Richard Hannay, a mining engineer on holiday from the African colonies, finds London socialite life terribly dull. Yet it's more then he bargained for when secret agent, Scudder, bursts ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Victoria Sinclair
...
Sir George Sinclair
...
Professor Fisher
...
Hellory Sinclair
...
Scudder
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Captain Kell
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Vicar / Wakeham
...
Ackerman
Peter Stark ...
Engel
Del Synnott ...
London Constable
Roger De Courcey ...
Ventriloquist
David Gallacher ...
Professor's Butler
James Bryce ...
Concierge at Club
Stewart Preston ...
Waiter at Club
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Storyline

Richard Hannay, a mining engineer on holiday from the African colonies, finds London socialite life terribly dull. Yet it's more then he bargained for when secret agent, Scudder, bursts into his room and entrusts him a coded notebook with map, concerning the impending start of World War I. In no time both German agents and the British law are chasing him, ruthlessly coveting the Roman numerals code, which Hannay believes he must crack himself. Masquerading as a liberal party pundit, Richard also gets stuck with parliamentary candidate Sir George Sinclair's sister Victoria. They must survive with the secrets and decide who they can trust and how to keep it from others. Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

28 December 2008 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

39 Lépcsőfok  »

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Trivia

One of the main locations for this version was Stirling Castle itself. See more »

Goofs

A one point Hannay is being chased by a bi-plane which fires at him with twin machine guns. These guns are firing through the propeller. This requires a synchronization gear (aka an interrupter gear). The scene takes place in 1914 but the first synchronization gear was not installed on an aircraft until March 1915. See more »

Quotes

Victoria Sinclair: I don't believe in violence.
Richard Hannay: Course you believe in violence - you're a suffragette. You fire-bomb the homes of politicians.
Victoria Sinclair: What! You'd rather I sat at home warming your slippers?
Richard Hannay: I don't want you *touching* my slippers.
Victoria Sinclair: You're a prehistoric boor.
Richard Hannay: You, my dear, are an unhinged hysteric.
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Connections

Version of The Thirty-Nine Steps (1978) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Stepping up...
26 January 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Shades of Robert Donat, Kenneth More and Robert Powell hover over this festive production from the BBC of John Buchan's classic novel, heck I can't even get Michael Palin's brilliant "Ripping Yarns" spoof out of my head, but it entertained pretty much all the way by taking itself just seriously enough without reverting to knowing post-modern sarcasm or worse yet campness. This is a "Boy's Own Adventure" and can only ever work by playing it straight. Don't mess with the Buchan in other words! Rupert Penry-Jones makes a fine Hannay, good looking, muscular if oddly blonde (the perfect Aryan specimen, ironically enough!) and interacts well with Lydia Leonard as the resourceful suffragette-cum-spy Victoria. I really liked Eddie Marson as the rent collector in the BBC's recent "Little Dorrit" dramatisation and so felt a little short-changed with his early demise. Of course the story is one long chase stopping only long enough for the various action or suspense-punctuating set-pieces and I rather liked the fact that these were accomplished without SFX or CGEN tricks.

I last read the book years and years ago so can't state for certain how faithful to source this was, (I only recall the political meeting episode from the novel if truth be told) but otherwise was perfectly happy to sit back, admire the glorious Scottish scenery, ancient cars period costumes and see True-Brit spunk and ingenuity triumph over the evil Bosche. The plot is of course wholly unbelievable and barely hangs together (including to top things off, a literally death-defying recovery by Victoria at the end to complete the happy ending), but just swallow an improbability pill beforehand and enjoy.

There are a couple of respectful references to Hitchcock scattered about (there must be people out there who think the original Hannay was a Hitch original, so ingrained in the memory is the Robert Donat/Madeleine Carroll film prototype) although quite how "North By North-West's" crop-duster scene found its way in here I'm not sure and perhaps more could have been made of the handcuff-scene, treated much more cheekily by the Master 70 odd years ago.

Nevertheless, I'll take this standard "Tally-Ho!" British fare over Indiana Jones any old day and hope there's a follow-up of sorts as I for one would welcome a revolt into style away from big-budget effects-fests in favour of more homespun dramas like this, tongue-in-cheek or not...


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