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Still photos from Hitchcock's "Mountain Eagle" film up for auction

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A newly discovered collection of still photos from Alfred Hitchcock's lost silent film "The Mountain Eagle" is going up for auction in Los Angeles next month.

On Thursday, auction house Profiles in History said the 59 photos were made for the British thriller director's personal archive in the 1920s. Thirty-five of the photos come from Hitchcock's 1929 silent film "The Manxman," and 24 from "The Mountain Eagle," which are expected to attract the most interest.

The photos are expected to fetch more than $25,000 at the December 15-16 auction.

Profiles in History described them as a rare Hollywood treasure, and a window into one of the most searched-for lost films in history.

No prints have been found of Hitchcock's 1926 film "The Mountain Eagle," which is one of the top movies in the British Film Institute's quest for lost films. Only a few still photos have turned up of the black and white film, which Hitchcock described as "awful."

Researchers have said it was set in Kentucky, but filmed in Austria. The plot revolved around a wicked father, a crippled son and a teacher.

The auction house declined to name the seller, saying the photos came from a source close to Hitchcock who had saved them for decades, unaware of which films they came from.

"The Mountain Eagle" was the second of Hitchcock's more than 50 films. He is best known for his classic thrillers, including "Psycho" and "The Birds."

Hitchcock died in 1980 at the age of 80. His legacy is being re-examined in the upcoming feature film "Hitchcock," starring Anthony Hopkins, and the HBO film "The Girl" starring Toby Jones as the master of suspense.

(Reporting By Jill Serjeant; Editing by Stacey Joyce)

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