The 39 Steps stars Rupert Penry-Jones (of MI5/Spooks fame) as a military intelligence officer caught up in Events He Cannot Control in this loose british adaption of the John Buchanan novel.
When a spy with coded details on a German plan to defeat Britain before World War I has even started is killed, Penry-Jones is the only person that can stop their plan from being carried out.
The film is photographed beautifully showing off the Scottish landscape and the towns and buildings that look as they would have a hundred years ago. The lack of modern filmmaking quirks is refreshing and the few special effects are extremely well done.
Unfortunately, the films seams show whenever the story’s action turns to the romantic plotline, which drags the momentum to an abrupt halt.
The film doesn’t truly go wrong until the end, or should I say multiple ends?
There’s nothing worse than a movie that doesn’t know when to call it a day, something that this movie does three separate times. I can’t tell if they were trying to set up sequels, or just had to fill some time but in either case it didn’t work.
Last Word: If you’re desperate and need something (extremely) light to kill an hour and a half, this will work but you’d probably be better off reading the novel.