostly cut off. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Ross Bennett
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this movie!
This is one of my all time favorite suspense movies. Only one remake has done it any justice. Simply excellent!
Published 19 days ago by PKD
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Hitchcock
One of my favorites from Hitchcock. It has humor, suspense and intrigue. And the ever present McGuffin - a terrific premise. Read more
Published 1 month ago by SE in NY
5.0 out of 5 stars the icicle.
Love Hitckcock. Love the movie. Great suspense. Sit at the edge of your seat suspense.
Make sure you have all your necessaries at the finger tips.
Published 1 month ago by unhappygirl
5.0 out of 5 stars Master of Classics
This movie is one of Alfie's best and one of the most underrated ones. It really is a masterpiece and needs to be considered as such. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Willie Yohanna
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