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THE 39 STEPS

Director: ALFRED HITCHCOCK

U.K. • 1935 • BLACK AND WHITE • DIGITAL • 86 MIN


This was another big step forward for Hitchcock: his first major international success and his first enduring classic, the film which brought him seriously to the attention of American critics and of Hollywood. In his celebrated interview with François Truffaut, Hitchcock characterised the film as a succession of solidly crafted short stories; these flow beautifully into one another, creating a momentum that remains irresistible. Most of it is set in Scotland, and the episode in which Robert Donat, as Hannay on the run from both police and spies, encounters the crofter and his young wife (John Laurie and Peggy Ashcroft), is arguably the finest in his work up to this point, equally impressive for its exquisite control of cinematic point of view and for its sympathetic portrayal — looking back and forward to so many others — of a vibrant but trapped woman.

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