Richard Hannay & “Captain Fraser” in The 39 Steps

One scene from The 39 Steps that stands out to me is when Hannay is fleeing from the police and finds himself at a political campaign. At this event, Hannay is mistaken for decorated solider and statesman Captain Fraser.

Hannay does not want to give away his true identity, so he poses as Captain Fraser and gives an impromptu speech to an eager audience. This scene is intended as a moment of comic relief as the stakes begin to rise. However, I feel this moment in the film reveals something very important about Hannay’s growth as a character.

At the beginning of the film, Hannay is not a particularly interesting or charismatic person. After fleeing to the countryside for his life, Hannay surprises the audience, both outside and within the reality of the film. He delivers a powerful speech that calls for peace, fairness and common sense in British politics.

After this particular scene, Hannay is no longer the bland Canadian national we were first introduced to. Mentally, he has convinced himself to be the brave and bold “Captain Fraser”. He is determined to solving the mystery behind the “39 Steps” and nothing and/or nobody can stop him.

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