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The 39 Steps Blu-ray

United Kingdom
ITV DVD | 1935 | 86 min | Rated BBFC: U | Oct 19, 2009

The 39 Steps (Blu-ray)
Large:


Video
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.34:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.37:1

Audio
English: Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles
English

Discs
25GB Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD)

Playback
Region B (locked)

Price
List price: £19.99, Price history

Amazon: £5.50 (Save 72%)
New from: £5.50 (Save 72%)
Usually dispatched within 24 hours, FREE shipping in the UK

Buy The 39 Steps on Blu-ray Movie

Movie rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
7.9
200
ratings.


Blu-ray rating
Video 1.5 of 51.5
Audio 2.5 of 52.5
Extras 3.5 of 53.5
Be the first to review it!

Movie appeal 
Mystery100%
Thriller-
43%
popularity
121
collections
48
fans




The 39 Steps

 (1935)

The 39 Steps Blu-ray features bad video and mediocre audio in this poor Blu-ray release

Richard Hanney has a rude awakening when a glamorous female spy falls into his bed -- with a knife in her back. Having a bit of trouble explaining it all to Scotland Yard, he heads for the hills of Scotland to try to clear his name by locating the spy ring known as "The 39 Steps."

For more about The 39 Steps and the The 39 Steps Blu-ray release, see the The 39 Steps Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 2.0 out of 5.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writers: Charles Bennett, John Buchan (I), Ian Hay
Starring: Madeleine Carroll, Robert Donat, Lucie Mannheim, Godfrey Tearle, Peggy Ashcroft, John Laurie (I)

» See full cast & crew


The 39 Steps Blu-ray, Video Quality

  1.5 of 5

Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.37:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors ITV-Granada.

I do not quite know what to make of this Blu-ray release. I did some extensive comparisons during the last 48 hours with the Criterion R1 SDVD and at this point must conclude that a) either I received a defective screener of some sort or b) something went terribly wrong at ITV-Granada. As a result, what ended up on this disc is very much comparable to an upconverted standard-definition transfer.

I am a firm believer that screenshots don't ever accurately reveal how good, or bad, a high-definition transfer is, but this time around, I think that even the most inexperienced amongst you would be able to tell that something is off with the Blu-ray release of The 39 Steps.

Contrast is very problematic. Obviously, a lot of the issues can probably be traced back to the original film elements, but I also believe that the producers of this disc could have addressed at least some of them. Clarity and detail are also problematic. In fact, so much that I feel very comfortable stating that during a number of scenes the Criterion SDVD release actually looks a lot stronger.

Damage – large debris, scratches and stains – is everywhere. At least a partial clean-up of the transfer should have been performed, but, regrettably, I don't think that such procedure was even considered. The color-scheme is also fairly weak; the blacks, in particular, look pale and very unhealthy.

To sum it all up, I certainly expected The 39 Steps to have a completely different look. Every single ITV-Granada Blu-ray release that has come my way has been a strong upgrade over the existing SDVD release of the same film (probably with the exception of The Thunderbirds, due to the aspect ratio fiasco) and I most definitely had a lot of faith that the first Hitchcock film to get a high-definition treatment in the United Kingdom would look beautiful. I am heartbroken!


The 39 Steps Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  2.5 of 5

There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono. For the record, ITV-Granada have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature.

The audio treatment is also underwhelming. I am unsure why an uncompressed track isn't offered with this release, but if I had to speculate, I would say that it is precisely because what we have here is an upconverted standard-definition transfer.

Generally speaking, the dialog is fairly easy to follow. There is some background noise and hiss, but, overall you should not have trouble understanding what is being said. Still, anyone expecting the type of depth and clarity heard on Criterion's Blu-ray release of The Third Man, for example, would be gravely disappointed.



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