Based on the 1915 novel by John Buchan, Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 film The 39 Steps is a gateway to his cinema. The 39 Steps foreshadows many of the stylistic tendencies and fundamental themes that would follow in Hitchcock’s subsequent films. The themes that are most strongly represented in the film are that of the falsely accused man and the theater.

The theme of a falsely accused man is essential to Hitchcock’s cinema. This theme would occur again in such films as Secret Agent (1936), Young and Innocent (1937), Foreign Correspondent (1940), Saboteur (1942), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Strangers on a Train (1951), To Catch a Thief (1955), The Wrong Man (1956), Vertigo (1958), North By Northwest (1959), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934 and 1956), Torn Curtain (1966), and Frenzy (1972). This theme, which has become paramount to Hitchcock’s cinema, is connected to another important Hitchcockian theme: the…

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