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The 39 Steps (1959)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 13 March 1959 (UK)
In London, a diplomat accidentally becomes involved in the death of a British agent who's after a spy ring that covets British military secrets.



(screenplay), (based upon the novel by)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Brenda de Banzie ...
Nellie Lumsden (as Brenda De Banzie)
Professor Logan
Reginald Beckwith ...
Mr. Memory
Andrew Cruickshank ...
Sheriff (as Andrew Cruikshank)
Leslie Dwyer ...
Betty Henderson ...
Mrs. McDougal
Miss Dobson


Richard Hannay witnesses a hit-and-run involving a woman pushing a pram. Looking in the pram he sees a gun instead of a baby. He tracks the woman down and she reveals that she is a secret agent trying to stop foreign spies leaving the country with important military secrets. Later that night she is murdered in Hannay's flat. Hannay takes it on himself to thwart the enemy agents. This involves travelling to Scotland and keeping one step ahead of the police who are looking for him in connection with the murder of the woman. Written by ledostef, blackpool

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The Most Suspenseful Manhunt in History!


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Release Date:

13 March 1959 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

39 escalones  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


The copyright year in Roman numerals displayed near the beginning of the titles is malformed. If the correct copyright year is '1959' then the correct Roman numeral would be: 'MCMLIX'. However, the displayed Roman numeral is 'MCMLVIX' which is nonsensical. The displayed number would be: '1950+5+9' if it were valid. It is surmised that the designer thought '50' and added a '5'. See more »


When Hannay is on the train to Scotland he is described as having brown hair and gray eyes. However when describing himself to the inn-keeper he states that he has brown hair and hazel eyes. See more »


Fisher: I'm not going to lie on that bed!
Richard Hannay: As long as you're chained to me you can't very well avoid it. Come on.
Fisher: Ow!
Fisher: I wish you wouldn't keep saying 'ow' like that. In a respectable house it might be misinterpreted.
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Version of The 39 Steps (1935) See more »

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User Reviews

Lackluster Remake
1 October 2004 | by See all my reviews

I can't remember much of the original film version of THE 39 STEPS but seeing this remake a couple of days ago I got the distinct feeling that it's rather inferior to the Hitchcock version . Much of the problem lies with the director Ralph Thomas who has a long and successful track record of making comedies and he seems unsuited for thrillers , everything seems a little too lightweight here and it's not helped by the cheery and jovial musical score or indeed Sid James playing a straight role as a lorry driver . It should also be pointed out that while Kenneth More plays an affable type of hero in Richard Hannay he lacks the dashing charm of Robert Donat in the original and is probably less effective than the slightly angry young man of Robert Powell in the latter 70s remake . More's Richard Hannay would probably have appeared too much of an old fashioned hero in 1959 to be taken entirely serious . He's by no means bad but remember DR NO was just around the corner and that movie turned the world upside down as to what made a cinematic hero . That's the problem , everything is too old fashioned from the polite tea parties to actresses in their late 20s/early 30s playing schoolgirls

There is another problem and that's the screenplay sticks to closely to the tone of the original . I dispute what it says in the IMDb trivia section about this movie being a shot for shot remake of the original Hitchcock version but it totally lacks an updated feel . War clouds were approaching when THE 39 STEPS was made in 1935 while the 1970s version used the approaching great war as its backdrop but does THE THIRTY NINE STEPS of 1959 feel like the West is engaged on a cold war crusade against communism ? There seems to be little sense of a political time and place with the bad guys coming across more of a criminal gang than traitors to the country . Unless I'm mistaken I don't think the word " Communism " features once

A very disappointing remake . I recommend the original or the 1978 version

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