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The 39 Steps

Other English Hitchcocks may be more provocative, but few offer such a ripping good yarn. Donat's smooth and upright Richard Hannay flees from London in pursuit of a spy ring, responsible for leaving a murdered woman in his flat; the police inevitably take him for the murderer, and the spies are after him too. His itinerary includes an overnight stop in John Laurie's crofter's cottage, a political meeting where he improvises a speech without knowing who or what he's supporting, and a period when he's handcuffed to the resentful heroine. It ends, suitably, in a music hall. The inspiration came from John Buchan's novel, though Hitchcock followed it at some distance, concocting with scriptwriter Charles Bennett what really amounts to a little anthology of Hitchcock stories and motifs. Great fun.

Release details

Release date: Tuesday June 18 1935
Duration: 80 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Screenwriter: Ian Hay, Alma Reville, Charles Bennett
Cast: Robert Donat
Peggy Ashcroft
Godfrey Tearle
Lucie Mannheim
John Laurie
Madeleine Carroll
Helen Haye
Wylie Watson
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