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The 39 Steps
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BBC's new adaptation of John Buchan's thriller is the best ever! Richard Hannay finds himself framed for a murder he didn't commit. Now he has to break a ruthless German espionage network to prove his innocence and, more importantly and patriotically, warn the admiralty that its plans have fallen to the enemy. Full of excitement, danger, fun and romance, The 39 Steps is a remarkable tale of an ordinary man who puts his country's interests before his own safety. themselves facing death together.]]>
Top Customer Reviews
At loose ends, Hannay encounters a British Secret Service agent on the run, who imparts a notebook full of coded messages before being murdered in Hannay's London apartment. Sought by the police and the mysterious men who framed him, Hannay flees to Scotland. There, he manages to decode enough of the notebook to realize a deadly foreign conspiracy is afoot against Britain, and sets out to expose the conspirators and clear himself.
The story features a complicated espionage plot, some terrific location shooting in Scotland, an exciting action sequence involving a biplane (reminiscent of "North By Northwest"), and an unlikely but charming romance with a fiesty suffragette named Victoria Sinclair (Lydia Leonard).
This version of "The 39 Steps" is loosely based on the John Buchan original, as re-imagined by screenwriter Lizzie Mickery. It includes some new story elements, such as a two-part ending and Hannay's relationship with Victoria Sinclair. Viewer opinions may well depend on their attachment to earlier versions. This reviewer suggests enjoying "The 39 Steps" on its own terms for best results.
The story is both simple and complex - simple in that it is a case of British gentleman Richard Hannay (Rupert Penry-Jones) falling upon an intruder (a spy who is murdered after passing a secret booklet containing codes regarding German information about meetings and proposed invasions in Richard's hands) who begins his moments of chase and intrigue as he attempts to save Britain from war. Complex as along the way he encounters a suffragette Victoria Sinclair (Lydia Leonard) and her brother Hellory (Patrick Kennedy) and uncle Sir George (David Haig) all of whom play an integral part in the caper of the story. The entire cast of German spies and British counterparts is excellent and the story moves along with sufficient twists and turns (and a touch of romance) until a rather surprise ending.
Part of the joy of these British whodunnits is the elegance of the language and the manner in which the story unfolds - with just enough escapes and frightful incidents balanced by smart dialogue. Rupert Penry-Jones is a first class actor whose reputation should be assured with this film. Highly Recommended for those rainy nights at home...Grady Harp, March 10
The film does have nods to Hitch's original: the milkman (in a delightful twist), the servant girl charmed by our man Hannay, new play on "Mr Memory" and a great nod to both "North by Northwest" and the helicopter scene in the original with an armed bi-plane. If you want to be didactic then there are some inaccuracies: most of the cars used are later than the period. But in this case I say get over it and enjoy the twists on both the book and the Hitchcock version. Heck, get both and have a double feature!
1914 finds British newspapers ominously hinting of a looming global war. It also finds Richard Hannay back home but quite fed up with England, or at least its dull, stuffy London men's club. But then intrigue surfaces in the shape of a fearful "freelance agent" (read: spy) who bursts into Hannay's room claiming that two German operatives are closing in from the outside. Hannay is incredulous, that is until the spy is fatally shot, prompting Hannay to go on the run, framed for the muder. But Hannay gets ahold of the flick's McGuffin, an enigmatic code book desperately sought by the villains. Top secret British military plans are compromised. The fate of England is at stake. A network of sinister enemy spies is operating on English soil. And Richard Hannay isn't bored anymore. Especially when the sexy, outspoken suffragette enters the picture.
As mentioned, Rupert Penry-Jones is very serviceable as the resourceful hero, and there's a spark between him and the fiery Lydia Leonard, with whom he shares caustic banter that sometimes feels very screwball.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the fourth film adaptation of author John Buchan's famous novel - the most famous being Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 version - and as did all three before it, the movie departs... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mike Billington
Interesting and scenic remake of a Hitchcock classic. The main characters are strong and resourceful. Very enteratining!Published 2 months ago by Jacqueline A. Owens
Just read the book (a great fun book) so maybe my review is a little harsh, but I was very disappointed in this movie. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Michael V. Partsch