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Criterion's The 39 Steps

Old 01-03-00, 12:23 PM
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I like to watch Criterion movies and thought maybe I could pass on a few brief comments about the movie. Lord know they are not cheap discs to purchase so maybe my comments may sway someone who's sitting on the fence. I would also like to hear from other people who have seen this movie and get your input as well.

First, let me state that I was pleasantly surprised by this film, I really wasn't expecting much from Hitchcock's earlier films but this one was very good. Like a lot of his earlier films this one deals with espionage. The movie contains a lot of supsense, heightened by an appropriately moody soundtrack.

Video:Excellent for a film that was made in 1935. Criterion are no strangers to providing a sharp transfer and this disc is no exception.

Audio: Very good - it has DD 1.0 sound and I thought it sounded very good. Dialogue was crisp and very easy to understand, sometimes a problem with those older films.

Extras:Excellent. Criterion has an unusual blend of goodies for this film: short documentary about Hitchcock's earlier works, an old press release kit that featued star's bios,different promotional items they used to promote the film and lists of different tag lines they were considering for the film, I really had a blast going through them!Another interesting feature is the 1939(?) radio broadcast of this film.

Bottom Line: If you are a mystery/suspense/Hitchcock fan this is a must have. BTW if you own a Criterion release please share your thoughts on it - I know I can go to dvdreview.com/ thedigitalbits.com etc. for reviews but I value everyday peoples insight more!!

Regards Jim
Old 01-03-00, 05:39 PM
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You are right on target with your 39 Steps review, the disc is great.

Since you liked 39 Steps, here are a few other Criterions you may enjoy:

"M" -- Fritz Lange's first sound film. The movie has a teriffic plot and great acting. The film is in German, but is has English subtitles. The one drawback to this disc is no extras. The first 5 mins of the film come from an inferior print, outside of that the video and audio are exceptional.

"Lady Vanishes" Another early Hitchcock film, the plot and film style is a bit more polished than 39 Steps. But a similar kind of movie. Extras include a commentary. I have not seen it, but it has been reported that the Image disc also has a nice transfer, you miss out on the commentary, but save some money on the disc.

"The Third Man" -- An excelent movie, great plot, high suspense and a very nice disc packed with some great extras.

"Charade" a more recent more than the rest, but a great "who donnit" kind of film. A very nice disc with some good extras. There is a non-Criterion version of this disc -- avoid it at all costs, by all accounts it is terrible.

"Insomnia" A recent Norweigan film (1998?). Very good movie, great suspense and brilliant acting by the lead actor (Stellan Skarsgard). The disc is lacking in the extras department though, but a very good movie.

Happy DVD watching!
Old 01-03-00, 05:54 PM
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I think this DVD has some of the best supplements I have seen - really interesting stuff.
Old 01-03-00, 10:31 PM
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I just saw this dvd/movie for the first time.
Wow, this was great. The suspense was classic and the comedy was damn funny. The whole story just about rocked my world. I haven't really explored the rest of the disc, but it does sound like a great package. Get this disc!
Old 06-16-00, 02:05 PM
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watched this disc last night & it was great!

i enjoyed it even more than the lady vanishes. it was very funny & had quite a bit of suspense. cant wait to go thru all the extras as well.

if you are a hitchcock fan, definitely check out this disc!

Old 06-16-00, 06:53 PM
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I really like the film, but don't have the disc. After reading all these comments, I might just pick it up...

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