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    VISUAL ARTS

    The 39 Steps

    Presented by at Harvard Film Archive

    August 24, 2013

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    The 39 Steps

    Freely adapted from John Buchanan’s spy novel, The 39 Steps set the standard for many Hitchcock chase pictures to follow: a charming and smugly self-satisfied man wrongly accused of a crime, his radiant and initially unwilling blonde accompaniment, a MacGuffin to bait the action, a rapidly evolving scenario, magnetic details, and the sneaking suspicion that the whole...

    Freely adapted from John Buchanan’s spy novel, The 39 Steps set the standard for many Hitchcock chase pictures to follow: a charming and smugly self-satisfied man wrongly accused of a crime, his radiant and initially unwilling blonde accompaniment, a MacGuffin to bait the action, a rapidly evolving scenario, magnetic details, and the sneaking suspicion that the whole thing has more to do with sex than espionage. Robert Donat’s troubles begin after he brings a woman spy to his flat on a presumed one-night stand. Her dying words sets him off to the Scottish Highlands—beautifully photographed by Bernard Knowles—in search of a top spy with the telltale missing finger. The wrong man ends up handcuffed to Madeleine Carroll, a screwball turn that offers a fine preliminary sketch of Hitchcockian sexuality (“much teasing, much dissatisfaction, much tussling for dominance,” in the words of Raymond Durgnat).


    Harvard Film Archive

    Harvard Film Archive Cinematheque
    24 Quincy Street
    Cambridge, MA 02138

    Full map and directions

    Admission Info:

    $9 - Regular Admission
    $7 - Non-Harvard Students, Harvard Faculty and Staff, and Senior Citizens
    Regular HFA screenings are free for all Harvard students with a valid photo ID.
    $12 - Special Event Ticket Price for all patrons
    Discounts apply for Harvard Film Archive Members



    Phone: 617-496-3211


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