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The 39 Steps (1935) - cut scenes

The following are scenes known to have been cut from The 39 Steps (1935)...

Cut Scene 1

still from the cut scene

Although mostly played for humour, the scene where the handcuffed Madeleine Carroll and Robert Donat spend a night together at a remote Scottish inn was at risk of falling foul of the censors on both sides of the Atlantic. Under the American Production Code, unmarried couples could not be shown sleeping in the same room, let alone the same bed.

In his book on the film, Mark Glancy briefly mentions the scene:

It would take place in a taxi as Hannay and Pamela leave the theatre, and Hannay would deliver the clunking line, "I'll say this for the English police, when they find they have made a mistake they apologize." Hannay would also tell Pamela that they are actually married because, according to Scottish law, registering as man and wife at the inn was a public declaration of marriage. When Pamela asks, "Well, what are we going to do?", Hannay would reply, "I know what I'm going to do!", and then the film would end as he kisses her. With its polite nod to the police and its insistence that the couple were married when they spent the night together, the scene can only have been designed to placate the censors.[1]

The existence of a publicity still from this sequence indicates the scene was filmed but not included in the final edit.

Donat himself mentioned in a letter to his family (dated 04/Dec/1935) that this final scene with him kissing Madeline Carroll didn't appear in the British print of the film.[2]

Notes & References

  1. The 39 Steps: A British Film Guide (2003) by Mark Glancy, pages 76-77
  2. The letter is held in the Robert Donat Archive and is indexed as DON/88.