6.6/10
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The Thirty-Nine Steps (1978)

PG | | Thriller | 2 May 1980 (USA)
The year is 1914 and Richard Hannay, Mining Engineer who is visiting Britain for a short time before returning to South Africa, is shocked when one of his neighbours, Colonel Scudder, ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (novel)
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A contemporary setting of John Buchan's classic novel - Engineer Richard Hannay finds himself caught up with analyst Kate Maybury, as they race against the clock to save the country from the Thirty Nine Steps.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Appleton
Eric Porter ...
Lomas
...
Alex
...
Scudder
...
Sir Walter Bullivant
...
Bayliss
Donald Pickering ...
Marshall
...
Porton
...
David
...
Lord Rohan
Robert Flemyng ...
Magistrate
...
Harkness
Paul McDowell ...
McLean
...
Tillotson
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Storyline

The year is 1914 and Richard Hannay, Mining Engineer who is visiting Britain for a short time before returning to South Africa, is shocked when one of his neighbours, Colonel Scudder, bursts into his rooms one night and tells him a story that Prussian 'sleeper' agents are planning to pre-start World War I by murdering a visiting foreign minister. However, Scudder is murdered and Hannay is framed for the death by the 'sleepers'. Fleeing to Scotland Hannay attempts to clear his name and to stop the agents with the aid of Alex Mackenzie but not only is he is chased by Chief Supt Lomas for Scudder's death but by the agents who is headed by Appleton who has managed to hide himself in a high-placed position in the British Government... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A game of terror begins. The only clues... Are the victims. See more »

Genres:

Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 May 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The 39 Steps  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

| (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final cinema movie of actor Eric Porter. See more »

Goofs

The train that Hannay travels to Scotland is far too modern. The coaches were built by the LMS railway company which was formed in 1924 and the loco was built in after WW2. See more »

Quotes

Hannay: I thought he was a harmless lunatic!
See more »

Connections

Version of The 39 Steps (1959) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Not a Hitchcock remake
9 April 2009 | by (South Wales, UK) – See all my reviews

I read one contribution here stating quite correctly that this is not a remake of the Hitchcock film, it is an entirely different treatment of the John Buchan book.

Where I thoroughly disagree with that reviewer though is in his comment that some parts of the Hitchcock film were 'stodgy', "particularly the crofter scene"! How he could say that is beyond belief. The crofter scene is BRILLIANT! It involves fantastic acting from all 3 in the scene (including a young John Laurie from Dad's Army) who convey amazing thoughts and emotions without dialogue simply with their eyes and small gestures. It is pure cinema and pure genius as is the rest of that film.

The Hitchcock version is light years better than this as a film (near perfect actually) but is only loosely based on a few ideas from the Buchan novel. This is more close to the novel but still strays from its source, wrongly so in this case. The novel is very good but this film drags and is quite poorly directed. It loses most suspense or interest and is very disappointing, I think.


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