The 39 Steps ★★★★

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A well crafted spy-thriller with a very alluring romantic character pairing, filled with verbal sparring, tense looks, tender and charming embraces. The women Donat encounter are sympathetic and delicate in their female radiance. The film features picturesque shots and scenes of the Scottish landscape and the interiors of trains with man chasing make it into an exciting adventure movie. Madeleine Carroll was a perfect casting decision and she radiates simple glamor from the first moment on screen. This is a relatively early example of Hitchcock's confident understanding of visual storytelling. A lot of care is placed in the evocative and elaborate sets, from the Scottish cottage bedroom to the bridges and waterfalls in nightfall. A very elegant and seamless editing moment is the smooth transition from the inside of a car (sound stage) to the car driving through night on a country side road, disappearing into the distance. I very much liked Madeleine Carroll's assured elegant posture and restrained, but titillating appeal.

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