The 39 Steps (1935)
I’ll be honest, I never thought I’d find this one. I finally found one to watch but it had Mandarin subtitles of all things. The funny thing about that is there were times when everyone is yelling or the sound quality isn’t great and I’d have no idea what anyone was saying.
If you’ve been watching spy movies and hear ad nauseum how this is one of the greatest then please believe it. It’s really well done and literally has the seeds for so many movies that follow.
Robert Donat was good but my favorite was Madeleine Carroll. He gets a little full of himself at times but she is hilarious, very feisty and yet a decent person thrust into challenging circumstances. I enjoyed watching a supporting character that was a woman be strong in her own right without catering to 50’s repression, feminism or post-feminism-exploitation movie tropes.
I’ve been trying to be careful not to ruin the plot because not everyone has been digging through back catalogues of spy movies but for anyone out there who hasn’t seen it – it’s a counterespionage movie where the mission has to be transferred to a civilian who must flee the country and a murder charge to Scotland in a desperate attempt to find the contact and stop the enemy spy from stealing the secret air force innovation all while dodging police, enemy agents and various encounters with “Pamela”.
Definitely watch this one.