Saturday, January 3, 2009

The 39 Steps

Alfred Hitchcock, 1935, bw (8.5*)
This is one of the early British films of Hitchcock before he developed a more formulaic approach for Hollywood , so it's really one that put him on the map early in his career. 39 Steps fits with this month's obvious spy theme, as its a pre-WW2 foreign spy film. Robert Donat stars as the common man discovering a possible plot, a theme often repeated later by Hitch. Features nice use of black and white to create an ominous mood, almost expressionistic. This has remained my favorite Hitchcock film, much preferred over more famous technicolor releases two decades later (well, except maybe for Vertigo, his most serious and successful color film), especially in its use of suspense, and is an early classic of the espionage and mystery genres.

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.



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