The 39 Steps is an Alfred Hitchcock film about an ordinary civilian who becomes caught up in preventing an organization of spies from stealing British military secrets. This is one of a number of Hitchcock films to use the plot of a man wrongly convicted of crime who is on the run. And this particular storyline is quite solid, if far from great. It is pleasantly thrilling, engaging and mostly well detailed, but it is also way to implausible in way too many scenes with the sequence in which the protagonist is shot but is accidentally survived by a book being just way too improbable and unrealistic, not to mention an obvious contrived plot device.
But for every contrived scene, we get another truly great one and there are a number of scenes here that are not only terrific, but also truly unforgettable. The highlights for me were the entire sequence in the crofter’s house which is just perfectly constructed in every detail, the entire trip down the countryside was awesome and that waterfall scene is instantly recognizable. The film is interesting for revolving outdoors in the majority of its running time which is not only great, but also incredibly rare for the films of this era.
The 39 Steps is too fast paced and too action-oriented which is the reason why it appeals to modern moviegoers, but not as much to me as I personally dislike those things. And even though the action is very well executed and the film is genuinely exciting and entertaining, it was still done at the expense of plot and character development.
Good Review Simbasible.