The Thirty-Nine Steps

  • Film
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Though boasting a greater period fidelity to John Buchan's novel than either the Hitchcock entertainment or its dire Ralph Thomas remake, and blessed with the resonant image of Powell hanging from the face of Big Ben in an attempt to make time stand still, this blows its coherence as a thriller by a ramshackle construction of gimmicky set pieces and a nostalgic sheen of BBC costume drama proportions. Strangely enough, archetypal British hero Richard Hannay had been better served, placed and analysed on TV in Mark Shivas' almost contemporaneous adaptation of The Three Hostages: here he merely rushes from pillar to post to avert the inevitable outbreak of World War I (and the 20th century) by a matter of days.

Release details

Duration: 102 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Don Sharp
Screenwriter: Michael Robson
Cast: Robert Powell
David Warner
Eric Porter
Karen Dotrice
John Mills
George Baker
Ronald Pickup
Timothy West
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