Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Short Jane Austen Actor Love: The 39 Steps

Okay, so my AP students from  last year could (sadly) tell you that I have a bit of a crush on Captain Wentworth from Jane Austen's Persuasion.  This certifiable crush was sealed when I saw the newest film version with Rupert *sigh* Penry-Jones.  Yep.  He made my single girl heart go pitter pat.  I'm not much for the blondies, but I definitely made an exception from him.

Thanks to my Mr. Penry-Jones, I set aside my issues with mysteries to record an episode of Masterpiece Theater on PBS, The 39 Steps.  I hadn't watched it yet, so I settled down this evening to give it a go.  What a treat!!!  The premise of the story is that Jones's character, circa 1918, is given a booklet that contains coded messages from a German spy that will leave the British navy vulnerable to their enemies.  Said man who gave him the booklet is murdered in a hotel in front of him, and then he is blamed for the murder and must go on the run to Scotland.  His goal is then to try to get himself out of the murder accusation, and to uncover the German spy ring threatening home and country.

I have to say that this was a great spy thriller, and one that I could easily recommend to just about anyone.  Not only did it have one of my favorite leading men in it, but it had action, espionage, and even a romance.  Even the romance though was different than I might have expected.  The female lead was strong-willed and didn't need to be saved at every turn of the story, and Penry-Jones's lead wasn't as self-assured as a James Bond character might be, but was confused by his role in the espionage.  His fears and anxiety over what was happening to himself and could happen to his country had me eager to keep watching.  Regardless of any fear Penry-Jones might have displayed through his character, he was still quite the swash-buckling, handsome lead!  Also, he somehow managed to be more than a gentleman throughout all the action, which made him even  more charming.

Based on the novel The 39 Steps by John Buchan, I can absolutely say that the film version of this novel is a must see!  I'm not certain if it will be appearing again on Masterpiece Theater again, but it is well worth an effort to track down if you like spy thrillers or are even a fan of Rupert Penry-Jones.  In just under an hour and a half, this is a really great movie to watch!


  1. Who could help having a crush on a fictional character that writes such love letters? And I agree, the actor that plays him in the new version is very good!

  2. I wish I had known about this. I would have loved to have seen it or DVRed it. The only 39 Steps I know is Hitchcock's version (and the Broadway one) which I've been dying to see. You have me curious with this version. :D

    PS: I'm not much for blondes either, but he is a handsome one.

  3. I am going to have to give that version of Persuasion a try!

  4. I watched this when it first aired and it really was pretty good! Ridiculous, of course, but enjoyably so. I had to laugh when the German sub appeared off the coast of Scotland.

    Coincidentally, I started reading this book on my iPod this afternoon while we were driving back from Tulsa. It's totally confusing!

  5. Iris--Oh, I know! :) Penry-Jones is great.

    MillyMarie--It's coming back on again, so I'll have to post a reminder! I'm eager to pass the good news along. :)

    Buckeye--Oh man. It is the best! I love this one so much.

    Heidenkind--Yea, it is pretty funny. I think I was just too enamored with the lead to care about what matched or made sense or not. LOL.