The 39 Steps (1935)

Richard Hannay stumbles upon a conspiracy that thrusts him into a hectic chase across the Scottish moors—a chase in which he is both the pursuer and the pursued—as well as into an unexpected romance with the cool Pamela.

Public Enemy

I noticed one big flaw. The two guys waiting outside managed to magic a knife into her back while she was inside. Now if they were in there and they wanted to kill the guy, as they did, why wouldn't they finish the job instead of running back outside to wait for him to come out?

9 years ago


One of Hitchcock's very greatest. Very witty and endlessly entertaining, with a perfect combination of humor and thrills.

8 years ago


The 39 Steps is pretty typical of Alfred Hitchcock's British period, with its higher proportion of (non-macabre) humor mixed in with thriller elements (the tone at times reminded me of The Lady Vanishes, for example). In this spy story, Robert Donat plays a man who by chance meets a spy. She is soon killed, but not before handing him her mission, vital to the United Kingdom's security. And then he's off to Scotland to carry it out, while simultaneously on the run from the authorities who think him her killer. There's practically a twist or reversal every few minutes from there, plenty of interesting characters along the way, and even a maverick shot or two. Flying by the seat of its pants, the movie almost feels like a serial that's been compressed into a single film, and a good one at that. I'm not entirely onboard with the way the climax is resolved, but it at least rewards the viewer's attention and makes sense of things that didn't seem all that relevant earlier on. In The 39 Steps, we definitely see some Hitchcock's mannerisms and obsessions taking shape.

a year ago

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