Again, this is a classic. Directed by the highly incredible Alfred Hitchcock based on the novel, ‘The Thirty-Nine Steps’ by John Buchan. Hitchcock known for some of the best films out there. Other favourite’s of mine include Rear Window and Shadow Of A Doubt.
On vacation in London, Canadian gentleman Richard Hannay, played by Robert Donat unintentionally becomes involved with an international ring of spies.
Attending a show whilst seeing the ‘memory man’, a great man with greater knowledge and a recalling memory, an unexpected brawl occurs, a gunshot is fired, causing the crowds to flock out of the doors.
As this occurs, Hannay meets a young woman, Annabella Smith, played by Lucie Mannheim. She asks if she can stay with him, he agrees.
After going back to his rented apartment, Smith appears all jumpy, she then reveals she was followed home, leading to questions, then revealing she is a spy, uncovering some top secret information conjured up by a man with the top-join of one of his fingers missing! She mentions the 39 steps, but does not explain its meaning.
Hannay is then woken by Smith, stumbling into his bedroom, she falls onto the bed, a knife in her back, murder.A map of the Scottish Highlands clutched in her grasp.
Hannay flees, rather amusingly, he finds the milkman, inquiring to swap clothes with him, the milkman confused, he tells him of the murder and the two men outside – explaining he has been framed, the milkman laughs it off not believing any of it. Hannay asking the man if he’s married, comically replying “Yes, but don’t rub it in”
Instead he says he is having an affair with a woman, a story the milkman believes, they then swap clothes, the milkman comically saying, “Why didn’t you just tell me”.
Successfully making it to the station, Hannay has the map, knowing he must get to the place that has been circled as Annabella had previously mentioned it.
As the movie progresses, Hannay meets Pamela (Madeleine Carroll), rather amusingly, the police searching for him on the train, he rushes into the same carriage that she is in, kissing her when the police enter so his face will not be revealed. She then snitches on him!
Hannay eventually progresses to Scotland, failing at finding the place on the map that was circled Alt-na-Shellach , he stays with a married couple, a crofter and his you wife, one seeing a newspaper with his face on it, he amusingly turns to looking rather stunned!
Fleeing in the night due to the police turning up, along with the crofter’s coat, he sees a sign for Atl-Na-Shellach! Reaching a respectable man’s house – Professor Jordan, the man speaks to him, Hannay explaining he knew Annabella. The man then reveals he has a top joint of one of his fingers missing, Hannay is instantly alarmed.
He then shoots Hannay, leaving him for dead. Rather wittingly, the crofter’s coat saved him, there was a hymn book in his pocket! Jokes such as “These hymns are hard to get through”, entertainingly being made.
As the film progresses, Hannay amusingly meets Pamela again – they unwillingly get handcuffed together, he then resorts to dragging her across the moors of Scotland, being a runaway! She refuses to like him due to the murder charges against him.
They find an inn and manage to stay there, during the night, Pamela amusingly enables herself to slip out of the handcuffs – she then overhears two men speaking of the 39 steps, the men that appeared to be two policemen that arrested them the following night, causing her to believing Hannay’s tale!
She alerts Hannay, he then tells her to call to the police, she does – they do not believe her accusations, so they follow her.
The film ends well, Professor Jordan getting caught in the act, Hannay revealing the spies are using Mr. Memory to get the secrets out! Pamela and Hannay attend another memory show, he then confronts Mr. Memory, “What are the 39 steps?”, all is then revealed!
This is such a wonderful film, greatly written with such a wonderful, talented cast! I saw it onstage last year, a four person cast, just as delightful as the film proved to be! Would definitely recommend.