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The 39 Steps (1935)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 33,423 users  
Reviews: 195 user | 114 critic

A man in London tries to help a counterespionage agent. But when the agent is killed and the man stands accused, he must go on the run to both save himself and also stop a spy ring which is trying to steal top secret information.

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(adapted from the novel by), (adaptation), 1 more credit »
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Title: The 39 Steps (1935)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Madeleine Carroll ...
Lucie Mannheim ...
Godfrey Tearle ...
...
...
Helen Haye ...
Mrs. Jordan
Frank Cellier ...
The Sheriff
Wylie Watson ...
Gus McNaughton ...
Commercial Traveller (as Gus Mac Naughton)
Jerry Verno ...
Commercial Traveller
Peggy Simpson ...
Maid
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Storyline

Richard Hannay is a Canadian visitor to London. At the end of "Mr Memory"'s show in a music hall, he meets Annabella Smith who is running away from secret agents. He accepts to hide her in his flat, but in the night she is murdered. Fearing he could be accused on the girl's murder, Hannay goes on the run to break the spy ring. Written by Claudio Sandrini <pulp99@geocities.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

on the run | spy | police | memory | canadian | See more »

Taglines:

Fated to be Mated with the One Man She Hated See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 August 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The 39 Steps  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(British Acoustic Film Full Range Recording System: at Shepherd's Bush London)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Before filming the scene where Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll run through the countryside, Alfred Hitchcock handcuffed them together and pretended for several hours to have lost the key in order to put them in the right frame of mind for such a situation. See more »

Goofs

The date in the Church Hymnary that stopped the bullet is signed by Margaret in 1928, but is dated 1932. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Music hall announcer: Ladies and Gentleman, with your kind attention, and permission, I have the honor of presenting to you one of the most remarkable men in the world.
Heckler in Audience: How remarkable? He's sweating!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Prize (1963) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Is a Song
(uncredited)
Written by Ray Noble and Max Kester
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
One of the finest films ever released.
18 June 2003 | by (Todmorden, England) – See all my reviews

The Thirty Nine Steps is extraordinary in every conceivabe way. Anyone who doesn't mind slightly old, black-and-white movies will be enraptured by this Hitchcock classic, which was one of the first films to present sophisticated and witty banter between two ill-matched characters. What makes it even more extraordinary is that it virtually totally alters the source material (John Buchan's novel), yet still comes across as a work of ingenuity.

The story concerns Richard Hannay (Robert Donat) a handsome young man who owns a London flat. A mysterious woman comes to him for help, claiming that she is being hunted by some spies. Hannay helps her, but when she is murdered in his home it look like he is to blame, and he has to go on the run from the police (who obviously want him for the "crime") and the spies (who want him to find out how much he actually knows). En route, he has many adventures as he flees across the South Scotland landscapes, including being handcuffed to a woman (Madeline Carroll) who happens to think he is guilty of the murder.

This is splendid from the word "go". It has enough memorable set pieces for a dozen films, its pace is invigorating, the plot is constantly turning up new surprises, and the performances are just about perfect. Hitchcock spent his career narrating tale of innocent men on the run (indeed, many consider it to be his "favourite" theme) and this is one of the very finest examples of that. Anyone interested in Hitchcock or cinema of the '30s simply must, must, must see this film.


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