James Stewart, Kincardineshire, 1959

20 May
James Stewart

James Stewart, Kincardineshire, Wednesday October 28, 1959 (c) Herald & Times Group

It’s a miracle this photograph of James Stewart exists, given that he came to Scotland for five days in the autumn of 1959 with no fanfare or fuss – only a passing mention in the Daily Record at the start of that week. Accompanied by a picture of him with his wife Gloria in London, the item quoted the 51-year-old star of such all-time-great movies as It’s a Wonderful Life as saying: “I don’t know anybody in Scotland. I’ll be staying in Stonehaven, Kincardineshire, just relaxing and shooting.”

At the time of his visit, Stewart had most recently been seen on Scottish screens in the masterful psychological thriller Vertigo, the last in a run of films he made with Alfred Hitchcock in the 1950s. His latest film was Anatomy of a Murder, the Otto Preminger-directed courtroom drama which had been causing an unprecedented amount of controversy back home in the States, since it dealt quite explicitly with the subject of rape.

Like the character he played in Anatomy of a Murder, Stewart was very much the outdoors type who liked to escape to the countryside to relax. It’s probable that his Scottish sejour was the antidote to the media hoopla that followed the new film as it opened around the world through the second half of 1959.

The Bulletin caption for this photo simply reported that Stewart had thoroughly enjoyed a day’s pheasant shooting on the moors of Kincardineshire. Later he said: “We bagged three or four. I confess we saw plenty which are still flying.”

(c) Alison Kerr (2013). This photo, along with 15 others, can currently be seen in the Stars in Scotland exhibition at the Dunoon Film Festival.

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One Response to “James Stewart, Kincardineshire, 1959”

  1. Muso October 16, 2016 at 12:02 pm #

    There is film of James Stewarts visit. He was filmed by the father of a friend of mine on his 8mm camera. I saw the film in which he is pheasant shooting near Banchory, looks exactly like that in the image on your site.

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