The 39 Steps(Alfred Hitchcock) 1935 **** 6/24/2016

One of Hitchcock’s British pictures that’s leavened with an appreciable amount of humour, and a risque panache that whips along with its spy-thriller lark of a plot. Lark as it is, there’s sufficient peril, though in a fun sort of way as Canadian Hannay(Robert Durat) quickly gets out of his depth when a spy comes home with him after creating a diversion at a music hall. She’s(Lucie Mannheim) killed with a map in her hand, and Hannay begins a trek into remote Scotland to prevent an opaque organization called the 39 Steps from taking a secret on the airforce out of the country. A sequence at a crofter’s cottage he stays at, then escapes from when pursued by the police for his pesumed murder of the spy back in London, provides the movie with a moment of gravitas, between himself and the crofter’s wife(Peggy Ashcroft), who sees her city of Glasgow in this dapper city man, away from it as she is. The spy’s contact in Scotland(Godfrey Tearle) turns out to be on the other side, and Hannay ends up handcuffed to a woman who thinks he is a murderer. Pamela(Madeleine Carrol) eventually comes ’round to him and the truth, and they make it back to London to prevent the transmission of the secret. It’s at a music hall where it all comes to a head; Mr. Memory(Wylie Watson) who performed at the music hall in the beginning of the picture, had the secret committed to memory.

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