The 39 Steps
- 1 hr 26 min
The 39 Steps is a suspense thriller by Alfred Hitchcock starring Robert Donat and Madeline Carroll. The film takes place over two days and concerns an ordinary man swept up with a mysterious woman in a perilous situation. Richard Hannay goes to the theatre one night to watch the performance of a man with a photographic memory. During this performance, shots ring out and in the clamor, Richard finds himself clinging to a woman named Annabella Smith. She tells him she's a spy fleeing pursuit and convinces him to take her back to his apartment. The only information she's willing to part with is the phrase "the 39 steps." Later on that evening, she stumbles into his bedroom in the throes of death, clutching a map of Scotland. Fearing for his life, Richard flees toward what he assumes will be a safe haven circled on the map. Escaping on a train, he sees a newspaper that names him the subject of a nationwide manhunt, suspected in the death of Mrs. Smith. To evade the police, he enters a sleeping compartment and kisses the woman within, Pamela, so as to not be disturbed. She is mortified by this and alerts the policemen to his presence, and he jumps from the moving train into a river. Having lost his mode of transportation and under the gun, he has to use his wits to survive, evade the authorities and discover the secret of "the 39 steps." The 39 Steps has been named by the British Film Institute (BFI) as the fourth-greatest British film of all time. It is Hitchcock's 18th feature film and one of the earliest entries in the "man on the run" format he would perfect with North By Northwest. This film has been remade twice by two different directors, once in 1958 and once in 1979.