Showcasing classic movies that have fallen out of copyright and are available freely from the public domain (with streaming video!)...
The 39 Steps (1935).
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
Starring Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll.
Based on the adventure novel The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan (which you can download for free here), Alfred Hitchcock’s classic chase thriller is a masterpiece of British cinema, and ranks at Number 4 on the BFI Top 100. With a fast-paced mix of action, humour, and suspense, The 39 Steps raised the bar for British – and international – film-making, and rightfully established Hitchcock as a true cinematic force.
When shots are fired during a theatre performance by “Mr. Memory”, Richard Hannay (Donat) finds himself protecting a young woman who, after returning to Hannay’s apartment, claims to be a secret agent with details of a plot to steal British military secrets. Providing little details save for a mention of the mysterious “thirty-nine steps”, the woman is stabbed during the night and Hannay becomes the prime suspect in a nationwide manhunt as he seeks to unravel the conspiracy and clear his name. The film differs from the novel substantially, introducing love interest Pamela (Carroll), who becomes handcuffed to Hannay as the chase unfolds across the country. She gradually finds herself drawn to him as his innocence becomes apparent, with excellent chemistry between the two leads.
The basic premise of an innocent man on the run is also one that Hitchcock would later explore in films such as Saboteur (1942) and North by Northwest (1959), and also includes elements of The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), which he had directed a year earlier.
Embed courtesy of Internet Archive.
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