When the voters in a British Film Institute survey named The 39 Steps the fourth-greatest British film of all time, they surely considered its stylistic importance (it cemented Alfred Hitchcock’s man-on-the-run formula) and its timeliness (foreign spies scoping out Britain’s air defenses), but neglected to consider that the film is actually pretty awful. Robert Donat’s performance is both speedy and dull, like a mumbling Thin Man. The editing seems designed to murder suspense. I could go on. The 39 Steps is worth seeing, I suppose, as a cinematic icon, but make sure you’ve had enough to drink to find the abysmal accents amusing. Laurelhurst.
- Best paired with: Mt. Hood Hogsback Oatmeal Stout.
- Also showing: Remember Me (Edgefield).