The 39 Steps

  • U
  • Alfred Hitchcock (1935)
  • UK
  • 83 min
The 39 Steps
Film Review
Reviewed By
5 out of 5

Alfred Hitchcock brings John Buchan's novel to the screen with characteristic wit and verve, a style he forged in 1930s Britain with this, The Man Who Knew Too Much and The Lady Vanishes. The 39 Steps has all the ingredients of classic Hitch, not least the innocent-man-on-the-run plot, a staple all the way through to 1959's North by Northwest. In this case, it's visiting Canadian Richard Hannay (a winning Robert Donat), who gets dragged into an espionage conspiracy after an outing to a London music hall and ends up in Scotland handcuffed to an icy blonde (Madeleine Carroll). Playing "spot the recurring Hitchcock motif" is almost as thrilling as the chase itself and the chemistry between Donat and Carroll is a rare treat - particularly when they are forced to share a room (quite shocking in 1935).

Plot Summary

Classic thriller starring Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll. An innocent man accused of murder is pursued by both the police and an international spy ring. The beleaguered Richard Hannay finds himself fleeing across the desolate Scottish moors handcuffed to a beautiful woman.

Cast and crew


Richard Hannay
Robert Donat
Madeleine Carroll
Miss Smith
Lucie Mannheim
Professor Jordan
Godfrey Tearle
Crofter's wife
Peggy Ashcroft
John Laurie
Mrs Jordan
Helen Haye
Sheriff Watson
Frank Cellier
Wylie Watson
Commercial traveller
Gus McNaughton
Commercial traveller
Jerry Verno


Alfred Hitchcock

Other Information

Black and White
Theatrical distributor: 
Park Circus
Available on video, DVD and BluRay
Released 11 Apr 2008
Certificate U
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