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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.

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