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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

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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

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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

When leaving London Hannay does this from a Station similar to Euston on a train made up of uniform Caledonian Railway Carriages bound for Inverness. The Loco shown is Apple Green suggesting it belonged to the North Eastern Railway. Inverness was accessible only by the Highland Railway. To get there from London Euston in the days of the story it would have been a trip via the LNWR to Carlisle which would have then been picked up by a Caledonian Railway loco to Aberdeen or Perth where a change would be required to the Highland Railway or the use of a Highland Railway Through Carriage on the train. The train would have been a hotchpotch of LNWR, CR and HR carriages. See more »

Quotes

Richard Hannay: So, what's the story?
Scudder: [hesitantly] I am a freelance agent for the British Secret Service Bureau.
Richard Hannay: My housekeeper told me you were an accountant.
Scudder: I don't make a habit of telling people that I'm a spy. Last night I was supposed to meet someone from the Bureau to exchange information, but it was a double-cross. Obviously I've been betrayed. I've been on the trail of a German espionage ring and I've tracked down their headquarters to a village in Scotland.
Richard Hannay: [sarcastically] You should contact the Weekly...
See more »

Connections

Version of The 39 Steps (1959) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Right Steps for me!
12 January 2009 | by hebrown-4See all my reviews

I really, really enjoyed this. I thought it was light-hearted, entertaining, captured the spirit of the period without getting bogged down in pedantic detail and it fairly zipped along. It was a new version with its own contemporary axes to grind/boxes to tick and on that basis, it worked like a charm for me. And speaking of charm, I think Rupert Penry-Jones is grossly under-rated as an actor and here, he was just perfectly cast and wonderfully skilled in a role almost tailor-made for someone with a light touch and a bit of dash about him. I don't know where people get the idea RPJ is wooden and can't do comedy-his way of commenting with a straight face and a twinkle in his eye is just lovely. Too subtle for some, maybe. And charm? Even when the character was making a klutz of himself he had buckets of charm. Too many nicely detailed moments to count. As to the portrayal of the character of Richard Hannay, it seemed to me truer to the concept of the ordinary man caught up in great events than many others have been. He was presented right from the start as a man looking for something, a man uncertain of his place in the world who was thrown into a situation beyond his control but who did his best, who used what experience and skills he had acquired in life to get himself out of trouble. But he was also a fallible human being who did get out of his depth and who didn't have the perfect answer to everything. People either want an all-knowing, superman-type, one-bound-and-he-was-free hero or they don't. That doesn't make any alternative a wimp or a wet. Hannay here was a clever, talented and resourceful person but also bewildered, confused and scared. I wasn't mad about the addition of the Victoria character but she struck me as far more believable and attractive than any of the introduced love interests that went before. Madeleine Carroll was gorgeous but passive (a stock Hitchcock heroine, quelle surprise!) and the others are just forgettable. I liked the notion that they were both prejudiced and opinionated (a nod to some of the now unacceptable, though of-their-time, opinions stated in Buchan's original) but that they came round to each other as they saw what the other was capable of. And their sarky/comic exchanges were a treat!

Of course it went for shameless audience pleasing and none the worse for that. It obviously succeeded on that score because it got excellent viewing figures-almost 7 and a half million. The romance was delightfully schmaltzy and of course it was sexed up. Hitchcock started that, after all, with his handcuffs and stockings. Big wow-sex did not begin in 1963 and in any case, the Edwardian era (OK, I know this was set in 1914 and George V's reign but it didn't disappear overnight!) wasn't exactly noted for its prudishness, from the top of the social scale down. This was a piece of escapist fiction, not an academic commentary on post-Edwardian, pre-World War One social mores. I loved this and I will love watching it again, so I have ordered the DVD to do just that. And I hope they hire Rupert Penry-Jones to do further Hannays, especially Greenmantle and Mr Standfast. So there!


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