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.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
The serial number of the autogyro has been reversed, showing that the stock shot has been reversed for effect. See more »
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 »
Nearly every era in Hitchcock's directing career has incredible strengths. When we view a later film like "North by Northwest" we are tempted to say that "The 39 Steps" is simply a training film for the bigger budget, star studded film that came later. This is not true. This movie stands on its own. With wonderful actors like Robert Donat and Madeline Carrol, we are led on an intense ride, culminating in a crowded theater. There are amazing shots of the characters weaving their way through crowds, close ups used strictly for the purpose of moving the plot. With Hitchcock there is no excess. He is a poet with a camera. As the tension mounts and Donat's character becomes swept away in its arms, we are taken with it. His wisecracking character is out of words and must act, just as Cary Grant did in the aforementioned film. There is something lurking and we have to find out who it is and why does he need to know what he knows? I've seen this many times and will see it again.
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