The Plot and Nothing More: A Concise Reading of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The 39 Steps”

Hitchcock’s 1935 film, and the first true masterpiece of his career, The 39 Steps, is perhaps his purest distillation of cinematic storytelling as a wholly self-contained experience. We open on the flashing marquee of the “Music Hall.” We enter through the POV of a character. His hand is our hand as we buy our ticket; his feet are our feet as we enter…