Cover image for The 39 steps
The 39 steps
Hitchcock, Alfred, 1899-1980.
[DVD version].
Publication Information:
[Place of publication not identified] : Criterion Collection, [1999]
Physical Description:
1 videodisc (86 min.) : sound, black and white, single sided ; 4 3/4 in.
A man falsely accused of murder is chased across Scotland as he tries to find those responsible.
General Note:
Also distributed by Platinum Disc Corporation.

Adapted from the novel by John Buchan.

Originally produced as a motion picture in 1935.

For specific features see interactive menu.
Added Title:
Art of film: vintage Hitchcock.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DVD 1763 Adult DVD Audio Visual

On Order



This classic British thriller was one of Alfred Hitchcock's first major international successes, and it introduced a number of the stylistic and thematic elements that became hallmarks of his later work. Richard Hannay (Robert Donat), a Canadian rancher on vacation in England, attends a music hall performance by "Mr. Memory" (Wylie Watson); in the midst of the show, shots ring out and Richard flees the theater. Moments later, a terrified woman (Lucie Mannheim) begs Richard to help her; back at his room, she tells him that she's a British spy whose life has been threatened by international agents waiting outside. Richard is certain that she's mad until she reappears at his door in the morning, near death with a knife in her back, a map in her hand, and muttering something about "39 Steps." Discovering that a group of thugs are indeed waiting outside, Richard slips away and takes the first train to the Scottish town on the dead woman's map. Richard learns that he's now wanted by the police for murder, and he must find a way to clear his name. He begins trying to do so with the help of a woman he meets en route, Pamela (Madeleine Carroll), who serves as his unwitting assistant, even after she tries to turn him in. The 39 Steps was later remade in 1959 and 1978 -- both without Hitchcock's participation. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

A crucial work in the early British-film career of Alfred Hitchcock, Steps creaks a bit with age mainly owing to its static camerawork, but the Master of Suspense establishes his eventual trademarks: the "wrong man" theme; an impish, often dark humor; and the "MacGuffin," an otherwise meaningless plot device contrived to advance the story line. In this case, an innocent man (Robert Donat) accused of murder must expose a Scotland-based spy ring to clear his name. A bevy of extras help make this textbook thriller a must-see. [See Trailers, LJ 5/1/12.] (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.