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Sign in. Watch now. While travelling in continental Europe, a rich young playgirl realizes that an elderly lady seems to have disappeared from the train. A man and his wife receive a clue to an imminent assassination attempt, only to learn that their daughter has been kidnapped to keep them quiet. A Scotland Yard undercover detective is on the trail of a saboteur who is part of a plot to set off a bomb in London.

But when the detective's cover is blown, the plot begins to unravel. A shy young heiress marries a charming gentleman, and soon begins to suspect he is planning to murder her. A psychiatrist protects the identity of an amnesia patient accused of murder while attempting to recover his memory. A woman is asked to spy on a group of Nazi friends in South America.

How far will she have to go to ingratiate herself with them? A man on the run from a murder charge enlists a beautiful stranger who must put herself at risk for his cause. After three British Agents are assigned to assassinate a mysterious German spy during World War I, two of them become ambivalent when their duty to the mission conflicts with their consciences.


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Several survivors of a torpedoed merchant ship in World War II find themselves in the same lifeboat with one of the U-boat men who sunk it. A self-conscious woman juggles adjusting to her new role as an aristocrat's wife and avoiding being intimidated by his first wife's spectral presence. Richard Hannay is a Canadian visitor to London. At the end of "Mr Memory"'s show in a music hall, he meets Annabella Smith, who is running away from secret agents. He agrees to hide her in his flat, but she is murdered during the night. Fearing that he could be accused of the murder, Hannay goes on the run to break the spy ring.

Hitchcock must have had a particular fondness for this film because I see elements of it North By Northwest, Saboteur, and Torn Curtain.

There is no director in the history of the cinema who liked a good chase film better than Alfred Hitchcock. This one's a beauty with a wrongly accused of murder Robert Donat, running from London to Scotland and back again to find some spies to clear his name. Along the way Donat picks up a lovely and first unwilling traveling companion in Madeleine Carroll who is arguably the first of his blonde heroines. Donat and Ronald Colman rivaled for roles somewhat, they seem always to be cast as the same type of characters.

Of course Donat worked primarily in the UK and on stage while Colman was strictly a movie actor since the silent days. Colman is the only other guy who could have done this and other Donat parts. It's a pity there are none like either of these guys around today.

When Geoffrey Tearle thinks he's disposed of Donat by shooting him, Donat's life got saved by a hymn book in his breast pocket. Whether that was a device in the original novel by John Buchan or something Alfred Hitchcock improvised the inspiration for it was definitely taken from the attempted assassination of former President Theodore Roosevelt in While running for president on the Progressive ticket that year, Roosevelt was shot in the chest in Milwaukee. What saved his life was a copy of his speech and an eyeglass case in his breast pocket.

The whole thing here is how the espionage is being carried out and I won't reveal it. But if you've seen Torn Curtain remember why Paul Newman was the only guy they could send on that espionage mission. This is probably Hitchcock's best film from his pre-Hollywood period and shouldn't be missed.

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She returns to the room and sleeps on a sofa.

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The next morning, she tells him what she heard. He sends her to London to alert the police. No secret documents have been reported missing, however, so they do not believe her. Instead, they follow her. Pamela leads them to the London Palladium. When Mr. Memory is introduced, Hannay, sitting in the audience, recognizes his theme music—the annoyingly catchy tune , a tune he has been whistling and unable to forget for days.

The Thirty-Nine Steps

Hannay, upon recognizing Professor Jordan and witnessing him signal Mr. Memory, realizes that the spies are using Mr. Memory to smuggle the Air Ministry secret. As the police take Hannay into custody, he shouts, "What are the 39 Steps?

Memory compulsively answers, "The 39 Steps is an organisation of spies, collecting information on behalf of the Foreign Office of The dying Mr. Memory recites the information stored in his brain—the design for a silent aircraft engine—and is then able to pass away peacefully, saying "I'm glad it's off my mind.

John Buchan

Hannay and Pamela witness Memory's death as their clasped hands are shown from behind, Hannay's handcuffs clearly visible. As they stand together at the side of the stage, their hands begin to touch. Now hand in hand, they watch as the hurriedly ushered-on chorus line dances to an orchestrated version of the Jessie Matthews song "Tinkle Tinkle Tinkle", while the image fades to black.

The script was originally written by Charles Bennett, who prepared the initial treatment in close collaboration with Hitchcock; Ian Hay then wrote some dialogue. The film's plot departs substantially from John Buchan 's novel, with scenes such as in the music hall and on the Forth Bridge absent from the book. Hitchcock also introduced the two major female characters, Annabella the spy and Pamela, reluctant companion.

In this film, The 39 Steps refers to the clandestine organisation, whereas in the book and the other film versions it refers to physical steps, with the German spies being called "The Black Stone". The 39 Steps was a major British film of its time. The production company, Gaumont-British, was eager to establish its films in international markets, and especially in the United States, and The 39 Steps was conceived as a prime vehicle towards this end. Much of the extra money went to the star salaries for Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll.

Both had already made films in Hollywood and were therefore known to American audiences. At a time when British cinema had few international stars, this was considered vital to the film's success.

The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan

Weir commuted to work daily in an autogyro , and worked the aircraft into the film. Hitchcock had worked with Jessie Matthews on the film Waltzes from Vienna and reportedly did not like her very much, but as well as the fade-out music to The 39 Steps , he also used an orchestrated version of her song "May I Have The Next Romance With You" in the ballroom sequence of his film Young and Innocent.

The 39 Steps is the second film after the silent film The Lodger in a line of Hitchcock films based upon an innocent man being forced to go on the run, including Saboteur and North by Northwest The film contains a common Hitchcockian trope of a MacGuffin a plot device which is vital to the story, but irrelevant to the audience ; in this case, the designs for a secret silent plane engine. This film contains an Alfred Hitchcock cameo , a signature occurrence in most of his films. At 6 minutes and 33 seconds into the film, both Hitchcock and the screenwriter Charles Bennett can be seen walking past a bus that Robert Donat and Lucie Mannheim board outside the music hall.

Thirty-Nine Steps

As author Mark Glancy points out in his study of the film, this was familiar ground to Hitchcock, who lived in Leytonstone and then in Stepney in the East End as a youth.