The 39 Steps - The Criterion Collection
Alpha Video (8/1/1935)
Drama, Mystery, Thriller
In Collection
Seen ItNo
IMDB   7.8
86 mins USA / English
DVD  Region 1   Unrated
Robert Donat Richard Hannay/Mr. Hammond/Capt. Fraser/Henry Hopkinson
Madeleine Carroll Pamela/Mrs. Henry Hopkinson
Lucie Mannheim Miss Annabella Smith
Godfrey Tearle Professor Jordan
Peggy Ashcroft Margaret, crofter's wife
John Laurie John, crofter
Helen Haye Mrs. Louisa Jordan
Frank Cellier Sheriff Watson
Wylie Watson Mr. Memory
Gus McNaughton Commercial Traveller on Flying Scotsman (as Gus MacNaughton)
Jerry Verno Commercial Traveller on Flying Scotsman
Peggy Simpson Maid
Ivor Barnard Political Meeting Chairman (uncredited)
Wilfrid Brambell (uncredited)
Pat Hagate M.C. Who Introduces Mr Memory (uncredited)
Alfred Hitchcock Littering man near music hall (uncredited)
Elizabeth Inglis Professor Jordan's daughter (uncredited)
James Knight Detective At London Palladium (uncredited)
Miles Malleson Theatre manager (uncredited)
Quentin McPhearson Clergyman On The Flying Scotsman (uncredited)
Peggy Ashcroft Margaret
Madeleine Carroll Pamela
Robert Donat Richard Hannay
John Laurie John
Alfred Hitchcock
Producer Michael Balcon
Ivor Montagu
Writer John Buchan
Charles Bennett
Ian Hay
Cinematography Bernard Knowles
Musician Charles Williams
Hubert Bath
Jack Beaver

Hitchcock's first great romantic thriller is a prime example of the MacGuffin principle in action. Robert Donat is Richard Hannay, an affable Canadian tourist in London who becomes embroiled in a deadly conspiracy when a mysterious spy winds up murdered in Hannay's rented flat--and both the police and a secret organization wind up hot on his trail. With only a seemingly meaningless phrase ("the 39 steps"), a small Scottish town circled on a map, and a criminal mastermind identified by a missing finger as clues, quick-witted Hannay eludes police and spies alike as he works his way across the countryside to reveal the mystery and clear his name. At one point he finds himself making his escape manacled to blonde beauty Pamela (Madeleine Carroll), whose initial antagonism is smoothed by Hannay's charm and the sheer rush of her thrilling chase. It's classic Hitchcock all the way, a seemingly effortless balance of romance and adventure set against a picturesque landscape populated by eccentrics and social-register smoothies, none of whom is what he or she appears to be. Hitchcock would play similar games of innocents plunged into deadly conspiracies, most delightfully in North by Northwest, but in this breezy 1935 classic, Hitch proves that, as in any quest, the object of the search isn't nearly as satisfying as the journey. --Sean Axmaker
Edition Details
Edition Criterion Collection
Distributor Criterion
Chapters 12
Release Date 11/2/1999
Packaging Keep Case
Screen Ratio Fullscreen (4:3)
Subtitles English; English (Closed Captioned)
Audio Tracks Dolby Digital Mono [English]
Dolby Digital Stereo [English]
Layers Single Side, Dual Layer
No. of Disks/Tapes 1

Black & White