- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 26 minutes
- Video: Black & White
- Released: June 26, 2012
- Originally Released: 1935
- Label: Criterion
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Note: Audio commentary by Alfred Hitchcock scholar Marian Keane
- Hitchcock: The Early Years (200), a British documentary covering the director's prewar career
- Original footage from British broadcaster Mike Scott's 1966 television interview with Hitchcock
- Complete broadcast of the 1937 Lux Radio Theatre adaptation, starring Ida Lupino and Robert Montgomery
- New visual essay by Hitchcock scholar Leonard Leff
- Audio experfts from Françoois Truffaut's 1962 intervieww with Hitchcock
- Original production design drawings
- Plus: a booklet featuring an essay by film critic David Cairns
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Empire - 05/01/2008
5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]his is the most satisfying of Hitchcock's Brit period, a thrilling, roller-coaster romp made before the phrase 'roller-coaster romp' existed."
Entertainment Weekly - 07/06/2012
"It's like NORTH BY NORTHWEST in black and white." -- Grade: A
A classic British spy mystery, and one of Hitchcock's best, THE 39 STEPS is the story of an innocent man who struggles to prove his innocence. Robert Donat gets more than he bargained for when he brings home a mysterious woman (Lucie Mannheim) who confesses to be a British agent on the hot trail of a dangerous spy ring. The woman is killed in Donat's apartment and he immediately finds himself on the run, burdened with the charge for her murder and the dangerous knowledge of her mission. The film is distinguished by its pioneering use of contrapuntal sound effects, as well as the dynamism between Donat and his costar Madeleine Carroll.
Richard Hannay (Robert Donat) is a Canadian rancher on vacation in London who sees a vaudeville act at the Palladium in which Mr. Memory (Wylie Watson) draws on his photographic memory to answer questions posed by the audience. When a shot rings out in the theater a frightened young woman approaches Hannay and asks for his help. The woman claims that foreign spies who plan to smuggle valuable military secrets out of the country are after her, and when she herself is later killed, Hannay finds himself both framed as the man responsible for her death as well as the next potential victim of the spy ring. Traversing through rural Scotland, on the run from both the police and the spies, Hannay finds himself attached to a cool but reluctant blonde, and together they have to figure out the meaning of the woman's last words and bring down the spy ring before the precious military secrets are smuggled abroad. THE THIRTY NINE STEPS is the film that established Hitchcock as the master of the mystery spy-thriller.
Essential Cinema |
Theatrical Release |
- Theatrical release: June 1935
- Filmed in Sheperd's Bush, London, England.
- Hitch onscreen: Hitchcock plays a pedestrian passing a bus in front of a music hall.
- Novelist John Buchan, who played the Baron Tweedsmuir, was Governor-General of the Dominion of Canada at the time of the film's release.
- Director Alfred Hitchcock's wife, writer Alma Reville, did continuity.
- Some laserdisc editions of the film include a 20-minute documentary on Hitchcock's British films.
- The film was remade twice, once in 1959 with Kenneth More and Taina Elg and again in 1978 with Robert Powell and David Warner.