The 39 Steps | Chicago Reader

The 39 Steps

As an artist, Alfred Hitchcock surpassed this early achievement many times in his career, but for sheer entertainment value it still stands in the forefront of his work. Robert Donat is the dapper young man who stumbles across a spy ring; Madeleine Carroll is the cool, luminous blond with whom he shares a pair of handcuffs. The ideas established in this 1935 feature lead in two different directions in Hitchcock's later work—toward the interpersonal themes of the "couple" films (Marnie, Frenzy, The Paradine Case) and the metaphysical adventures of the chase pictures (North by Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much). With Lucie Mannheim, Peggy Ashcroft, and Godfrey Tearle.

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