Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The 39 Steps


Could be the prototype for a dozen “innocent man wrongly accused” Hitchcock movies. And still one of the best. It’s got everything, as Robert Donat is swept up in spy hugger-mugger by a mysterious foreign woman who soon collapses in his arms with a knife in her back, much like the man in the United Nations falls into Cary Grant’s arms in North by Northwest. It has another Hitch trademark, a fascination with humans dwarfed by very large structures like the Statue of Liberty or Mount Rushmore. In this case it’s the gigantic Firth of Forth Bridge. There are daring escapes and dastardly betrayals, and comic shenanigans as Donat has to flee while handcuffed to the lovely Madeleine Carroll, which leads to a risqué scene in the bedroom of a country pub. Fairly racy for its time.