Tuesday, November 8, 2011

91. 39 Steps

39 Steps

Alfred Hitchcock has always been one of my favorite directors.  His movies are, of course, really enjoyable.  However, it wasn't until I took a film class that I really appreciated him.  We would learn about camera angles and different kinds of shots available to a filmmaker.  Hitchcock used each camera angle to its full potential.  I was amazed at how many examples I could think of where he had used different kinds of shots in a completely unique ways.

This is the classic Hitchcock tale of the wrong man accused of a crime.  There is also a love story that plays out in between the action.  Surprisingly, this movie is sometimes hilarious.  My favorite Hitch movies (his assistant called him that in an interview once and now I pretend that I can) come later, but his early films are intriguing and exciting.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

On set one day, Hitchcock actually handcuffed Donat and Carroll together and pretended that he lost the key.

HITCHCOCK RADAR: Tossing litter around seven minutes in.

We also learned in my film class that when we are walking with a camera (which you are never supposed to do because of shaky footage) you should walk like Groucho Marx to keep the camera steady.



  1. Did you notice the scene where they're lying on the bed together whilst he fidgets with the handcuffs just out of shot below his waist, as he tries to get them off? The whole thing being framed as if he were vigorously doing something else the production code wouldn't have allowed to ramp up the sexual tension.

    1. That's awesome! I didn't notice that! I actually just read The 39 Steps and it is one of those rare instances where the movie is better.

  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N96JGPPp8XE
    From 1hr 5mins for about one minute. Plus perhaps the minute beforehand as well, depending upon how well-endowed you think he might be

    1. Haha just watched it. Excellent. I would like to think Donat is quite well endowed.

  3. Nice anecdote. There is a lot of tension in that scene and it may be the best in the movie.

  4. I liked dinner with John Laurie as the suspicious crofter the best, but I suspect that Hitchcock himself would side with you two