Month of Classic Movies: Day 1, The 39 Steps 7/10

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A man in London tries to help a counter-espionage Agent. But when the Agent is killed, and the man stands accused, he must go on the run to save himself and stop a spy ring which is trying to steal top secret information.

Synopsis via IMBD

Here’s how this scale works. I’ll rate these films on a scale from 1-10

  1. No redeeming qualities whatsoever visually, aesthetically, or as a story.
  2. So boring I could barely pay attention.
  3. I had a headache but somehow made it through.
  4. I could make fun of it. . . because of how bad it is.
  5. It’s not good, its not bad. Its just blah.
  6. There were various interesting apsects but nothing to really gush about.
  7. A solid movie. Good characters, plot, and visuals. However, not amazing.
  8. I genuinely enjoyed watching it. I could see it again with friends.
  9. A great experience! AS a film it is visually stunning and has an incredible story I could go back to multiple times.
  10. Near Perfect (nothing is perfect. 🙂 ) It has become one of my favorites. I could also write entire articles on it.

Look: Creating a film’s mood and aesthetic (6/10)

Given how many brilliant films Alfred Hitcock made in his lifetime, it stands to reason there had to be films he directed which were building blocks in his career.

Though The 39 Steps is a film noir I didn’t really feel it had that look. In fact, I didn’t really understand where much of the film took place, especially at the beginning.

To create the right mood for these early detective movies, directors had various techniques in lighting and staging (which they borrowed by the Germans). Needless to say, having seen so many of these old films, this movie didn’t have quite the right look to it.

The staging for this film didn’t impress me but that isn’t to say it didn’t create the right look they were looking for.

Flow: Comprehensible Pacing and Rythym (7/10)

It felt there were gaps in the story. That threw off the flow for me. For example, the spy the main character Henry helps just suddenly popped next to him and before any time had really passed was at his apartment. . . then within five minutes BAM she was dead.

There were a lot of instances like this.

I also thought it was strange how long it took for the blond who eventually became handcuffed to Henry to actually become a big part of the movie.

Again, it wasn’t bad. I’m just used to Hitcock’s other films. Even one of his earliest films The Lodger (1927) had better pacing and kept me on the edge of my seat almos the whole movie.

Feel (7/10)

There isn’t much to say. This movie didn’t teach any particularly profound messages or make any commentary on society. The music was also very typical of 1930’s films. There, but not an integral part of the visuals or aesthetic. (I know it’s ironic seeing how important it was in musicals and silent films.)

Personal Enjoyment (7/10)

I didn’t not enjoy this movie. Perhaps I wasn’t in the right mood. I might go back and see this movie if I ever do an Alfred Hitchcock marathon. Otherwise, I don’t think I’ll be coming back to it anytime soon.

Favorite Scene

The ending, when they find out what the 39 Steps are during the performance.

Thanks for reading! See you tomorrow.

Month of Classic Movies



  1. Have you seen the 1978 remake of this film yet? Just curious because I know the two appear to have some stringent differences between each other 🤔

    1. aubreym3 says:

      I haven’t yet! It’s on the never ending list of things for me to watch.

    2. aubreym3 says:

      I have heard the play is quite good.

      1. To be honest, I haven’t seen the play or the 1978 film in totality – just the finale which I know is very different than the original, based on what I’ve read about the plot summary.

      2. aubreym3 says:

        I’m the same. I do know there is an original novel as well.

  2. I can’t say I’ve seen The 39 Steps although I have meant to see it. I suspected it was uneven.

    1. aubreym3 says:

      I feel like it’s you are interested in film it’s a must see

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