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The 39 Steps (2008)

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 »

Director:

James Hawes

Writers:

John Buchan (novel), Lizzie Mickery (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rupert Penry-Jones ... Richard Hannay
Lydia Leonard ... Victoria Sinclair
David Haig ... Sir George Sinclair
Patrick Malahide ... Professor Fisher
Patrick Kennedy ... Hellory Sinclair
Eddie Marsan ... Scudder
Alex Jennings ... Captain Kell
Steven Elder ... Vicar / Wakeham
Werner Daehn ... Ackerman
Peter Stark Peter Stark ... Engel
Del Synnott Del Synnott ... London Constable
Roger De Courcey Roger De Courcey ... Ventriloquist
David Gallacher David Gallacher ... Professor's Butler
James Bryce James Bryce ... Concierge at Club
Stewart Preston 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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

28 December 2008 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

39 Lépcsőfok See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

As the film is set before the start of the Great War in 1914, the featured biplane could not display red, white and blue RAF roundels as they were not introduced until December 1914: some months after the Great War had begun. See more »

Quotes

Richard Hannay: Well at least you're only a spy and not a suffragette.
Victoria Sinclair: Well, actually I'm a spy /and/ a suffragette.
Richard Hannay: Oh Lord!
See more »

Connections

References North by Northwest (1959) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Nicely put together but thrill-free adaptation of Buchan
29 December 2008 | by FramescourerSee all my reviews

Comparison's to Hitchcock's film are, perhaps, inevitable - from what I can remember this film is much easier to watch than Hitchcock's 1935 b&w version, being largely filmed in Scotland-flattering daylight. It's also a comparative disappointment for the same reason - there's none of the claustrophobia and shadowy drama that makes a Hitchcock viewer watch on edge.

Still, the BBC hasn't tried to remake Hitchcock but to adapt Buchan. Despite some tepid, 21st-century pussyfooting about from Rupert Penry-Jones as Hannay it has a fair bit of pace and flair. Crucially, this feature also has plenty of humour. Or rather, it tries - it's Penry-Jones' weakest suit but he has good support from a jolly, modern suffragette (Lydia Lyon, excellent as Victoria)... so what is the point of Penry-Jones? Well, he's a rather capable action figure as Spooks has borne out and perhaps his stint as Donald Maclean in Cambridge Spies sold him as a dashing period figure. Still he's exposed as a bit one-trick here, I'm sorry to say.

Nonetheless, a good, original one-off for Christmas, and not least for the carefully fashioned but never intrusive music by Rob Lane. 4/10


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