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A contemporary setting of John Buchan's classic novel - Engineer Richard Hannay finds himself caught up with analyst Kate Maybury, as they race against the clock to save the country from the Thirty Nine Steps.
The year is 1914 and Richard Hannay, Mining Engineer who is visiting Britain for a short time before returning to South Africa, is shocked when one of his neighbours, Colonel Scudder, bursts into his rooms one night and tells him a story that Prussian 'sleeper' agents are planning to pre-start World War I by murdering a visiting foreign minister. However, Scudder is murdered and Hannay is framed for the death by the 'sleepers'. Fleeing to Scotland Hannay attempts to clear his name and to stop the agents with the aid of Alex Mackenzie but not only is he is chased by Chief Supt Lomas for Scudder's death but by the agents who is headed by Appleton who has managed to hide himself in a high-placed position in the British Government...Written by
R Houghton's review claims that "...with this version, we finally get the story as it was written."
This is a very long way from true. To note only three departures, the thirty-nine steps of the original text do not refer to the steps leading up to Beg Ben, but to a staircase leading from a house in Bradgate down to the sea; in the original text, Scudder is knifed in Hannay's flat; and the scene of Hannay clinging to the hands of the clock appears nowhere in Buchan's novel.
But all that said, this production is a fine piece of work in its own right, having great pace, style and atmosphere, and with some first-class acting from Robert Powell.
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