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The 39 Steps

A man in London tries to help a counter-espionage Agent. But when the Agent is killed, and the man stands accused, he must go on the run to save himself and stop a spy ring which is trying to steal top secret information, only getting help from his love interest.

Richard Hannay

Our first look at Hannay highlights how differently he dresses compared to the other men around him. He wears a light overcoat with the collar turned up to hide the bottom of his face, while the men around him wear dark overcoats and turned-down collars. The fact that he stands out at the very beginning sets the tone for how he will be looked for later, and the up-turned collar symbolizes how he will be hiding.


Pamela is first introduced as an independent woman riding in a private train car. She is wearing a simple black dress with a sailor collar and a large bow. The sailor collar and large bow are a visual draw that are associated with male sailors or the classic bowtie. This serves to further emphasize her independence. She also has a large book and is wearing reading glasses, which emphasizes the fact that she is an educated woman.

Changes in outfits

We see Hannay go through several costume changes, mostly in the efforts of evading his pursuers. He gets a darker overcoat from the Crofter’s home to hide better in the dark, and stops turning down the collar, as he realizes how it draws attention.

We also see Pamela go through several costume changes. Each time the bow we see on the front of her dress gets larger. This seems to contrast her actions, since the larger this masculine representation gets, the more of a helpful love interest she becomes.

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