THE 39 STEPS

1935 **** 87 mins.

Widely considered to be one of Hitchcock's best films, The 39 Steps is the first to feature a lot of his signature trademarks. The only problems I really have with it are by-products of the low budget and censorship of the time period. The exposition of the story is a bit preposterous and I don't think it's really explored thoroughly enough. It's still a very fun and enjoyable film about a man who stumbles into a spy ring and struggles to stay alive. I'm also going to spoil one thing about this film. I'm doing this as a service, as I was sorely disappointed when I watched the film, and I don't want others to have this same disappointment. From the title, I assumed there would be an Exorcist-like staircase in the film, probably where some crime took place or where the climax took place. Nope. "The 39 Steps" is a misnomer that really bothers me.

For a while, there was a bit of a debate as to whether the above pictured Criterion VHS was real or not. This VHS appeared on eBay, and when asked about its authenticity, Criterion originally denied it. A few months later, someone shared pictures of it on Criterion's Facebook page, and they retracted their denial, admitting, "We did release a few VHS tapes in our early years." As soon as they confirmed it, I went to eBay and bought it. I have scanned every aspect of the VHS and included the pictures below, for all Criterion collectors to enjoy. For further proof of its authenticity, I have a Criterion catalogue in my laserdisc edition of Children of Paradise, and in that booklet, Criterion states that this, The Lady Vanishes (Spine #4), and The Third Man (Spine #5) are all available on VHS. I've seen The Lady Vanishes VHS on eBay, but I've never seen the VHS of The Third Man.
Criterion VHS Front Cover
Criterion VHS Spine
Criterion VHS Back Cover
Criterion VHS Inside Flap
Criterion VHS Tape
Comment Card Inside Case
Comment Card 2
Original theatrical aspect ratio: 1.37:1
Not Rated.

Starring:
Robert Donat + Madeleine Carroll + Godfrey Tearle + Helen Haye + Lucie Mannheim + Peggy Ashcroft + John Laurie + Wylie Watson

Screenplay by
Charles Bennett + Ian hay + Alma Reville

Original Story by
John Buchan

Directed by
Alfred Hitchcock


THE 39 STEPS on IMDb.com
THE 39 STEPS in The Criterion Collection

Motion Pictures