The 39 Steps

Year: 1935
Studio: Gaumont British Picture Corporation
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writer: Charles Bennett
Cast: Robert Donat

I'm nowhere near the Hitchcock expert as most movie fans but it seems to me after watching just a handful of his films that he got better at it as he grew older – or at least he grew into the style he became known for.

It's a worthy espionage drama that's actually aching to be remade – it was simply made too long ago to stand up to a modern viewing. For all the hoopla about the technique Hitchcock would master in films like Rear Window, Vertigo and The Birds, everything from the special effects to the acting style in 1935 are just laughable.

When traveling Canadian Hannay (Donat) meets a mysterious woman who asks to accompany him back to his London apartment, she tells him of an international ring of spies on a mission to smuggle military secrets out of the country and then winds up dead.

Suspected of her murder he flees to Scotland to try and get to the bottom of the mystery, finding himself in the jaws of his enemies over and over again but escaping by the skin of his teeth, whether it's by busting out of a police station or running across the windy Scottish moors at night.

He eventually finds himself handcuffed to the woman he's been coming across since he started running, and the pair have to get over their love/hate relationship when she realises he was right the entire time with his wild conspiracy stories.

Technically it's more like a small musical society stageshow than a movie, hobbled by cinematic limitations that get in the way of you enjoying the story.

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