Thursday, January 24, 2013
February 26........In Daventry, Robert Watson-Watt first
demonstrates the use of radar.
March 12 ............Speed limit in built-up areas reduced
to 30 m.p.h.
May 6 .................Silver Jubilee celebrations for King George V.
May 31 ..............The driving test becomes required
June 7 .................Ramsay MacDonald retires; Stanley Baldwin takes over as Prime Minister.
June 18 ...............Anglo-German Naval Agreement: Britain
agrees to a German navy equal to 35% of her
own naval tonnage.
June ...................Alfred Hitchcock's ﬁlm The 39 Steps released
in the U.K.
July 12 ................Rioting breaks out in Belfast following Orange parades; by the end of
August, eight Protestants and five Catholics have been killed, hundreds
injured and over 2,000 homes destroyed (almost all Catholic).
July 30 ................Allen Lane founds Penguin Books to publish the ﬁ rst mass market
paperbacks in Britain.
September 12 .....An underground explosion at North
Gawber (Lidgett) colliery, Barnsley,
South Yorkshire, kills nineteen.
October ..............First steel produced from new works at
October 8 ..........Clement Attlee is appointed as interim
leader of the Labour Party in succession
to George Lansbury.
November 4 ......Opening of Hornsey Town Hall,
London, designed by Reginald Uren,
the ﬁrst major U.K. building in the
November 6 ......Maiden ﬂ ight of the Royal Air Force’s
Hawker Hurricane ﬁ ghter aircraft.
November 14 ......In the General Election, Prime Minister
Stanley Baldwin is returned to ofﬁ ce at
the head of a National Government led
by the Conservative Party with a large
but reduced majority.
November 26 ......–In the Labour Party leadership
election, Clement Attlee is conﬁrmed
– Release of Scrooge, the first all-
talking full-length ﬁlm version of
Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol,
with Sir Seymour Hicks in the title role.
December 10 ......James Chadwick wins the Nobel Prize
in Physics for the discovery of the
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Hitchcock's Methods for Suspense
In his more than 60 years of filmmaking,
Hitchcock (1899-1980) specialized in tales
of intrigue, be they murder mysteries or
suspenseful tales of adventure or psychological
revelation. His techniques for building tension
• a man on the run, often an innocent man
• an icy blonde—who may change
temperature when aroused by danger
• perspective shots that parallel a person's
• framing shots to heighten fear and
manipulate audience emotion
• chase scenes, often including a landmark
(in this film, the Forth Bridge over the Firth
of Forth north of Edinburgh, Scotland
• restricted spaces or train journeys
• zoom shots, crosscutting, and montages
• endings with a twist
• decoy elements or "MacGuffins" that seem
to be crucial to the plot (critics consider the
MacGuffin in The 39 Steps to be the stolen
• withholding information
In his films, he often cast actors against
type, especially Cary Grant and James Stewart
who each made four films with
Hitchcock. Among his leading ladies were Ingrid
Bergman and Grace Kelly, who made three films
each with Hitchcock.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Monday, January 7, 2013
John Buchan, the author of The 39 Steps,
was a man of many interests. Born in
Scotland, he lived between 1875‐1940. He
also lived in England before moving to
Canada and becoming Canada’s Governor
General in 1935.
Buchan wrote for his own pleasure and by
the end of his life, amassed more than 100
works. He used his experiences and
interests to inspire his writing. The 39 Steps
was as written over two years (1914‐15)
while Buchan was recovering from an ulcer.
Prior to this illness, Buchan was involved in
the war effort – in secret intelligence work.
He also worked as a war correspondent
where he met the man who would inspire
character Richard Hannay – the protagonist
of The 39 Steps. Hannay’s character would
reappear in other novels by Buchan.
The novel, set
War, tells the
story of Hannay
who finds mself
on the run from a
group of German
spies after he
There are no
female characters in the novel, something
changed by Hitchcock when he adapted the
story for his film version.