BACK TO HITCH
Anyone who has ever read John Buchan’s 1915 novel
The Thirty- Nine Steps knows that it is a taut thriller filled with suspense, intrigue, and danger. Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 film version keeps the meat of the story and plenty of nerve-tingling thrills in focus, while making quite a few conceptual plot changes — including adding love interests that Buchan never wrote about in the book. Nonetheless, the film strongly stands on its own as an artistic creation inspired by a masterwork in another genre. Robert Donat plays Richard Hannay and Madeleine Carroll (one of many blond Hitchcock heroines in subsequent films) is Pamela. Additional actors include Lucie Mannheim as Annabella Smith, Peggy Ashcroft as a crofter’s wife, and Wylie Watson as Mr. Memory.