IMDb > The 39 Steps (1935)
The 39 Steps
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The 39 Steps (1935) More at IMDbPro »

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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   34,654 votes »
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Up 9% 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:
2 wins 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:
Great Combo of Suspense and Humor See more (199 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)

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

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:
The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film.See more »
Goofs:
Anachronisms: 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 »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Tinkle, Tinkle, TinkleSee more »

FAQ

If they were trying to frame him, why then were they trying to kill him afterwards?
What did the girl with the irritating voice ask Mr Memory?
Is this film really in the public domain?
See more »
77 out of 88 people found the following review useful.
Great Combo of Suspense and Humor, 6 February 2005
Author: aimless-46 from Kentucky

Most people associate Hitchcock with suspense but he was also a master of dark comedy. "The 39 Steps" illustrates his ability to blend the two genres into a movie that works well on both levels. If he had turned up the comedy a tiny bit it would be just as hilarious as the best 1930's screwball comedies like "Bringing Up Baby" and "The Awful Truth". Imagine Katherine Hepburn handcuffed to Robert Donat as they wander the Scottish moors. But the chemistry between Madeleine Carroll and Donat is too good to replace her.

Hitchcock cast a great ensemble for "The 39 Steps". Lucie Mannheim, Godfrey Teale and John Laurie are outstanding. The supporting cast are all excellent. Yet in the midst of all this it is Peggy Ashcroft who absolutely shines.

Donat's misadventures while "on-the-run" from the law are the original "series of unfortunate events". It seems that he just can't go anywhere without being identified and chased. Hitchcock's technique is to lull you into thinking it will be an ordinary scene and then to casually throw something menacing into the scene, so the viewer can never relax. These are like getting a slap in the face before you have a chance to set yourself up for the blow. By comparison with the sinister delicacy and urbane understatement of "The Thirty-nine Steps," modern melodramas are obvious and crude.

There are many cool things to watch for:

CAMEO-As Donat and Mannheim board a bus early in the film, director Hitchcock makes his customary cameo appearance as a passer-by who tosses litter onto the sidewalk.

MATCH CUT-One of the most revolutionary edits in cinema history is in here; after the maid finds Lucie's body her scream dissolves into the hissing of a train whistle.

MISE EN SCENE-If you ever wandered what this was ("putting-in-the-scene" is a single shot sequence without cuts to another camera or transition to another scene), Hitchcock's closing shot is probably the all-time best example. As Donat, Carroll, and the police gather backstage around the dying Mr. Memory, on-stage behind them (visible from the wings) and performing for the Palladium audience is a chorus-line of girls high-kicking to the tune of Tinkle, Tinkle, Tinkle from the film Evergreen (1934). After Mr. Memory confirms the espionage plot, the camera angle changes slightly and Donat and Carroll fill the frame facing away from the camera. Donat still has the handcuffs dangling from his wrist. They spontaneously join hands - this time of their own free will.. The film fades to black.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (199 total) »

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