IMDb > The 39 Steps (1935)
The 39 Steps
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

The 39 Steps (1935) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 33 | slideshow) Videos (see all 4)
The 39 Steps -- A man in London tries to help a counterespionage agent. But when the agent is killed and he stands accused, he must go on the run to both save himself and also stop a spy ring trying to steal top secret information.
The 39 Steps -- Three Reasons Criterion trailer

Overview

User Rating:
7.9/10   34,390 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Up 6% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
John Buchan (adapted from the novel by)
Charles Bennett (adaptation)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The 39 Steps on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1 August 1935 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
It's Great...It's Grand...It's Glorious! See more »
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
1 win See more »
NewsDesk:
(12 articles)
The inventor of modern horror
 (From The Guardian - Film News. 16 June 2012, 7:15 AM, PDT)

The Forgotten: Black Shirts, Red Faces
 (From MUBI. 25 April 2012, 12:34 PM, PDT)

Don Sharp obituary
 (From The Guardian - Film News. 22 December 2011, 2:31 AM, PST)

User Reviews:
The film which launched Alfred Hitchcock's career See more (198 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Robert Donat ... Hannay

Madeleine Carroll ... Pamela
Lucie Mannheim ... Miss Smith
Godfrey Tearle ... Professor Jordan

Peggy Ashcroft ... Crofter's Wife

John Laurie ... Crofter
Helen Haye ... Mrs. Jordan
Frank Cellier ... The Sheriff

Wylie Watson ... Memory
Gus McNaughton ... Commercial Traveller (as Gus Mac Naughton)
Jerry Verno ... Commercial Traveller
Peggy Simpson ... Maid
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ivor Barnard ... Political Meeting Chairman (uncredited)
Charles Bennett ... Second Passerby Near the Bus (uncredited)
Noel Birkin ... Undetermined Role (uncredited)
Ex-Det. Sergt. Bishop ... Police Sergeant (uncredited)
Matthew Boulton ... Fake Police Officer (uncredited)
Edgar K. Bruce ... Undetermined Role (uncredited)
Kate Cutler ... Undetermined Role (uncredited)
Philip Desborough ... Undetermined Role (uncredited)
Pat Hagate ... M.C. Who Introduces Mr Memory (uncredited)

Alfred Hitchcock ... Passerby Near the Bus (uncredited)
Carleton Hobbs ... Fake Policeman #2 (uncredited)
Vida Hope ... Usherette (uncredited)
Robert Horton ... Undetermined Role (uncredited)
Elizabeth Inglis ... Professor Jordan's Daughter (uncredited)
James Knight ... Detective at London Palladium (uncredited)
Hubert Leslie ... Undetermined Role (uncredited)
Miles Malleson ... Palladium Manager (uncredited)
Quentin McPhearson ... Clergyman on the Flying Scotsman (uncredited)
Phyllis Morris ... Undetermined Role (uncredited)
Frederick Piper ... The Milkman (uncredited)
Hilda Trevelyan ... Innkeeper's Wife (uncredited)
John Turnbull ... Scottish Police Inspector (uncredited)
S.J. Warmington ... Scotland Yard Man (uncredited)
Create a character page for: ?

Directed by
Alfred Hitchcock 
 
Writing credits
John Buchan (adapted from the novel by)

Charles Bennett (adaptation)

Ian Hay (dialogue)

Produced by
Michael Balcon .... producer (uncredited)
Ivor Montagu .... associate producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Jack Beaver (uncredited)
Louis Levy (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Bernard Knowles (photography)
 
Film Editing by
Derek N. Twist  (as D.N. Twist)
 
Art Direction by
Oscar Friedrich Werndorff  (as O. Werndorff)
Albert Jullion (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Pen Tennyson .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Albert Whitlock .... scenic artist (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
A. Birch .... recordist
 
Special Effects by
Philippo Guidobaldi .... miniature builder (uncredited)
Jack Whitehead .... special effects (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Reg Johnson .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Peter Sargent .... clapper-boy (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Marianne .... wardrobe
Joe Strassner .... dress designer (as J. Strassner)
 
Music Department
Louis Levy .... musical director
Louis Levy .... conductor (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Alma Reville .... continuity
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributors
Create a character page for: ?

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
86 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (British Acoustic Film Full Range Recording System: at Shepherd's Bush London)
Certification:
Argentina:Atp (DVD rating) | Argentina:13 (original rating) | Australia:G (DVD rating) | Australia:PG (original rating) | Finland:K-8 (1987) | Finland:K-16 (1936) | France:U | Netherlands:9 (2009 re-release) | Netherlands:14 (original rating) (1935) | Norway:16 | Portugal:M/12 | South Korea:12 (2002) | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:U (tv rating) | UK:U (re-release) (re-rating) (2008) | UK:U (video rating) (1986) (1998) (2002) (2004) (2005) | USA:Unrated | USA:TV-G (TV rating)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Director Cameo: [Alfred Hitchcock]about seven minutes in, tossing some litter as Richard and Annabella run from the music hall.See more »
Goofs:
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): When Professor Jordan suggests Richard Hannay commit suicide, he says "What if I leave you alone with this revolver?" when he is clearly brandishing a small-caliber semi-auto pistol.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 »
Soundtrack:
Tinkle, Tinkle, TinkleSee more »

FAQ

What did the girl with the irritating voice ask Mr Memory?
If they were trying to frame him, why then were they trying to kill him afterwards?
How does the movie end?
See more »
63 out of 79 people found the following review useful.
The film which launched Alfred Hitchcock's career, 21 November 2004
Author: L. Denis Brown (ldbrown1@shaw.ca) from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

Film history was made in 1935 when Alfred Hitchcock, who was at the time an active but little known and somewhat run of the mill film director, received a contract to create a low budget potboiler type spy thriller, and used the opportunity to provide his studio with a masterpiece which has never been forgotten. In addition he established his reputation as the master of suspense, something which remained unchallenged throughout the remainder of his career. In style this film is quintessimal Hitchcock, and those who know his films can pick out sequences in any of his later ones which were based on, or inspired by, his work in this early thriller. Similarly, sequences from this film have also been imitated by many other directors - for example Richard Pearce, in the thriller "No Mercy" (1986), included sequences that imitated a famous sequence in Hitchcock's film where Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll were handcuffed together and on the run , by showing Richard Gere and Kim Basinger fleeing pursuers whilst handcuffed together. Because of this "The 39 Steps" has become a "must see" classic that most movie buffs still regard as an essential element in their personal film collection.

There are two criticisms commonly made of this film. The first is that there are logical imperfections in the story. This is true of almost all Hitchcock films (as well as those of most other directors). The point is that Hitchcock had an unsurpassed ability to maintain a flow in the unfolding of his story on the screen which totally distracts his audience from the type of mental agility required to even be aware of them. Only when dissecting the story on a sequence by sequence basis will such imperfections become significant. The second criticism is that this film, whilst based on John Buchan's novel of the same name, departs very considerably from the story in the book. I am not a purist about this, books and films are totally different media and must be judged independently. In some cases it must be recognised that a book is structured so that it is almost impossible for a film to remain true to the original book. What I do believe is important is that the film-goer should be entitled to know how true a film is to a previously read and perhaps long loved book. If a film is described as "the film of the best selling novel........", then it should be as accurate a dramatic presentation of the story in the book as possible. (Where the original is a play, not a book, the dramatic medium is already much closer to the movie form, and I believe such a description should only be used when most of the original dialogue from the play is accurately reproduced in the movie.) By contrast, if a film is described as "based on............" then the filmmaker should have considerably more freedom; and if the phrase used is "inspired by........" then a largely independent dramatic presentation should be expected. In the case of "The 39 Steps, Hichcock's film comes into the latter category, but a later (and in my opinion generally inferior) 1978 film of the same name can legitimately claim to be much more closely based on the book. In this instance I personally do not regard the original book as sufficiently important to be sacrosanct, but those who differ from me about this may feel they have an adequate reason for preferring the 1978 film.

Today "The 39 Steps" is seldom shown in movie theaters and, when a home video rather than the actual film is under consideration, attention needs to be given to the medium and technology with which it has been reproduced. The catch phrase "digitally remastered" is often used to reassure a purchaser that he is buying the best possible product, but this may be totally irrelevant. The nuances of shade in a good black and white photograph can often be artistically more significant than those of colour in a colour print, and the same is true for many early movies. But home video versions of black and white films are usually disappointing as these nuances are seldom reproduced accurately, if at all. It is regrettable that, largely because of this, many young people today have no appreciation of the artistic appeal a really good black and white movie film can have. Home video versions of "The 39 Steps" as both DVD's and videotapes have been released by a number of different distributors and these vary in quality enormously. In general DVD's are capable of better rendering of these subtle shade differences than videotapes, but either can be satisfactory. The first requirement is that the distributor has used a high quality master for the material copied, not an old tape that has already been played numerous times. The next is that proper equipment designed for copying from black and white masters is used. Too often copies of old black and white films are made with equipment that is designed only for copying colour films. In such cases the nuances of the multitude of grey shades present in the master are likely to be totally lost. Many of the copies of Hitchcock's film still being sold are particularly bad in this respect, with highlight areas that are totally burnt out instead of containing a mass of detail. The best advice is to consult a website such as that of Amazon.com, where the various versions available are listed and priced, with user comments that indicate how satisfactory the final product has been found by the purchaser concerned. My advice is DO NOT LET YOURSELF BE HAD - THIS WILL ONLY ENCOURAGE THE MARKETING OF SUB-STANDARD MATERIAL.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (198 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The 39 Steps (1935)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
POLL FOR THE GREATEST FILM EVER matini_martini_5
Old enough to Apprecitate but too old to Enjoy Falzone_Salv
Wrong London terminus jcurrie58-1
Alfred MsMelodyMitchells
Why does the DVD looks rubbish, but the TV broadcast looks fine? clivey6
Who spotted the Dad's Army connection? danastarbuck
See more »

Recommendations

If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
The Fugitive The Spider Returns Three Days of the Condor Saboteur The Mysterious Pilot
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Comedy section IMDb UK section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.