The 39 Steps (August 1, 1935)

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Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps
 

Released on August 1, 1935: When a Canadian man visiting London tries to help a mysterious woman, she is suddenly murdered, and our hero is accused of the crime. He must go on the run to not only clear his name, but to prevent a spy ring from stealing top secret information.

Produced by Michael Balcon

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

The Actors: Robert Donat (Richard Hannay), Madeleine Carroll (Pamela), Lucie Mannheim (Annabella Smith), Godfrey Tearle (Porfessor Jordan), Peggy Ashcroft (Margaret Crofter), John Laurie (John Crofter), Helen Haye (Mrs. Jordan), Frank Cellier (Sheriff Watson), Wylie Watson (Mr. Memory), Gus McNaughton (traveler with Pipe), Jerry Verno (traveler), Peggy Simpson (the maid), Ivor Barnard (political meeting chairman), Charles Bennett (second passerby near the bus), Noel Birkin (unknown), Matthew Boulton (fake police officer), Edgar K. Bruce (unknown), Kate Cutler (unknown), Philip Desborough (unknown), Pat Hagate (emcee who introduces Mr. Memory), Alfred Hitchcock (paserby near the bus), Carleton Hobbs (second fake policeman), Vida Hope (usherette), Robert Horton (unknown), Elizabeth Inglis (Hillary, Professor Jordan's daughter), James Knight (detective at London Palladium), Hubert Leslie (unknown), Miles Malleson (Palladium manager), Quentin McPhearson (vicar on the Flying Scotsman), Phyllis Morris (unknown), Frederick Piper (milkman), Hilda Trevelyan (innkeeper's wife), John Turnbull (Scottish Police Inspector), S.J. Warmington (man from Scotland Yard)

 

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Fingering a Spy

This thriller was directed by the master of goose-bumps, Alfred Hitchcock. A Canadian businessman in London helps a mysterious lady in distress that asks for help while leaving an event where a man with an outstanding memory is performing, only to discover that she is a freelance spy trying to stop a group called 'the 39 steps' from stealing British military secrets.

He is told that he leader is a man with the tip of his little finger missing. He lets her stay overnight before she must go to Scotland to see a man, and try to stop the theft, but before morning she stumbles into his room, clutching a map of Scotland in her hand as she falls to the floor dead.

He leaves the dead woman in his flat, and takes off for Scotland in search of the man with the tip of his finger missing. But the police believe he murdered the lady spy, and are hot on his trail.

Just when he thinks he has found refuge from the police, he discovers that his rescuer is the traitorous spy with the missing tip of his pinkie finger. He narrowly escapes the traitor, but now he is being chased by both the police and the traitor spies.

An unwitting woman that recognized him from an earlier attempt to get away from the police turns him in again, but mistakenly gives him to the conspirators instead of the police. She is handcuffed to him, and both are destined for an awful fate. He escapes with her still handcuffed to him, and the two try to evade both Scotland Yard and the foreign spies.

Alfred Hitchcock had a custom of being seen in each of his films for a few seconds, and thanks to Roy, a fan from the United Kingdom, we believe that both Hitchcock and the author of the story Charles Bennett are walking in front of our stars as they get ready to board a bus, about 7 minutes into the film. There is a screen shot of them among the photos below.

One other item of note - in 1935 in the U.S., the Hays Office was starting to enforce their strict censoring of morals in movies, men and women were not permitted to be filmed in the same bed. But this movie, being filmed in Britain, had no such rules, and the handcuffed couple spent the first part of their first night together in one bed, handcuffed to each other.

Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll
Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll
Author Charles Bennett and director Alfred Hitchcock
Author Charles Bennett and director Alfred Hitchcock
Elizabeth Inglis, Frank Cellier and Robert Donat
Elizabeth Inglis, Frank Cellier and Robert Donat
Elizabeth Inglis, Godfrey Tearle and Helen Haye
Patricia ?, Godfrey Tearle and Helen Haye
Elizabeth Inglis and Halen Haye
Patricia ?and Halen Haye
Elizabeth Inglis and Robert Donat
Elizabeth Inglis and Robert Donat
Frank Cellier and Robert Donat
Frank Cellier and Robert Donat
Godfrey Tearle and Robert Donat
Godfrey Tearle and Robert Donat
Godfrey Tearle
Godfrey Tearle
Hilda Trevelyan, Madeleine Carroll and Robert Donat
Hilda Trevelyan, Madeleine Carroll and Robert Donat
Hilda Trevelyan, Madeleine Carroll and Robert Donat
Hilda Trevelyan, Madeleine Carroll and Robert Donat
Hilda Trevelyan and Madeleine Carroll
Hilda Trevelyan and Madeleine Carroll
Hilda Trevelyan
Hilda Trevelyan
Ivor Barnard
Ivor Barnard
John Laurie
John Laurie
John Laurie
John Laurie
John Laurie
John Laurie
Lucie Mannheim
Lucie Mannheim
Lucie Mannheim and Robert Donat
Lucie Mannheim and Robert Donat
Lucie Mannheim
Lucie Mannheim
Madeleine Carroll
Madeleine Carroll
Madeleine Carroll and Robert Donat
Madeleine Carroll and Robert Donat
Madeleine Carroll is kissed by Robert Donat
Madeleine Carroll is kissed by Robert Donat
Madeleine Carroll and Robert Donat
Madeleine Carroll and Robert Donat
Madeleine Carroll
Madeleine Carroll
Miles Malleson
Miles Malleson
Pat Hagate and Wylie Watson
Pat Hagate and Wylie Watson
Pat Hagate and Wylie Watson
Pat Hagate and Wylie Watson
Peggy Ashcroft
Peggy Ashcroft
Peggy Ashcroft and Robert Donat
Peggy Ashcroft and Robert Donat
Peggy Ashcroft
Peggy Ashcroft
Peggy Simpson
Peggy Simpson
Robert Donat and Frank Cellier
Robert Donat and Frank Cellier
Robert Donat and Frederick Piper
Robert Donat and Frederick Piper
Robbert Donat, John Laurie and Peggy Ashcroft
Robbert Donat, John Laurie and Peggy Ashcroft
Robbert Donat, John Laurie and Peggy Ashcroft
Robbert Donat, John Laurie and Peggy Ashcroft
Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll
Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll
Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll
Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll
Robert Donat, Peggy Ashcroft and John Laurie
Robert Donat, Peggy Ashcroft and John Laurie
Robert Donat, Peggy Ashcroft and John Laurie
Robert Donat, Peggy Ashcroft and John Laurie
RObert Donat and Peggy Ashcroft
RObert Donat and Peggy Ashcroft
Robert Donat
Robert Donat
Robert Donat and Lucie Mannheim
Robert Donat and Lucie Mannheim
Robert Donat
Robert Donat
Wylie Watson
Wylie Watson