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Literature Film Quarterly (1975) - Mirth, Sexuality and Suspense: Alfred Hitchcock's Adaptation of "The Thirty-Nine Steps"




The Thirty-Nine Steps (1935) is generally considered the finest film of Alfred Hitchcock's English period, and one of the most fuily realized movies he has ever made. Adapted from a novel by John Buchan, it is the quintessential Hitchcock, a blend of mirth, sexuality and suspense. In their place, he creates the character of Mr. Memory who will try to carry the formula out of the country in his head. The "thirty-nine steps" no longer identify a geographical location, but merely become the means of exposing the villain, who is easily recognizable in the film because he is missing the little finger of his right hand.