The 39 Steps (1935)

“The 39 Steps” is an acclaimed 1935 British thriller adapted from John Buchan’s book of the same name. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll.

Canadian Richard Hannay (Robert Donat) is watching a demonstration of the powers of recall of “Mr. Memory” (Wylie Watson) at a London music hall when shots are fired. In the ensuing panic he finds himself holding a seemingly frightened Annabella Smith (Lucie Mannheim,) who talks him into taking her back to his flat. There, she tells him she’s a spy, being chased by assassins and that she has uncovered a plot to steal vital British military secrets, masterminded by a man with the top joint missing from one of his fingers. She mentions the 39 steps but does not explain it’s meaning.

Later that night Smith is murdered in Hannay’s flat but he manages to escape and boards a train to Scotland due to finding a map of Scotland clutched in the dying Smith’s hand.

The adventure now truly starts and what follows is an outstanding film, fully standing the test of time. The story has been re-made a number of times but this version is still the best.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 at 6:24 pm and is filed under Black & White, Thriller.

Leave a Reply