The 39 Steps Is Early Alfred Hitchcock at its Finest

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Alfred Hitchcock's career seems to span the entire history of cinema. In his early years, he made a few silent flicks and his later movies continue to influence films and the filmmakers who make them today. Although many of Hitchcock's earlier works are recognized as classics, The 39 Steps is the best of the bunch.

Like many film buffs, I watched Hitchcock's most well-known films first like Psycho, North By Northwest, Rear Window, and Vertigo. It wasn't until I made conscious decision back in 2011 to be more versed in classic cinema, that I stumbled across The 39 Steps. I can confidently say, without exaggeration, that this is my favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie of all time.

Starring Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll, this film honestly has it all. It's part spy thriller and part romance comedy, yet somehow the two fit together perfectly. Richard Hannay gets wrapped up in a spy conspiracy, not all too different from Cary Grant's character in North by Northwest, and must find out answers while also trying to survive his pursuers. Once Hannay becomes handcuffed to Pamela (Carroll) during his escape, things get even more interesting.


The 39 Steps is more pulpy than much of Hitchcock's later films, and it doesn't try to tackle incredibly deep or heady themes, but the movie is just plain fun and one unjustly neglected among Hitchcock's greatest. Luckily, you can stream The 39 Steps right now on TCM until Oct. 30. Do it. Do it now. [TCM]