39 Steps 1978 David Warner movie

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I recently watched on video a film I had seen many times as a child and was
instrumental in nurturing my interest in Edwardiana. It was the 1978 version
of the 39 Steps starring Robert Powell and David Warner (Lovejoy, the
baddie's sidekick, in the Titanic movie. He's playing the baddie in this
movie too) http://uk.imdb.com/Title?0078389

Have any of you seen this movie? Having seen it again aged 24, having first
seen it when I was about 5 and last when I was 12 or 13, I must say I was a
bit disappointed in it. It didn't achieve the feeling of 'time travel' I
think it helped nurture in me. It made me think more the late 1970s than
1914. Some of the actor's had 70s haircuts and sideburns. Overall, it was
not a very impressive movie.

The Titanic movie made me think more of Los Angeles in 1996 than Britain or
America in 1912. There are several scenes where Kate Winslet is not wearing
a hat, even when all the other female characters are. Correct me if I'm
wrong, but not wearing a hat in 1912 would have been like going out into the
street in only your underwear. The script and the story are absolutely
terrible. Having said that, seeing such a close approximation of what the
Titanic would have looked like, achieves a great deal and means that I have
watched the Titanic movie upwards of 20 times now.

Does this provoke any thoughts in anyone? I wonder why it is on this board that there are many more posts about movies than books when there are many many times more books about the Titanic available than there are movies? 'Are we a society that is intellectually lazy', my college professor would ask?

Jul 9, 2000
Easley South Carolina
Shelley and Randy would know more about 1912 fashion protocols then I ever would. As to movies, I rarely watch them these days. They can be a lot of fun...and I enjoyed both Cameron's work and ANTR...but it's books that I take to for hard information.

Are we a society that is intellectually lazy???

Well, what I see that passes for education nowadays does not exactly inspire confidence, and the sheer idiocy I see in some forums I haunt on Delphi absolutely frightens me. Your professor may be right!

Michael H. Standart

Kris Muhvic

Jul 3, 2001
Have not seen the film you speak of, Stuart, "39 Steps", It actually sounds like a '30's Hitchcock flick, I don't know for sure(?), nor of any possible remakes.
To speak of myself, more of a 'visual" person...I like films, documentaries, etc. Yes, to get to the meat of, well, anything, you will have to go to the written. I remember as a teen, haunting the N.Y.Times- on Microfilm! (does that exist anymore?!). That told me much more than any movie of the week.
If you want historical accuracy in films, check out any Merchant-Ivory offerings...some of the best!
About "hats"- I believe in the "Gilded Age" (fashion) archived threads you'll find answers- what troubled me most in Mr. C's movie was the abscence of Rose's hat....at Sunday's Service! No female, of any class, would make their peace with any god with an uncovered head!

Mar 20, 2000

Yes, any lady or gentleman in times pre-1960 (which seems about the cut-off point for those words meaning very much)would absolutely have worn a hat in the street. There are always exceptions, class usually being the dividing line, but for the most part it was considered appropriate, not merely fashionable. In this day and age of casual dress and casual manners in every situation and strata, the notion of a mandate for wearing hats seems a ridiculous notion.But it was once part of the make-up of society.

Clothes I think have a lot to do with how one behaves. In bermuda shorts and sneakers, a man is usually not on his meddle in the good manners category but put even the most rakish sort into a suit or dinner jacket and he almost instinctively assumes the posture, if not the heart, of a right and true "gent." The same of course applies many times over for a woman.

The Cameron film was full of liberties taken and outright mistakes made - and not just in the area of costume - but on the whole the picture's costuming "works" even when it strays from the letter of the truth, as in Rose being without a hat in nearly every scene, which was indeed not an accurate reflection of the custom of the day.

In those days, for all but evening dress occasions, ladies of all ages wore hats, even for sports, including swimming, though this protocol could always be relaxed in the event of a shipwreck in the middle of the night, which may or may not involve the latter activity!


Pat Cook

Apr 26, 2000
For what it's worth, "The 39 Steps" has been made at least 3 times (as far as I know) - the aforementioned version by Stuart (the most recent), the original Hitchcock and another version, made in the early '60's, if I remember correctly, starring (does this name ring a bell?) Kenneth More. Costarring Taina Elg (who, by the way, played Ida Straus in a recent tour of "Titanic", the musical) it marked only my second time in memory of seeing Kenneth More (I was 13) in a movie - the first one I saw which starred More was "The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw", a western in which he starred with Jayne Mansfield - this was the movie Sir Kenneth made right after ANTR.

Best regards,

Pat Winship

May 14, 1999
Dear Kris

Yes, the New York Times on microfilm most definitely does exist. It's a standard resource, held by many, many libraries all over the country-- its great value being that it is fully indexed, from its beginning in 1851 right to the present day. The full NYT index is not yet on computer-- I wish it was. It can be purchased from University Microfilms in Ann Arbor, if you really want to know.

Pat Winship

Kris Muhvic

Jul 3, 2001
Good Evening!
Thank you, Pat Winship (you have a wonderful name, BTW!) in making me realise that a fond memory is still in activity! Hardly ever the time for any library any more, this makes me want to rearrange my schedule!
Pat Cook- I was sure it was a Hitchcock film! Never saw it however, I think I need to now...
I absolutley agree with Randy when it comes to the "formal vs. informal" theory. My own great-grandfathers would always still wear their hats (Fedoras, or something like them) out of doors...and this was the early 80's! Even though they were immigrant stock, they still had a "Gent" quality about them.
For myself, I don't wear a suit and tie at work/everyday- however, when I do, I feel much more... proper!


Robbie Tresham

The first 39 Steps movie made by Hitchcock, starred Robert Donat as Hannay. The second movie with Kenneth More was a complete joke, he was riding around Scotland on an Italian scooter no less.

James Hill

Feb 20, 2002
I`ve seen the `78 version of the 39 steps its actually one of my favourite films much better and accurate than the 35 or59 version.In Britain HMV has all versions of the film on DVD just if anyones interested.
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