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The 39 Steps (1935)

Not Rated | | Mystery , Thriller | 1 August 1935 (USA)
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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 save himself and stop a spy ring which is trying to steal top secret information.

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writers:

John Buchan (adapted from the novel by), Charles Bennett (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Donat ... Hannay
Madeleine Carroll ... Pamela
Lucie Mannheim ... Miss Smith
Godfrey Tearle Godfrey Tearle ... Professor Jordan
Peggy Ashcroft ... Crofter's Wife
John Laurie ... Crofter
Helen Haye ... Mrs. Jordan
Frank Cellier Frank Cellier ... The Sheriff
Wylie Watson ... Memory
Gus McNaughton ... Commercial Traveller (as Gus Mac Naughton)
Jerry Verno Jerry Verno ... Commercial Traveller
Peggy Simpson Peggy Simpson ... Maid
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Storyline

Richard Hannay is a Canadian visitor to London. At the end of "Mr Memory"'s show in a music hall, he meets Annabella Smith, who is running away from secret agents. He agrees to hide her in his flat, but she is murdered during the night. Fearing that he could be accused of the murder, Hannay goes on the run to break the spy ring. Written by Claudio Sandrini <pulp99@geocities.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The MAN who put the MAN in roMANce. See more »

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 August 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

39 escalones See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£60,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (recorded on) (British Acoustic Film Full Range Recording System: at Shepherd's Bush London)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Before filming the scene where Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll run through the countryside, Alfred Hitchcock handcuffed them together and pretended for several hours to have lost the key in order to put them in the right frame of mind for such a situation. See more »

Goofs

During Mr Memory's act at the beginning of the film, he gives an answer regarding the last British heavyweight boxing champion and then asks "Am I right, sir?", but the question was asked by a woman. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in Fractured Flickers: Rose Marie (1963) See more »

Soundtracks

Russian Dance
(uncredited)
Arranged by Hubert Bath
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Espionage at the Music Hall
15 July 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Alfred Hitchcock followed up his first international success, The Man Who Knew Too Much with an even better film, The Thirty Nine Steps. Hitchcock must have had a particular fondness for this film because I see elements of it North By Northwest, Saboteur, and Torn Curtain.

There is no director in the history of the cinema who liked a good chase film better than Alfred Hitchcock. This one's a beauty with a wrongly accused of murder Robert Donat, running from London to Scotland and back again to find some spies to clear his name. Along the way Donat picks up a lovely and first unwilling traveling companion in Madeleine Carroll who is arguably the first of his blonde heroines.

Donat and Ronald Colman rivaled for roles somewhat, they seem always to be cast as the same type of characters. Of course Donat worked primarily in the UK and on stage while Colman was strictly a movie actor since the silent days. Colman is the only other guy who could have done this and other Donat parts. It's a pity there are none like either of these guys around today.

When Geoffrey Tearle thinks he's disposed of Donat by shooting him, Donat's life got saved by a hymn book in his breast pocket. Whether that was a device in the original novel by John Buchan or something Alfred Hitchcock improvised the inspiration for it was definitely taken from the attempted assassination of former President Theodore Roosevelt in 1912. While running for president on the Progressive ticket that year, Roosevelt was shot in the chest in Milwaukee. What saved his life was a copy of his speech and an eyeglass case in his breast pocket.

The whole thing here is how the espionage is being carried out and I won't reveal it. But if you've seen Torn Curtain remember why Paul Newman was the only guy they could send on that espionage mission.

This is probably Hitchcock's best film from his pre-Hollywood period and shouldn't be missed.


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