Saturday, 18 July 2009


Last evening I sat down with a glass of Scottish wine and (dare I say it) a rather good cigar and watched my favourite Hitchcock movie.

Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll both give excellent performances in what is known (at least by the British) to be one of Hitchcock’s best films, wonderfully adapted by Charles Bennett from the novel by John Buchan.

For Mr Donat, The 39 Steps would be a crowning achievement in a regrettably short career, he died prematurely of an asthma attack. Ms Carroll was one of the fortunate actresses to make the transition from silent movies to talkies and would become the first of many blonde heroines to grace the screen in Hitchcock’s films. One can only imagine this attractive pairing in future Hitchcock movies. For me, this movie is the 1935 version of North by Northwest.

I'm sure most movie buffs know the plot, so I hope this clip of excerpts doesnt spoil things......

Have a pleasant Saturday nice people......


  1. I must say that my staying up late to watch the oldies and goodies on TV and a youth never yielded this golden flick. I must see if it is available on Netflix streaming.

  2. Oh Michael - those were the days - they don't make them like Madelaine Carrol any more - or Robert Donat for that matter.

  3. Hi Michael,

    Thius has been remade so many times, but probably none as good as this one!

  4. I saw The 39 Steps (the 1949 version) as a child (YES as a very young child!!)since which the Harry Lime theme has been forever etched in my memory. I can hum it at the drop of a hat! Of course at that tender age I didn't realize that I was watching the 'greats' in the form of Joseph Cotton, Orson Wells, Trevor Howard - all I knew was that I was being taken to 'the pictures' by my parents. So began my love affair with films - so much so that whilst growing up, I documented every film I saw. I remember at the age of eleven, after seeing The Sun Also Rises, asking my parents on the way home what the word 'impotent' meant!! An eleven year old today would know that - my mother suddenly developed a hearing problem but after much insistence on my part said, "I'll tell you later".

    Didn't Hitchcock always manipulate his leading ladies? It was said that he could 'make or break' them and Tippi Hedren was a casualty of his need to control.

    I love old films and yes, you are able to say that you enjoyed a good cigar. Don't know about 'Scottish wine' though! They have grapes north of the border???