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The 39 Steps 1935 DVD - Robert Donat / Madeleine Carroll


At a London music hall theatre, Richard Hannay is watching a demonstration of the superlative powers of recall of "Mr. Memory" when gun shots are heard inside the theatre. In the ensuing panic, Hannay finds himself holding a seemingly frightened woman, who persuades him to take her back to his flat. There she says her name is Annabelle Smith. She tells him that she is a spy and that she fired the shots to create a diversion so she could escape pursuing assassins. She claims that she has uncovered a plot to steal vital British military information, masterminded by a man missing the top joint of one finger. She mentions "The 39 Steps", but does not explain the phrase.

Later that night, Smith bursts into Hannay's bedroom and warns him to flee, before dying with a knife in her back. Hannay finds a map of the Scottish Highlands clutched in her hand, showing the area around Killin, with a house or farm named "Alt-na-Shellach" circled. He sneaks out of his flat disguised as a milkman to avoid the assassins waiting outside. He then boards the Flying Scotsman express train to Scotland. He learns from a newspaper that he is the target of a nationwide manhunt for Smith's murderer. When he sees police searching the train, he enters a compartment and starts kissing the sole occupant, Pamela, in a desperate attempt to avoid capture. She alerts the policemen, who stop the train on the Forth Bridge. Hannay escapes.

He walks toward Alt-na-Shellach, staying the night with a poor crofter (farmer) and his much younger wife. Early the next morning, the wife sees a police car approaching and warns Hannay; she also gives him her husband's coat. Hannay flees. The police chase after him, even employing an autogyro, but he eludes them. He eventually reaches the house of Professor Jordan. The police arrive, but Jordan sends them away and listens to Hannay's story. Hannay states that the leader of the spies is missing the top joint of the little finger of his left hand, but Jordan shows his right hand, which is missing that joint, then shoots Hannay and leaves him for dead.

Luckily, the bullet is stopped by a hymn book in the coat pocket. Hannay goes to the sheriff. When more policemen arrive, the sheriff reveals that he does not believe the fugitive's story, since Jordan is his best friend. Hannay jumps through a window. He tries to hide at a political meeting and is mistaken for the introductory speaker. He gives a rousing impromptu speech, but is recognized by Pamela, who gives him away to the police once more. He is taken away by the policemen, who insist Pamela accompany them. When they drive the wrong direction, Hannay realizes they are agents of the conspiracy. When the men get out to disperse a flock of sheep blocking the road, they handcuff Pamela to Hannay. Hannay manages to escape, dragging the unwilling Pamela along with him.

They make their way across the countryside and stay the night at an inn. While Hannay sleeps, Pamela manages to slip out of the handcuffs, but then overhears one of the fake policemen on the telephone, confirming Hannay's story. She returns to the room. The next morning, she tells him that she overheard the spies saying that Jordan will be picking something up at the London Palladium. He sends her to London to alert the police; however, no secret documents have been reported missing, so they do not believe her. Instead, they tail her, hoping that she will lead them to Hannay.

She goes to the Palladium. When Mr. Memory is introduced, Hannay recognizes his theme music — a catchy tune he has been unable to forget. Hannay, upon seeing Jordan signal Mr. Memory, realizes that there is no physical document, as Mr. Memory has memorized the secret contents. As the police are about to take Hannay into custody, he shouts, "What are The 39 Steps?" Mr. Memory compulsively answers, "The 39 Steps is an organization of spies, collecting information on behalf of the foreign office of...", at which point Jordan shoots Mr. Memory before he is apprehended by the police while trying to escape capture. The dying Mr. Memory begins reciting his memorized information: the design for a silent aircraft engine.


Robert Donat as Richard Hannay
Madeleine Carroll as Pamela
Lucie Mannheim as Annabella Smith
Godfrey Tearle as Professor Jordan
Peggy Ashcroft as Margaret, the crofter's wife
John Laurie as John, the crofter
Helen Haye as Mrs. Louisa Jordan, the professor's wife
Frank Cellier as Sheriff Watson
Wylie Watson as Mr. Memory
Gus McNaughton as Commercial Traveller
Jerry Verno as Commercial Traveller
Peggy Simpson as Maid
Matthew Boulton as Fake Policeman
Frederick Piper as Milkman (uncredited)
Ivor Barnard as Political Meeting Chairman (uncredited)
Elizabeth Inglis as Pat, Professor Jordan's daughter (uncredited)

Runtime: 86 Minutes

Product Code:
Stock Code: 999