The 39 Steps Hitchcock Essay Research Paper

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The 39 Steps, Hitchcock Essay, Research Paper Throughout the film The Thirty-Nine Steps, there are many symbols and parallels between outside forces in the world. There were also many firsts for Hitchcock as a filmmaker which paved the way for his illustrious career. Among these symbols and themes are spies, marriage and religion. We see spies throughout the movie, very possibly symbolizing the growing power of Nazi Germany. We see the illness of an arranged marriage, and also a pretend marriage between the male and female stars. A man torn between religion and greed furthers Hitchcock s symbolism. The Thirty-Nine Steps seems to have been heralded as Hitchcock s first real masterpiece, bringing acclaim to Hitchcock for the first time from audiences in the United States.

Robert Donat, our protagonist, appears as a man who cannot fully understand his position, yet is caught on the run for his life after being framed for murder with no eyewitness. He runs from citizens, police, and a group of spies, not knowing whom he can trust in any situation. Madeleine Carroll stars his opposite, who would prove to be the first in a long succession of classic, cool and icy, intelligent blonde maidens (Dirks, 1). Yet, this cool blonde is not introduced at the beginning of the film; we first meet the starkly contrasting Anabella Smith. Rather than the straightforward blonde, she is the dark and mysterious brunette. She tells Hannay in his dark and dreary apartment that she fired the shots in the theater to divert attention so she could make a getaway. Hannay

coyly quips, beautiful and mysterious woman pursued by gunmen. Sounds like a spy story. Little did he know that this foreshadowed the next 4 days of his life. Hannay thinks her crazy when she tells him of the 39 Steps, a spy organization, but believes her when he sees the two agents outside on the street. Smith tells Hannay, I m going to tell you something which is not very healthy to know, but now that they have followed me here, you are in it as much as I am. She explains that she is a mercenary counterspy from an unnamed country helping the British against her own people. Although which country she works for is not acknowledged, it is presumably Nazi Germany (Dirks, 1). Having a spy working for Nazi Germany in his film, makes all too much sense for Hitchcock in 1935. In 1932,

a few years after Hitler s prison sentence and the publishing of his Nazi ideology, Mein Kampf, Adolph Hitler narrowly lost the presidential election in Germany, yet still the Nazis won 196 out of 584 seats in new elections. In 1933, as Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected President of the United States, Hitler assumed the office of Chancellor and headed a coalition ministry. Unfortunately for the world the president of Germany died in 1934, which paved the way for combining the office of the President and the Chancellor, and Hitler became popularly known by the title of Fuhrer. This unfortunately led to the dissolvement of other parties, and Hitler became a dictator. Hitler possessed supreme legislative, executive and judicial powers (Textbook). Hitler controlled all foreign affairs

and Nazified all aspects of human life. Most of the world was letting Hitler s actions at the time go by without protest. Britain considered Germany to be ‘Right’ on moral grounds (Textbook). Western powers did not interfere with Hitler until his advancements came strongly. Winston Churchill said that these Western powers came closer at the last possible moment on the worst possible ground (Textbook). All of this must have been intriguing to a filmmaker, especially one that was accustomed (or growing accustomed) to making spy films in Europe. Symbolically, it seems that it would make sense for Hitchcock to put a German defector into a short but utterly important role in the movie. While the country was not at war, it was in a deep depression. The film is based on a spy