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The 39 Steps (1935)

Not Rated | | Mystery, Thriller | 1 August 1935 (USA)
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1:28 | Trailer

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A man in London tries to help a counter-espionage 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:

Fated to Be Mated With the One Man She Hated 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

Sir Alfred Hitchcock always regarded this as one of his favorite movies. See more »

Goofs

Near the beginning of the film, in the scene with the Memory Man entertaining the audience by answering their questions, a woman yells out, "Who is the last British Heavyweight champion of the world?". Beside her is a man who mouths the woman's words in synch with her. 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

Featured in Reputations: Hitch: Alfred the Auteur (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

We Shall Win
(uncredited)
Arranged by Charles Williams
Played by Salvation Army band
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Superb
2 September 2006 | by flicker1966See all my reviews

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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