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Film / The 39 Steps

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John Buchan's novel The Thirty-Nine Steps has been adapted for film multiple times.

The 1935 Alfred Hitchcock film has its own page.
The 39 Steps (1959), directed by Ralph Thomas and starring Kenneth More, is more a remake of the 1935 film than an adaptation of the novel. As in the previous film, the setting was updated to the then-present day, and the villains were a spy ring intent on stealing British secrets.

This film provides examples of:

The 1978 film starring Robert Powell has its own page.
The 39 Steps is a TV movie done for the 2008 Christmas season by The BBC, starring Rupert Penry-Jones. It's set in 1914, but some liberties are taken to suit the 21st century idea of a proper spy thriller.


This TV Movie contains examples of:

  • Anachronism Stew: The scene where Hannay is chased by a biplane features a 1916 model fighter plane, and the car chases feature vehicles from the 1920s; the film-makers' excuse was that cars actually available in 1914 didn't have the oomph for an exciting chase. Then there's the building Hannay lives in (post-War Art Deco architecture) and the train he catches (a 1920s locomotive pulling 1950s carriages).
  • Cool Guns: Scudder is armed with a Nagant M1895.
  • Disney Death: Victoria is apparently killed in the climactic fight, but the final scene reveals that she survived.
  • Homage: The scene with the plane is a homage to that other Alfred Hitchcock classic North By North West.
  • Not His Sled: Unlike in the novel, the mysterious phrase "the 39 steps" refers to a flight of stairs leading down to a Scottish loch.
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  • Shirtless Scene: It's got Rupert Penry-Jones in it, what do you expect?
  • Token Romance: Adds a romance with a young woman Hannay meets while he's on the run.


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