The 39 Steps (2008 TV Movie remake/BBC DVD)
C+ Sound: C+ Extras: D Telefilm: C
remake films by Alfred Hitchcock. It is
one of the simplest things to remember, yet one of the biggest mistakes people
make every so often. Before Robert Towne
attempts it for a film due in 2011, the BBC has produced a TV movie version in
2008 of The 39 Steps, but it is so
dull, flat and goofy that the Hitchcock original looks even better in
comparison. Director James Hawes thinks
he can do his pitiful variant as North
By Northwest with Indiana Jones style and style-comedy, but lands up making
a schizophrenic mess.
unfamiliar, Richard Hannay (here played by Rupert Penry-Jones of the hit BBC
series MI-5) is traveling and having
his usual fun when he gets involved in a gun battle that gets a scared man
killed, blood all over him and a chase that might involve mistaken identity and
more murder. He must figure out the
mystery of The 39 Steps and what it means before it is too late for him and
maybe higher stakes.
Lizzie Mickery’s teleplay adaptation is too cutesy to have any edge and
certainly does not get the sexual politics of the Hitchcock film. I was surprised the BBC did this, but when
these things happen, the usual clichéd excuse is something along the lines of
“we were adapting the book” when none of it seems like any book with its
references to so many films. A boring
curio, there is at least some money in it and it looks good, but it is also a
dud and is best skipped.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is a little soft with some motion blur
here and there, plus color can be odd. The
Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is well recorded enough, but is nothing special
either. There are no extras.
- Nicholas Sheffo