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   34,671 votes »
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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:
The Quintessential Hitchcock 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:
Director Trademark: [Alfred Hitchcock] [MacGuffin]The secret McGuffin in The 39 Steps is retold by Mr. Memory (Wylie Watson).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:
We Shall WinSee more »

FAQ

How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
How closely does the movie follow the book?
What did the girl with the irritating voice ask Mr Memory?
See more »
80 out of 86 people found the following review useful.
The Quintessential Hitchcock, 29 April 2003
Author: Amit Verma (verma_a@denison.edu) from Granville, OH

Trust and betrayal have been a recurrent theme in several of Alfred Hitchcock's works. The 39 Steps, made in 1935, has the all the classic elements of the master filmmaker that set the standard for later Hitchcock films. The 39 Steps has the classic Hitchcockian theme of an average, innocent man caught up in extraordinary events which are quite beyond his control. The sexually frustrating institution of marriage is another major motif present in the film. The strained and loveless relationship between the crofter and his wife, the placid relationship of the innkeeper and his wife, the (physical) bond between Hannay and Pamela can be examined in terms of degrees of trust between the couples. In fact, the short 'acquaintance' between Hannay and Smith and Hannay and the crofter's wife are also built completely upon trust. It is these couples, and the chemistry between them (or the lack thereof) that drive the entire film.

Over a span of four days, the smart and unflappable protagonist, Richard Hannay (Robert Donat) is involved in a circular journey to prove his innocence and expose the hive of intrigue. He is involved in chases and romantic interludes that take him from London to the Scottish Highlands and back again and he assumes numerous identities on the way - a milkman, an auto mechanic, a honeymooner, a political speaker among others.

The opening of the film, the first three shorts do not show him above his neck. With his back to the camera, he is followed down the aisle to his seat. He is then assumed to be lost in the crowd. This gives the audience the feeling that he could be anybody. Later when he takes in the identities of a milkman, a mechanic, a politician one realizes that he is Hitchcock's archetypal 'everyman' who unwittingly finds himself in incredible dilemmas.

In one of the brilliantly managed sequences on the train, Richard Hannay throws himself at a lone girl and forces a kiss just as a detective and two policemen pass by their compartment. It reveals his desperation to remain free until he can prove his innocence. In the scene after Annabella staggers into his room with a kitchen knife in her back, Hannay sees her ghostly image (which is superimposed) talking to him, `What you are laughing at right now is true. These men will stop at nothing.' The double exposure achieves a result which is a tad chilling and sad. The hallmark of Hitchcock's style is his ability to completely shock his audience by deliberately playing against how they would be thinking. In such episodes as the murder of the woman in Hannay's apartment or when the vicious professor with the missing finger casually shoots Hannay, the action progresses almost nonchalantly leaving the viewers stunned.

A great story, interesting and likeable characters, slyly incongruous wit, classic Hitchcockian motifs and a great MacGuffin are just a few things that make the The 39 Steps the quintessential Hitchcock.

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