“Would it be all right, me telling you, sir?”
I adore The 39 Steps - for years it was my “favourite Hitch” ~ it might still be, but I've given it a 9 because… The Lady Vanishes is coming!
There's so much to love about this film. Robert Donat is adorable and charming - and the sparkling relationship he and Madeleine Carroll build up is just lovely. The train journey is great and the chase across the moors is fun.
But it's the three crowd pieces that I think I love most:
The Theatre at the beginning is a hoot and Memory's performance is amazing ~ am I right sir? Even if he does dodge the “What causes pip in poultry question” (answer here) ~ and the way it turns to chaos after the gunshot is thrilling.
The political meeting in support of “Mr McCrocodile” is also breathtaking - I love that the audience are so energized by Hannay's speech that the fact that he's led out of the meeting in hand-cuffs doesn't seem to phase them at all!
And the final sequence in The London Palladium is also convincingly exciting and it always amazes that Hitch can make an inevitability (that Hannay will be vindicated) so tense and exciting - and again, Memory's performace is key to this.
There's very little not to love about this film — “I'm glad it's off my mind, at last.”