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The 39 Steps (1959) Poster

(1959)

Goofs

Jump to: Character error (1)  | Continuity (13)  | Errors in geography (1)  | Factual errors (2)  | Miscellaneous (4)  | Plot holes (1)

Character error 

When Hannay is on the train to Scotland he is described as having brown hair and grey eyes. However when giving his description to the inn-keeper he states that he has brown hair and hazel eyes.
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Continuity 

When Hannay escapes though a window, he jumps onto a lorry full of hay bales. Later there is a shot of the same lorry which contains sheep and no bales.
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The car following Hannay in Scotland starts off as a grey Ford Zephyr/Zodiac, as the rogue policemen arrive at the school, the car turns into a Ford Consul. Later as the car has a flat tire it is once again a Zephyr.
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The label on Miss Fisher's case on the train referred to "St Catharine's" with two "a"s as did the notice board within the school advertising The Winter Lectures. The sign outside the school and the Roll of Honour board outside the lecture theatre said "St Catherines" with only one "a"
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Hannay arrives at St Catherine's as the lecture is about to start. The lecture is billed as starting at 6:30 pm. It is September, so given that, by the time he is interrupted and the spies drive him and Miss Fisher the long distance in the opposite direction to Inverary , it would be dark yet, when the tire blows and they escape it appears to be mid afternoon.
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When Hannay and Mrs Fisher escape from the fake police while supposedly on the way to Inveraray, driving off in the police car, Hannay has climbed into the driver's seat while still being handcuffed to Mrs Fisher in the back seat. When the car then crashes into a wall at a T-junction, suddenly Hannay is in the back seat again.
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Hannay's journey to Scotland starts at Kings Cross Station where the clock shows it is 11.10 am. When he gets off the train at Edinburgh to stretch his legs the station clock shows it is 10.35 am and, a few minutes later as it pulls out of the station the outside clock shows it is 2.15pm.
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At the Palace Theatre a man with glasses is sitting directly behind Hannay as he waits for "Nanny" Robinson to arrive. When Mr Memory comes on stage a lady in blue who asks what the name of Napoleon's horse is has suddenly appeared in his place and the man is sitting further along the row.
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When Hannay is hiding in the cornfield, a man who's shooting rabbits fires three shots. However, he's using a double-barreled shotgun which would require reloading to fire a third shot.
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When the police car stops to replace a punctured tire, Hannay gets in and makes off down the hill in the car. However, whilst he is driving, the tire is fully inflated.
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The oncoming ambulance that arrives presumably to assist Nanny after the "accident" speeds off-screen to the right and skids to stop in a relatively impossible time.
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The model ship in the lake in the opening scene is a paddle steamer with a black hull, a distinct white stripe and red anti-fouling paint below the waterline. The model carried across the bridge by the contact/agent a minute later is larger, has a brown hull with black anti-fouling paint, and seems to be a naval ship.
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To hide from the police Hannay jumps over a fence and settles down on the edge of a cornfield but when he wakes up he's in the middle of the field.
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Being on the run with Hannay Miss Fisher is dressed in a twin set and has no luggage yet later she arrives at a theatre in a complete new outfit.
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Errors in geography 

After hiding on the Forth railway bridge, Hannay evidently descends and is seen on the jetty leading up to Main Street on North Queensferry as he prepares to continue his journey. The bridge stanchion that he would have made his way down from is on Battery Street on the opposite side of the harbor.
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Factual errors 

On the train to Scotland the schoolgirls had a capital letter "K" on their berets yet the school was St Catherines beginning with a "C"
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As Hannay and Nanny are about to depart from the Palace Theatre, Mr. Memory is asked how many US Presidents were assassinated. He can be heard in the background saying just two - Lincoln and McKinley, omitting Garfield.
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Miscellaneous 

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'.
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While filming was underway in Scotland, astonished tourists watched a convoy of lorries drive into a field of tall wheat unaware that the film company had bought the crop to film Kenneth More hiding from the enemies and that the farmer would get all that was left when the sequence was completed.
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The props were so realistic that even producer Betty Box didn't know what was real and what wasn't as at one point she stopped a tourist going into a telephone box explaining that it was only a prop. While she was talking, a reporter covering the film went into it and made a call to his paper. Another reporter, insisting to his paper that he was in a place called Glenkirk because he was there and could see the name on a signpost, had to be told by an assistant director that it was all fake.
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The model being sailed on the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens is that of the Devonia builtin 1905, captured by the Germans at Dunkirk and then by the Russians in the Baltic. The model, at the time of filming/ was worth £2,000.
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Plot holes 

"Nanny" Robinson is murdered at Hannay's flat on Thursday 6 September 1958 (the date on the theatre tickets where he meets her). Two days later, when it would be Saturday, the sheriff arrests Hannay for "the murder of a woman at Oswell Court, London, on Tuesday last". That same day, as Hannay goes into the school, the notice board for the lecture gives the date as Wednesday.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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