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The 39 Steps (1935)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writers: John Buchan (novel), Charles Bennett (screenplay)
Cast: Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll, Lucie Mannheim
Genre: Proto Noir / Thriller
My reaction: Enthusiastic

I've seen a lot of Hitchcock's films. I've seen most all of his American made films except for: Under Capricorn & Saboteur. On the other hand I haven't seen many of Hitch's earlier sound films made in England, only:
Jamaica Inn, The Lady Vanishes & The Man Who Knew Too Much, and now I can say I've seen The 39 Steps and liked it too!

The 39 Steps
is steeped in Hitch's hallmark style of palatable tension. The film starts with a jolt that propels the protagonist, and the viewer, into a riveting world of secrets, spys and danger that lurks around every corner. Here in Hitch's early British film career we can see his familiar story structure of the everyday, innocent man being framed and/or being caught up in a world of turmoil that is beyond his control. That then makes for high tension as the audience can easily relate to a seemly simple character who's in over his head and must use every ounce of his brain power and determination just to survive the events that Hitch has in store for him.

At only 90 minutes The 39 Steps zips along. The leads were OK, not the greatest but they worked fine. Besides being entertained, we also get to see an early form of a airplane helicopter and a 1930s bra too. Who knew that women's lingerie would look so similar to today's style, well not the corsets! Those look like a medieval torture device, which is fitting for a Hitch film.