Film ID:
NEFA 21258

ACA STORY

1977

Visitor Tabs

Description

This 1977 compilation was made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA). It consists of extracts from the cine club’s films, documentary footage of film shoots and studio work, and presentations at the club, from the club’s first decade through to the 1960s.

Title: The ACA Story

Title: Being some account of the films. film-making and other activities of the Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA) since its founding in 1927

The compilation opens with sequences from the Newcastle ACA production of ‘The Regeneration of Reggie’ (1929) as follows:

 A back shot of a row of young women in knee length skirts, leaning over the wall of the Spanish City roof top terrace in Whitley Bay for the view. Women stroll around the terrace in the breeze. People promenade beside a boating pool at Whitley Bay’s Spanish City. Reggie gets scared on a fairground ride and keeps trying to grab the girl seated next to him, much to her annoyance.

Title: Obviously “A Fool and his Money”, he is closely watched.

As Reggie is strolling down a country road alone, he is attacked from behind with a crowbar by a down-on-his luck mugger, who knocks him down and steals his wallet. Reggie is left for dead beside the road. Luckily a man stops his car and checks him, sees he has been injured and drags him into his car.

After his recovery, Reggie returns home and rushes over to greet his best friend, Vera, who is thrilled to see him again. They hold each other, but Vera’s troublesome would-be suitor ‘Bunty’ Harcourt appears suddenly. Like a real he-man, Reggie sees off the bullying man and Vera is delighted.

Back home, Reggie and Vera exchange a passionate kiss on the sofa.

Title: “The sudden silence and reserve when near. The eye that glistens with an unshed tear. Thus doth love speak.”

The next sequences are from a compilation of local topical news, ‘Local Events 1929 – 1934’, which features the opening of the North East Coast Exhibition of Industry, Science and Art in Newcastle upon Tyne on Tuesday 14 May 1929, located on a site in the south-eastern corner of the Town Moor to the west of the Great North Road. A military regiment on horseback form a ceremonial guard of honour for the arrival of HRH Prince Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII), in full military uniform. Top military officers and numerous civic dignitaries, including Councillor Arthur W. Lambert, Lord Mayor of Newcastle upon Tyne, in his ceremonial chains of office, and the mace-bearer, accompany the prince through the crowds. On a very windy day, a religious figure (probably the Bishop of Newcastle) addresses the crowd from the royal stand. Large crowds walk into the exhibition grounds through the imposing entrance towers. Also featured are shots of the Highland Games that take place in the sports stadium at the North East Coast Exhibition, with competition action in Highland dance, throwing the hammer, shotput and tossing the caber.

Next, there are extracts from a record by members of the Newcastle Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA) of an historical pageant of Newcastle and the North that takes place in Leazes Park, Newcastle, between 20 - 25 July 1931. The pageant involved the re-enactment of nearly 2,000 years of history, with 6,000 performers in full period dress, a chorus of 500, and an orchestra of 100. A covered auditorium housed 4,000 spectators. The episodes shown are as follows:

Title: Episode 5. Marriage of Princess Margaret to James IV A.D. 1503

An impatient James IV takes the hand of a young English Princess Margaret, escorted by lords and ladies of the North to the borderlands between England and Scotland north of Berwick-upon-Tweed.  The Archbishop of Glasgow kisses her hand and curtsies.

Title: Episode 6. Mary Queen of Scots in Cumberland. A.D. 1568

Mary Queen of Scots rides in, accompanied by an escort of four gentries. This is possibly a scene recording the arrival of the queen at Carlisle Castle, Cumberland. She is greeted by a man in distinguished clothing, probably an actor playing Richard Lowther, the sheriff of Cumberland, who briefly is her guardian at the castle.

General view of the huge crowd at the pageant, people still arriving for the performance.

An actor in medieval armour and chain mail, playing the ‘Spirit of the Borderland’, takes a break with a cigarette, resting on the seat of a parked truck, and grinning to camera as he smokes. The "Spirit of the Border" actor makes his entrance on horseback, a mass of elfin children following him and saluting with raised arms.

The final scene featured may be a funeral procession for Lord Derwentwater. Monks accompany a draped coffin on a cart pulled by oxen.

Edited extracts follow from the 1930s ACA production ‘What Shall I Wear?’, a romance that does not go according to plan after a couple get engaged and the young woman visits her fiancé’s relatives. She comes a cropper in a paper chase when she wears the wrong clothes, and falls prey to a young cad who rescues her, but ultimately attempts to seduce her in his car. The scenes are featured out of their original sequence.

Next, there are brief extracts from another 1930s production, which records the spectacle of the 1934 Northern Command Tattoo at Ravensworth Castle, Lamesley, Gateshead, including an enactment of George and the Dragon with a motorised fire-breathing dragon, and a performance in costume to commemorate the visit to the castle of the Duke of Wellington (and also Sir Walter Scott), entertained by Lord and Lady Ravensworth in October 1827. Mounted soldiers in old military uniforms carrying torches precede the arrival of guests in a carriage, welcomed by two women in long satin gowns.

The next amateur fiction film production in this compilation is ‘Out of the Drum’, also made in the 1930s, which features actress Doris Graham as a very unfashionable secretary, Miss Brown, winning money on the Irish Sweepstake and blowing it on an outfit at Georges in Northumberland Street, Newcastle upon Tyne. This extract shows a succession of models who display the shop’s latest fashions, from pencil skirt suits to ankle-length evening dress. One woman models a long, striped halter neck dress, which Miss Brown finds far too risqué. She falls for a flouncy long dress with matching bonnet.

Moving into the 1940s and the post-war period for the cine club, a Newcastle ACA photographer is on the street to film the commemorative Victory Parade that took place in central Newcastle upon Tyne on 8th June 1946. These extracts from the documentary, made by members including George Cranston, show the parade with army tanks heading to the saluting base at Eldon Square. The final shots are of the firework display, including Catherine Wheels, which closed out the day of celebrations in the city.

Then there are extracts from a Kodachrome Newcastle ACA production called ‘The House with the Golden Windows’, which was an adaptation of an American fable evoking childhood innocence and a young boy’s aspiration in a picturesque Northumbrian valley and encounter with a tramp.

Brief extracts follow from the colour period drama ‘The House in Docherty Square: A Tale of Old Shields’, based on an old Tyneside sea-faring tale. It was made in 1948 and photographed by A. H. Garland, and features actress Isla Gledhill as a beautiful young woman who lures sailors home to her mother’s boarding house, where they rob and murder their victims. She spots the arrival of a ship from her perch in sand dunes, ensnares a sailor and accompanies him back through some of the oldest parts of Newcastle upon Tyne near the Castle Keep to ‘Mrs McHarg’s Boarding House.

In the next sequence, men and women toast in the New Year in a short film called ‘The Northumbrian Custom of First-Footing’ from 1950.

The following sequences included in the compilation are records of Newcastle ACA film crews shooting on location for a number of commissioned films and features. These include cameramen filming motorcycle action at a Travers Trophy Trial and the Belmont Senior Grand National Scramble at Belmont Park, Durham, both in 1955.

An ACA crew head through the streets of Newcastle with equipment. Extracts of highlights from the 1951 Gang Show at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle, follow.

There’s footage of a production crew filming scenes for a 1952 production, ‘Flowers for Peter’, showing the dance hall scene. Young men and women rock and roll to the Panama Jazzmen on stage, with Gordon Hetherington directing teenagers kissing and smoking at the bop. There are further production scenes from the same film down on the Ouseburn river and boatyard in Newcastle.

Filming takes place for a nightclub scene in the 1960s ACA production ‘Off-Beat’.

An ACA member grins jokily as he holds up a clapper board for a film shoot. The ACA film unit set up the camera for a scene outside the Park Hotel, Tynemouth, that will feature in the movie ‘In Pawn’.

A film crew set up on a quayside, probably on the River Tyne, for a location shoot on the award-winning film PC Grubb’s Last Case. Staithes on the river are seen in the background. Amateur filmmaker George Cummin sets up lights in a street and the rest of the crew follow with more lights and equipment. On the same film, George Cummin and the cameraman are filming the court room scene.

General view of the movie production company, Brent Laboratories on the North Circular Road, Cricklewood, London. George Cummin arrives at the labs carrying a can of film and is greeted by two staff from the lab. Cummin recorded his one-take commentaries at the sound studios here in the 1950s.

The next shots are taken from an amateur travelogue made by George Cummin called ‘Downstream through Durham’. They include landscape views, footage of Durham Regatta and of Durham Miners’ Gala in the 1950s.

After a shot of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953 on a new black and white TV, there is footage of Norah Cummin walking through Newcastle to the Ship’s Entry premises of the Newcastle ACA, George Cummin addressing members in the screening room, and filming taking place there for a night club scene in ‘Off-Beat’. Women wash up afterwards.

Extracts from the film ‘The Secret of Ship’s Entry’ follow. Morris Burdon discovers the alley called Ship’s Entry, off the Cloth Market, Newcastle, where Newcastle & District ACA have their headquarters. A brief scene is included from the colour historical flashback, which features in the pre-dominantly black and white film. 

Scenes from the ghost story ‘Country Cottage’ filmed around Blanchland in Northumberland in the1950s feature next, including the discovery of a body in a broken-down car in the garage.

Moving into the 1960s, there is colour footage of trophy presentations at Newcastle & District ACA, Ship’s Entry, followed by a rapid selection of shots and outtakes from a film commissioned by the (joint) councils of Newcastle & Blaydon, ‘The Centenary of Blaydon Races 1862-1962’, which was produced and edited by George Cummin. The film involved eight separate 16mm crews working during the week of celebrations, including Jack Wrightson, Reg Townsend, Ian Davidson, Reg Hall, Geoff Richardson, Doug Collender, Morris Burdon, David Watson, Keith Venn, Walter Clark, Leslie Greaves, and Jack Whillis.

Back in 1956 and the early 1960s, a member of the Newcastle ACA filmed two large events that took place in Exhibition Park, Newcastle upon Tyne. Clips from the Royal Agricultural Society of England Royal Show of 1962, and the ’Summer Holiday Fair’ with parades of juvenile jazz bands, are included here.

In 1963 a course and cryptic clues were concocted by Newcastle ACA member Reg. Townsend for a fun ‘Cine Car Rally’ in which many members took part. Cars gather at the beginning of the rally from Newcastle and travelling shots along the route are also pictured in this colour extract. Back at the Newcastle & District ACA clubhouse at Ship’s Entry, a presentation of prizes takes place, including Reg. Townsend speaking.

In this final sequence, a Newcastle ACA film crew, including long-standing member George Cummin as director, work on the set up for a shoot on a 1959 commission for the Tyneside Film Society’s Silver Jubilee.

Title: To Be Continued