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Wednesday, 17 March 2010

The '39 Oscars


Tonight, tiring of modern television, I re-watched Hitchcock's The 39 Steps. I expect you've seen it many times as well.

It surprises me how a film made in 1935 stands up so well. That's a whole 75 years ago, friends and neighbours. Not that corny, and not so, well, 'old fashioned'. Though clearly of it's time, the scenes of the train, the Forth Bridge, the streets, a young but somehow no different John Laurie never fail to delight me. Perhaps I make allowances for it.

Along with Hitchcock, Robert Donat in the lead role - born today in 1905 - really deserves the plaudits for this film version of John Buchan's story. I know Donat was considered to be a fine actor in his time, in fact quite a favourite for his portrayal of 'well bred but not aloof' characters. At least that's what my father tells me.

On looking Mr Donat up, we see that he won the Oscar for Best Actor in 1939 (for Goodbye Mr Chips). An Academy Award's not so bad for a lad from Great Britain in any year.

Even better when you consider that in 1939 he beat the following nominees to the big prize: Clark Gable (for Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind); Micky Rooney (for Micky Moran in Babes in Arms); James Stewart (for Jefferson Smith in Mr Smith Goes to Washington); Laurence Olivier (for Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights).

Insert:Pipe:Ignite

Happy Birthday, Robert Donat

5 comments:

Clair said...

Love that film. Grown up, involving and funny. More please, British cinema!

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