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Analysis of 7 Films by Alfred Hitchcock

The 39 Steps (1935) is an entertaining film that begins and ends in a music hall. William Hannay (Robert Donat) meets Annabella Smith (Lucie Mannheim) at the music hall on the last night of Hannay's life before he plays out one of Hitchcock's favorite themes -- the innocent man on the run. This film is characterized by dark lighting and atmosphere balanced by light-hearted humor.

Briefly, the story begins in a Music Hall where Hannay, a Canadian living in London, meets the mysterious Annabella Smith who says she is a spy being followed by spies. He doesn't quite believe her until early the next morning when she falls dead with a knife in her back. From that point on he is on the run. Using Annabella's map, he goes to Scotland to try to prove his innocence. He tries to hide in Pamela's (Madeleine Carroll) compartment on the train, but she turns him in to the police. He gets away time and again as both police and spies chase him across the countryside. He ends up being handcuffed to the same woman who turned him in the first time round. She eventually believes in his innocence, however, and helps him to track down the spy ring and the state secret that is being taken out of the country.

One of the first noticeable characteristics of this film is the lighting and atmosphere. Almost all the shots take place at night or in the foggy gloom. Annabella's appearance is dark, she wears dark clothing, is a brunette and dies dramatically, whereas Pamela is a blonde and partakes in some of the more humorous scenes. The few day shots that do show up are either gloomy or instances of betrayal, when Hannay believes he has finally found someone who can help him only to be deceived. For example, when Hannay is betrayed at Professor Jordan's house, whom he believes can prove his innocence, only to find out that Jordan is one of the spies. Then, he gets shot by Jordan and goes to the sheriff, only to be arrested yet again. In this mov...

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Analysis of 7 Films by Alfred Hitchcock. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 09:48, May 21, 2019, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1695749.html