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The 39 Steps (1959)

Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 classic The 39 Steps is one of his best films of the 1930s. It's also been a highly influential one, influencing not only Hitchcock's later films, but also those of just about anyone else who has made a thriller in this vein since.

British film, theatre and television have found it almost impossible to leave the story alone, so enamoured are they with the Hitchcock film. There have been an additional two film versions, one in 1959 and one in 1978, a TV film in 2008, and a popular tongue-in-cheek stage version in the 2000s. Although The Thirty-Nine Steps was originally a popular novel by John Buchan, most of the subsequent versions have patterned themselves more on Hitchcock's film than on the original book.
The 1959 film stars Kenneth More as Richard Hannay, the lead role played in the Hitchcock film by Robert Donat. Hannay is out for a pleasant stroll in Regent's Park in London one day when he runs into a nanny pushing a pram, supposedly w…
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Funeral in Berlin (1966)

In this first sequel to The Ipcress File(1965), British spy Harry Palmer (Michael Caine) is sent to West Berlin, where British intelligence has word that a senior Russian officer, Colonel Stok (Oskar Homolka) wants to defect. Palmer arranges to meet Stok over the border in East Berlin, where the Russian tells him that he wants to be spirited to the West by the same organisation that has arranged a series of daring escapes from East Germany, and to be settled in a new life in Britain.

Palmer is suspicious of Stok's motives and sceptical of his claims that he wants to defect. However, Palmer's boss, Colonel Ross (Guy Doleman), orders him to arrange the defection. The plan sees Palmer reunited with an old friend, Johnny Vulkan (Paul Hubschmid), now working for the British in Berlin, and become involved with a beautiful female spy, Samantha Steel (Eva Renzi).

Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)

Some time after the events of The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), and the droids C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) assemble on Luke's home planet of Tatooine, where their old friend Han Solo (Harrison Ford) is being held captive. Solo is still encased in carbonite, and displayed in the palace of the massive slug-like crime boss Jabba the Hutt. Our heroes plan to infiltrate Jabba's palace in order to rescue him.

But the rescue mission is just the prelude to a far greater challenge. The Empire is building a new Death Star, protected by a force field generated from the forest moon of Endor. To enable the Rebels to mount a successful attack on the Death Star, a small commando team, including Luke, Han and Leia, is sent to Endor to deactivate the force field generator. Meanwhile, Luke intends to confront Darth Vader (Dave Prowse) with the hope of turning…

Movie Quiz: Actors in the Air Force

2018 marks not only the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, but also the centenary of the Royal Air Force. And that's the best excuse I can come up with for this delightfully nerdy film quiz.

This quiz features 10 films where an actor is playing a character in the air force. All you have to do is name the actor and the film. There's one point for each actor and one point for each film, for a grand total of 20 points.

The answers are at the bottom of the page.

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

This first sequel to Star Wars (“A New Hope” to you kids), begins with the Empire scouring the galaxy for the rebels' secret base. After their success in destroying the Death Star at the end of the first film, the rebel forces are now in hiding on a desolate snowbound planet in the Hoth system.

When the Empire discovers their hideout, it launches an attack on the rebel base and our heroes are forced to scatter. Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), the Wookie Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and droid C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) escape in Solo's ship the Millennium Falcon, eventually flying directly into an asteroid field to evade the pursuing Imperial ships. Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and his diminutive droid R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) head to the swamps of Dagobah, where a vision of Luke's mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) has told him he will be trained by the mysterious Jedi master, Yoda.

Eventually, Solo, Leia, Chewbacca and C-3PO manage to outwit th…

They Shall Not Grow Old (2018)

Produced to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, They Shall Not Grow Old is a collaboration between Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson and Britain's Imperial War Museum.

Commissioned by the museum and by WWI commemoration project 14-18 Now, Jackson was given access to the Imperial War Museum's archive of WWI footage, which he used to build a picture of the experiences of ordinary soldiers on the Western Front from 1914 to 1918. The documentary images are combined with sound clips from interviews with 120 First World War veterans, many of them conducted in the 1960s for the BBC documentary series The Great War (1964).

His Girl Friday (1940)

Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell) was the star reporter on The Morning Post, the newspaper edited by her former husband, Walter Burns (Cary Grant). Burns and Hildy are now divorced and Hildy is marrying again, and this time she's giving up her career as a reporter as well. Hildy intends to settle down to a life of domesticity with Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy), a solid, dependable type, who works in insurance and lives with his mother in Albany in upstate New York.

But the scheming Walter Burns doesn't want to lose his best reporter and he isn't going to let a little thing like Hildy's divorce, remarriage and retirement from the newspaper game get in his way. The city's newspapers are covering a big story, a mixed up guy, Earl Williams (John Qualen), who lost his job, lost his mind (maybe) and killed a cop. To get Hildy back on the team, Burns emotionally blackmails her into covering the story and writing a sympathetic interview that could help Williams get committ…