When I travel, I always carry DVDs with me to maintain my affection for the human race, despite missed trains, dodgy hotels and fumbled logistics. The 1935 version of The 39 Steps – the original and the best – is always among them.
The plot is, of course, exultantly unlikely. John Buchan's book makes a kind of sense, full of manly vigour, dastardly foreign threat and the ultimate triumph of British pluck. Long-time Hitch collaborator Charles Bennett adapted Buchan with the ideal level of disrespect and produced a joyful confection of subversive humour, intelligent twists and wild sexual tension. The movie has all the elements I love in film – it likes people, doesn't stand on its dignity and knows that if your characters are right you can get away with anything.