Film ID:
NEFA 21357

OFF-BEAT

1963

Visitor Tabs

Description

An undercover policeman poses as a guitar player at Club Victor to help bust a drugs ring. He is outwitted by the green-fingered nightclub owner but finds a new vocation as a musician. This comic musical thriller was produced by Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA) and directed by a former dance band musician, George Cummin, who also wrote the songs. Club Victor is staged at the ACA headquarters on Ship’s Entry, off Cloth Market, Newcastle upon Tyne.

The film opens with a shot of the Flamingo Club entrance at night.

Title: Off-Beat

Shot of Grey’s Club entrance at night.

Close-up of newspaper with article headline “Drugs Drive Extended”.

Credits: With Sylvia Harding, Walter Clark, Ian Davidson, Jack Wrightson, Florence Richardson, Richard Street, Jim Mundy

Close-up of a pile of newspapers, one of the articles on the “North Shields drug drive”.

Credits:

Camera: Jim Mundy

Lights: Jack Wrightson, Geoff Richardson

Sound: David Watson, Robert Norman

Décor: Walter Clark

Props: Norah Cummin

Close-up of a pile of newspapers with headlines about the Rolling Stones drugs trial and another that reads: “Schoolboy sold drugs to pupils.”

Credits:

Words & Music by George Cummin

Played by John Sibbal, Cecil Almond, George Spraggon, Irvin Bamford, Alan Nicholson

Shot of a pile of newspapers, one article headlined “Drugs and the Law” referring to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

Credits: Directed and edited by George Cummin

[Credits over exterior shots of Newcastle nightclub exterior including La Dolce Vita and Club Victor (fictional)]

Close-up of a drum kit bass drum with the Club Victor logo.

Linda, a nightclub singer at Club Victor, is performing on stage with the house band. She is accompanied by a pianist, drummer and clarinettist. A few people are seated at tables having drinks. Victor, the nightclub owner, dressed in a dinner jacket and bow tie, is observing the scene.

More shots of the singer and band follow. The singer finishes and the audience applauds. She thanks the musicians and leaves the stage as the band continue to play background music at the club. She walks through the club back to her dressing room. A waiter serves customers drinks.

The singer leaves Club Victor by the alleyway entrance (actually the Newcastle ACA entrance down Ship Entry, off Cloth Market).

A policeman stops a car on the road at night. The nightclub singer is driving home late and greets her policeman friend by name. She explains she had to do extra songs because the new guitar player didn’t turn up. She adds: “They say he’s been picked up for some sort of drug offence.” The policeman is surprised there were drugs for sale on his patch. She says she’ll see him in the morning. He replies “If I’m awake”. “Bring your guitar” she says “I’ve got a new song I want you to hear.”

She drives off and he continues on his night beat.

Now in ordinary clothes, Mike the policeman arrives at a house, his guitar slung over his shoulder. The singer opens her front door to collect her milk and finds Mike on the doorstep. He jokingly says: “Open up in the name of the law.”

Linda lets him in and offers him tea, still dressed in her housecoat. He starts strumming the new song she’s written. The two duet as she makes a cup of tea.

Mike tells her he’s been promoted to “temporary detective” because he plays guitar and that he is going undercover. He explains that he has to get into Victors and needs an introduction as a guitar player in her band, as Victor may know him as a policeman. She says she’ll give him a trial as the musician busted for drugs wasn’t a very good guitarist either.

The singer is at the club early. Victor arrives with a floral display. She asks him if they’ve got another guitar player. He answers no. She introduces her friend Mike, who is wearing a ridiculous outfit and a wig. Victor is not impressed. But Linda makes a joke about the outfit. Victor lets him try out in the first show. Victor hands her the flower display. She gets Joseph, the waiter, to put the flowers in the club. Mike asks “What’s with the flowers?” She explains that Victor’s a great gardener, wins prizes and provides flowers for the club. Mike finds it a little odd.

Mike tries out with the band, singing and playing guitar for a swing musical number. A shady man in dark sunglasses in the audience is served a brandy at his table. Portrait shot of Mike singing “I got me a baby”. Close-up of him strumming the guitar.

After the performance, Victor agrees to Mike playing at the club. Linda arranges a practice session for the next day.

Next day, Mike waits on stage for the practice. A cleaner unplugs her hoover and lets Mike know he can plug in his guitar.

A man calls at the club for Victor. Victor hands over an envelope and receives a dodgy package in return. Mike witnesses the delivery. He follows Victor and spies on him locking up the package in his office desk. Linda catches him lurking outside the office and he signals her to keep quiet.

In their dressing room, Mike and Linda discuss the parcel dropped off, and the man Linda says does “odd jobs” for Victor. But Linda is more interested in discussing the show with Mike. They make a cup of tea. The time is nearly quarter to five.

Soon, the time is nearly five to midnight, time for the last show. Mike is reading a newspaper. Close-up of the headline: “Warning over plants in Shields drug drive.” Mike mulls this over. Linda calls him to the stage. He grabs his guitar, but sees Victor’s office door open and the light off as he makes his way to the stage. He looks into the club and spots Victor at one of the tables. He sneaks back to the office, unlocks the drawer and checks the parcel.

In the club, Victor refuses another drink, finishes his drink and leaves the table.

In the office, Mike unwraps the parcel only to discover a few plant cuttings inside. He takes a sample and replaces the parcel, just in time. He passes Victor in the corridor on his way back to the office.

Mike and Linda duet together in the club.

Victor comes back down to the club and has a word with the shady man in dark sunglasses, again seated in the audience. Mike notices the two in conversation while he performs, and believes his cover has been blown. Mike and Linda get good applause from the club audience.

Mike rushes off quickly after their show. As he rushes out of the club exit, a burly bloke tries to stop him. Mike brushes him off and runs off down the alley. The shady man in sunglasses tells his sidekick to leave him, they’ll get the girl first.

The house band is still on stage. A telephone rings and the waiter calls Linda over to the phone. Mike is in a telephone box making the call to Linda. He starts to talk about Victor “growing plants”. Linda stops him and says that someone at the club was asking for his address, and, yes, she had given it to them. She says that they wanted to “do him a good turn.” He explains that the plant sample he took from Victor’s drawer has already been sent for police analysis. Linda looks concerned.

Back at Linda’s house, she is having tea with Mike. The doorbell rings. A policeman arrives. “The ‘super’ sent your greenery back. He says even you ought to recognise a sweet pea when you see one.” The policeman sits down in an armchair and tells them that the guitar player confessed to getting his drugs from Birmingham before he even came to North Shields. He says that the super will be happier when Mike stops playing private eye. “He thinks you have too much imagination for a detective. He wants you back on the old beat.”

Mike refuses. He says that he and Linda have been asked to sign up for a big club circuit. (The shady man in sunglasses was actually a music agent.) Mike and Linda do a duet.

A newspaper lays on a table, one of the headlines “Policeman Mike finds a new beat.”

Back at the club, Victor is seated at a table. Joseph, the waiter, pours them both a glass of wine. Victor talks about losing Linda and needing a replacement. Joseph replies that at least they have got rid of the guitar playing policeman. Victor agrees and asks Joseph to tell Nicky to resume delivery again next week. “The proper stuff this time. No sweet peas.” They laugh and sip their wine.

Title: “And they all lived hippily ever after.” The End