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Rare photo album commemorating The 39 Steps movie sells for £8,250


AbeBooks.co.uk has sold a rare presentation photograph album commemorating the 1935 movie version of John Buchan’s classic thriller The Thirty-Nine Steps. The book – containing more than 200 photographs – sold for £8,250 (approx. $12,500).

Probably one of only a handful produced by Lime Grove Studios as a gift to key people involved in the film’s production, the album chronicles the development of the film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Robert Donat as Richard Hannay.

The 39 Steps photo album

The album is a notable piece of British film memorabilia and the sale coincides with several John Buchan landmarks that occur in 2015. The Thirty-Nine Steps novel celebrates its 100th anniversary this year while Hitchcock’s movie version celebrates its 80th anniversary in June. In February, it will be 75 years since Buchan’s death.

It contains images showing the scenes, actors and sets, and 27 behind-the-scenes photos of Hitchcock and his crew at work. The film is ranked by the British Film Institute as the fourth best British film of the 20th century and helped to turn Hitchcock into a major force in the film industry.

Many of today’s thrillers owe much to the film thanks to elements such as an innocent man wrongly accused, suspense on a travelling train, an ordinary man doing extraordinary things, incompetent police and a blonde with a sharp tongue.

The Thirty-Nine Steps is an early example of the ‘man on the run’ adventure story. In the fast-paced plot, Hannay becomes embroiled in a spy hunt when a German double-agent is murdered in his apartment. He becomes the prime suspect and goes on the run as he tries to solve the mystery.

Buchan’s novel first appeared as a serial in Blackwood’s Magazine before being published as a book. In all, Buchan wrote five novels featuring Hannay. Donat went on to win an Oscar for best actor in Goodbye, Mr Chips in 1939.

Robert Donat as Richard Hannay

Key scenes from the film

Further scenes from the 1935 film

Robert Donat (left) and director Alfred Hitchcock

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