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Author Topic: The 39 Steps (1935)  (Read 987 times)
Matt
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« on: November 15, 2018, 05:24:13 PM »

Sorry for the delay in getting this discussion thread started! But now that it's here, please post any and all thoughts you have about Hitchcock's 1935 film The 39 Steps!

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Matt
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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2018, 07:20:44 PM »

I thought I'd seen this film before, I'd certainly heard of it -- but this was definitely my first viewing. I liked it less than Sabotage. But, I felt the second half was much better (as I did with Sabotage too). When Madeleine Carroll enters the film, it takes on sort of a It Happened One Night feel (or you could go so far as to say a Bronco Billy feel). The mystery wasn't as interesting to me as other Hitchcock films, and it feels dreary and dull. I even stopped it for a few hours and then came back to it to "get it done", and that was when I started to really enjoy it. The film needed Madeleine Carroll and the playful banter between them to give it a spark. All in all, my least favorite Hitchcock film to date.  :-[

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Christopher
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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2018, 01:26:58 PM »

Your overall least favorite Hitchcock film, or just from the ones you've watched during the last several weeks?
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Matt
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« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2018, 02:14:06 PM »

Of all the ones I've seen that I remember, it's my least favorite.
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The Schofield Kid
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« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2018, 08:41:20 PM »

I regret the two films I chose for this challenge now. I wanted to pick a couple of Hitchcock's earlier films because I knew most would be choosing his more well known Hollywood films. Unfortunately, The 39 Steps and Sabotage weren't as good as I remember them.

Like Matt said the second half is better than the first but even at 86 mins this seems to drag on. You know my favorite part of this film and it only lasts for a split second is, when the body of Annabelle Smith is found and that woman screams but you don't hear her scream, the film cuts to a train whistle and that's what you hear.

And how many scenes in Hitchcock's films take place on a train? Seems to be a recurring thing in a lot of Hitchcock films. In the ones we've seen so far anyway.
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KC
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« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2018, 11:02:21 PM »

And how many scenes in Hitchcock's films take place on a train? Seems to be a recurring thing in a lot of Hitchcock films. In the ones we've seen so far anyway.

Yes, I was thinking that seems to be a recurring theme ... and we haven't even seen Strangers on a Train yet.
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Matt
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« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2018, 03:26:21 PM »

I regret the two films I chose for this challenge now. I wanted to pick a couple of Hitchcock's earlier films because I knew most would be choosing his more well known Hollywood films. Unfortunately, The 39 Steps and Sabotage weren't as good as I remember them.

While I didn't enjoy them very much, I do think it rounded out our Hitchcock film series very nicely to have them in there, along with The Lady Vanishes, his last before moving to Hollywood. I wonder if the films that he made in Hollywood were better mainly due to having a larger budget to work with, or the star power of the amazing actors and actresses he'd be working with starting with Rebecca (Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine) and onward.  (Side note:  I didn't know Joan was Olivia de Haviland's sister, and I also see she died in Carmel CA -- maybe she and Clint were neighbors!)


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And how many scenes in Hitchcock's films take place on a train? Seems to be a recurring thing in a lot of Hitchcock films. In the ones we've seen so far anyway.

I noticed that too!  I think we see less of it in the U.S. films (excluding North by Northwest) because train usage in the States is much less than in England (except for inter-city travel).
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Doug
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« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2018, 04:30:27 PM »


And how many scenes in Hitchcock's films take place on a train? Seems to be a recurring thing in a lot of Hitchcock films. In the ones we've seen so far anyway.

Yeah, we'll see trains play a very important role in Shadow of a Doubt as well. Then there's North by Northwest... Besides the dramatic aspect of trains, there is a reason Ayn Rand chose the railroad industry as a major economic component of her novel Atlas Shrugged in 1957.
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« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2018, 04:15:55 PM »

I just realized I watched this back in September, then forgot. I do like it quite a bit, though not as much as The Lady Vanishes, which I still want to watch for this challenge, but I'd prefer to get the Criterion Collection DVD of it. Again it's Hitchcock telling a story of an ordinary man caught up in a big intrigue and it has those little Hitchcock touches he would make use of in later films. I'm thinking of when he takes the note from the dead woman's hand and their meeting on the train, when she turns him in. Of course later they hook up, and the most charming scene is when they check into the hotel handcuffed together. The way the film is resolved with Mr. Memory is an interesting plot device. Probably a little silly, but it's all part of the magic of telling a story through cinema.
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"Yes, well, when I see five weirdos dressed in togas stabbing a guy in the middle of a park in full view of a hundred people, I shoot the bastards, that's my policy."  Frank Drebin, Police Squad.
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