The 39 Steps 1959 – with Kenneth More and Taina Elg

This was shown in England over this last weekend -May 2023 – and I watched it again and enjoyed it all over again.

I loved the authentic Scottish Highlands settings and the striking colour of the era. which somehow added a touch of nostalgia to the whole thing

This versions of ‘The 39 Steps’ is directed by Ralph Thomas from the novel by John Buchan. It stars Kenneth More, Taina Elg, Brenda De Banzie, Barry Jones, Reginald Beckwith and Faith Brook and Andrew Cruikshank – just before his wonderful role as Dr Cameron in ‘Dr Finlay’s Casebook’ one of my most favourite Television series.

This version is a fun packed mystery with Kenneth More in fine form although really just playing Kenneth More – but at least we know what we are getting with his effervescent charm.

It is a terrific Story, where Richard Hannay ( Kenneth More) finds himself up to his neck in espionage after a mysterious lady is stabbed to death in his flat. Needlrdd to say, he is the prime suspect so is pursued by the police and also the ring of spies stealing this coutry’s military scerets. Trying to piece things together and make head or tail of it puts him in grave danger and takes him North to Scotland, where he hopes he can clear himself of being the the suspected murderer – and find out exactly what are – The 39 Steps.

The Scottish locations provided a wonderful backdrop to this compelling drama drama.

The Thirty Nine Steps 1959

The Thirty Nine Steps 1959

There is one thrill after another in the film – one of my favourites in terms of sheer excitement is the sequence on the Forth Bridge which on the big Cinema Wide Screen was so impressive

However on the pursuit all over The Trossachs in the Scottish Highlands, it is just one thrill after another as we speed through those stunning locations – all beautifully filmed

There is no doubt that Kenneth More was at his peak at this time – we had ‘North West Frontier’ the same year 1959 and before that ‘The Admirable Crichton’ and quite a few before and after that.

Like everyone though this ‘time in the sun’ does not last forever and he added to his downfall when making a speech at the Dorchester to an audience of film executives and staff, drink took a hand and he proceeded to insult and make a fool of the top man at The Rank Organisation; namely John Davis.

Kenneth was due to appear in The Guns of Navarone’ shortly after this event and when he had sat down from making the speech, a colleague asked him what his next job was and he named this film – This was in earshot of John Davis who leaned across and said ‘Oh No you’re not’

Next day Kenneth went into John Davis’ office and apologised and almost grovelled but he was told that the decision was final – which prompted him to let rip all over again at the top executive.

Ridiculous of him because John Davis had been a supporter for a few years and had handed Kenneth these wonderful parts up until then

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