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   35,256 votes »
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Down 12% 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:

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:
Director Trademark: [Alfred Hitchcock] [stairs]Pamela listening to a conversation from the top of a staircase.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: In the Music Hall scene, Donat's stand-in is clearly sitting in his place in the audience on at least two occasions.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:
Love Is a SongSee more »

FAQ

Is this film really in the public domain?
What is the secret formula being smuggled out of England?
How closely does the movie follow the book?
See more »
14 out of 17 people found the following review useful.
Superb, 2 September 2006
Author: flicker1966 from United Kingdom

This is proof - if ever it were really needed - that age doesn't really affect a film's quality. If anyone needs to see some of Hitchcock's finest moments, this should be among them.

Playing fast and loose somewhat with John Buchan's (1916) novel, Hitchcock nevertheless directs a fast-moving, riveting story of political intrigue and paranoia with some truly hair-raising scenes (the Forth rail bridge scene springs to mind).

Hitchcock makes his usual cameo appearances. Apart from the one noted here, he's also in one of the early scenes after Arabella Smith fires the pistol. The music hall audience panics and make for the egress, 'Hitch' being one of the crowd. He's also one of the detectives seeking Hannay after he leaves the train on the Forth bridge.

There are some really sparkling lines of dialogue: cold, hungry and tired after tramping across the moors in (what I suppose is Fife), Hannay encounters a crofter (played by John Laurie, later famous as Fraser in Dad's Army): Crofter (to Hannay who has asked him for a bed for the night): Can you sleep in a box bed?" Hannay: "I can try" Crofter: "Can you eat the herring?" Hannay: "I could eat half a dozen right now".

Once inside, the crofter's (much younger) wife asks Hannay the following, after hearing that he lives in London: "Is it true that the women in London are beautiful?" Hannay: "Some of them are but they wouldn't be if they stood next to you." My word, what a charmer!

In case you were wondering, the thirty-nine steps in the original book referred to the steps down to the sea at a secluded bay, the spy involved arranging to be extracted by a submarine when the tide had covered up to the thirty-ninth step from the top. This is not alluded to in the 1935 film version, other than to give a name to the network of spies involved. Hannay was a mining engineer and Arabella Smith in the book is a man! It's a short-ish film too, coming in at about an hour and a quarter. It's occasionally on British terrestrial telly and never fails to please. Why they tried to remake this (in 1953 and 1978) is anyone's guess as you can't improve on perfection.

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