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Which should I get - 39 Steps or Third Man (Criterions)

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Which should I get - 39 Steps or Third Man (Criterions)

Old 03-13-01, 06:07 PM
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I haven't seen either of these films yet so what is a better film/disc? Which one has more/better extras and what not...any help appreciated...i narrowed it down to these two after including life of brian and seven samurai as well. just in the mood for one of these right now...thanks for any advice....

[Edited by AmonTwin on 03-13-01 at 03:38 PM]
Old 03-13-01, 06:47 PM
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The Third Man, Criterion.

I only have The 39 Steps from Delta/Laserlight, so I cant compare if you were asking about the Criterion version but of the 2, The third Man would easily be my choice.
Old 03-13-01, 06:57 PM
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THE THIRD MAN! One of the greatest films of all time - #1 in the British Film Institute millenoium list, and deservedly so. The Criterion is stunning, with some fascinating extras. I have many dvd's, and if my collection disappeared overnight, this would be the first one I replaced.

THE 39 STEPS is a wonderful early Hitchcock. I haven't seen the Criterion, but I have the Laserlight/Delta DVD and it's very high quality - surprisingly so for a budget label.

Old 03-13-01, 06:57 PM
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I'd probably go with THE THIRD MAN, although you have picked 2 excellent films (and DVDs). If you put a gun to my head, I'd go with 3rd Man... but if I had room on a credit card, I'd take both.
Old 03-13-01, 06:59 PM
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You should get both.

However, the Third Man is a good one to start with and probably one of the best Criterion releases ever. Both the 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes are beautifully restored Hitchcock films and are highly recommened as well.
Old 03-13-01, 07:00 PM
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Originally posted by marty888
THE 39 STEPS is a wonderful early Hitchcock. I haven't seen the Criterion, but I have the Laserlight/Delta DVD and it's very high quality - surprisingly so for a budget label.
Agreed. The Delta version is very good. However...

The Criterion is significantly better. Not only is the picture/sound a big improvement, but it also includes a ton of extras (commentary, documentary about Hitch's British films, radio adaptation, other goodies).

It's definitely worth picking up the Criterion if you're a fan of this film.

I keep my DVDs in alphabetical order and THE THIRD MAN and THE 39 STEPS sit happily right next to each other all day long...
Old 03-13-01, 07:37 PM
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Originally posted by marty888
THE THIRD MAN! One of the greatest films of all time - #1 in the British Film Institute millenoium list, and deservedly so. The Criterion is stunning, with some fascinating extras. I have many dvd's, and if my collection disappeared overnight, this would be the first one I replaced.

THE 39 STEPS is a wonderful early Hitchcock. I haven't seen the Criterion, but I have the Laserlight/Delta DVD and it's very high quality - surprisingly so for a budget label.


I watched "The Third Man" last night and although it was a very good film, it's hard to believe that it's the best British film ever made.
Old 03-13-01, 08:08 PM
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Thanks for the help

Third Man it is then. Thanks a lot. I'm surprised nobody has recommended 39 Steps (yet). Thanks again...now I just need to find the best deal....
Old 03-13-01, 09:26 PM
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39 Steps would be my favorite.

I absolutely love that openning shot. The transfer here is marvelous, but I think the Third Man's transfer is clearer and crisper looking. The Ryko and Laselight versions of 39 Steps (a 1935 film) are not especially good -- but are available and extremely economical. The audio essay/commentary on here is actually rather good, but may be boring for someone who hasn't seen many Hitchcock movies. The documentary is good, but not great. It will, though, make the above essay more meaningful and most likely have you buying 1-2 of Hitch's british films. Some of which are overlooked gems.

The star of the Third Man Criterion is clearly the transfer. The transfer is marvelous and, once again this could be opinion, makes one of the biggest differences in film experience I've even had. This clear restoration made this a whole new movie to me. The downside is that the extras on this disc are less rewarding than those on 39 Steps, in my opinion. Too much audio, nothing as substantial to the core movie as the commentary provided with the other disc or even the documentary. In fact, this one has too many audio extras, I feel.

Consider renting these titles. I've seen them both for rent in my local store and at a local Blockbuster video. In fact, my library has two copies of both of these movies as well.

With supplies like this, and expensive MSRPs like Criterions... don't own, subsidize.

-Beebs
Old 03-15-01, 01:27 PM
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Re: Thanks for the help

Originally posted by AmonTwin
Third Man it is then. Thanks a lot. I'm surprised nobody has recommended 39 Steps (yet). Thanks again...now I just need to find the best deal....
Uh,oh...caught your thread too late. Having owned both Criterions & watched both, I would recommend 39 Steps. I still have the 39 Steps & loved it. I watched The Third Man, & after trying to keep myself awake throughout the entire flick, I have no problem saying that The 39 Steps is the far better movie. I quickly traded my copy of The Third Man & have watched The 39 Steps 3 times since I bought it.

The 39 Steps has good suspense & great humor. I couldn't believe how funny it was & how the humor still held up today. Both 39 & 3rd Man have a good bit of extras but who cares about extras when the movie bites?

If it is not too late, go with The 39 Steps.
Old 03-15-01, 05:22 PM
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Re: Re: Thanks for the help

Originally posted by brianluvdvd:
Uh,oh...caught your thread too late. Having owned both Criterions & watched both, I would recommend 39 Steps. I still have the 39 Steps & loved it. I watched The Third Man, & after trying to keep myself awake throughout the entire flick, I have no problem saying that The 39 Steps is the far better movie. I quickly traded my copy of The Third Man & have watched The 39 Steps 3 times since I bought it.

The 39 Steps has good suspense & great humor. I couldn't believe how funny it was & how the humor still held up today. Both 39 & 3rd Man have a good bit of extras but who cares about extras when the movie bites?

If it is not too late, go with The 39 Steps.
They are both great films in their own way. To value the The Third Man, one must needs an appreciation for the subtle ballet of human intereaction and character study, brilliantly choreographed; rather than requiring a copious degree of kinetic stimuli in order to sustain interest.
Old 03-16-01, 09:28 AM
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Re: Re: Re: Thanks for the help

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Sykes
They are both great films in their own way. To value the The Third Man, one must needs an appreciation for the subtle ballet of human intereaction and character study, brilliantly choreographed; rather than requiring a copious degree of kinetic stimuli in order to sustain interest.
So in layman's terms, to enjoy The Third Man, you need to like boring character interaction & a dull story-line; rather than needing an interesting story with humor & action. Me thinks me gets it.
Old 03-16-01, 07:45 PM
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Thanks for the help

Originally posted by brianluvdvd:So in layman's terms, to enjoy The Third Man, you need to like boring character interaction & a dull story-line; rather than needing an interesting story with humor & action. Me thinks me gets it.
Sorry for pontificating. I would be interested to know the why of your disdain for this movie--particularly in your implication that this movie lacked humor.
Old 03-17-01, 02:10 AM
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Mathematically, 39/3 = 13. So 39 Steps must be 13 times better than Third Man.
Old 03-18-01, 01:56 AM
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Originally posted by X
Mathematically, 39/3 = 13. So 39 Steps must be 13 times better than Third Man.
...and Godzilla 2000 is 51 times better than 39 Steps.

I just saw The Third Man tonight (the DVD's only been sitting on my shelf for, oh, 8 months...) My review: WOW, this is one hell of a movie.

Spiritually, this movie is the exact opposite of Armageddon. It's not flashy, it's not overproduced, and it doesn't have any adrenaline-pumping action scenes. It also lacks the lowest-common-denominator target audience, the stupid stereotypes (sorry, no wacky, delusional Russians), and the tiredness of the entirely predictable plot (I don't think I can even call Armageddon a "story"... it's more like a two-hour music video.)

What The Third Man does have is everything Armageddon didn't bother with - the things that make a story truly enjoyable. It's rich in detail, full of dry and subtle humor, and has an interesting plot that's fun to watch. Whereas Armageddon just feels... hollow and contrives, The Third Man is just deeply, deeply entertaining.

- David Stein
Old 03-18-01, 02:53 PM
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Out of curiosity is "the Third Man" also based on a John Buchan novel like "the 39 Steps" was? I've read a few of his other books and they're all pretty good.

Tuan Jim
Old 03-18-01, 04:01 PM
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Originally posted by Tuan Jim
Out of curiosity is "the Third Man" also based on a John Buchan novel like "the 39 Steps" was? I've read a few of his other books and they're all pretty good.

Tuan Jim
There is a Graham Greene novel The Third Man, but it was published the year after the film of his screenplay was made, 1949.

In the book, several changes are made, such as changing the American leads (played by Cotten and Welles in the film) into Brits. It's not vintage Greene, but still an interesting read.

(BTW, nice synopsis of the film's virtues, sfsdfd!)
Old 03-21-01, 01:47 PM
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I order the Third Man yesterday, however, I remember myself watching this film when I was 12 years old at New Years Eve, and I thought it sucked back then. I hope I have matured a lot in the last 16 years. Thank you guys for the reviews.

Best Regards,

DVD Smurf

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