and mining engineer Richard Hannay is visiting Britain for
a short stay before returning to South Africa. But his visit
is quickly turned on its head when one of his neighbours,
Colonel Scudder, tells him that Prussian 'sleeper' agents
are planning to start a war by murdering a visiting foreign
minister. However, Scudder is murdered and Hannay is framed
for the death by the sleepers. Fleeing to Scotland Hannay
attempts to clear his name...
1959 version of The 39 Steps is less faithful to the
book that the previous, and more famous, adaptation by Alfred
Hitchcock. And although that isn't really a problem in itself,
any comparison to a Hitch film is never going to be easy to
Moore's portrayal of accidental hero Richard Hannay doesn't
carry the emotional weight the part needs although he manages
to impart the vulnerability with a little more conviction
than his casting might immediately suggest. Unfortunately,
he fails to bring much humour to Hannay which holes the character
below the water line pretty much from the off. For the movie
to really work Hannay must be seen to realise the futility
of his fate while also laughing at it.
the plus side The 39 Steps uses its London and Scotland
locations well and there is a real sense of pace. Sadly Moore
is miscast which fatally undermines the film.
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