Film ID: NEFA 21330 Video of NEFA_21330 BONAVENTURE BONAVENTURE 1931 Visitor TabsDescription Produced by the Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA) in 1931, this amateur underworld thriller about a foiled industrial espionage plot was filmed at Blyth and around the River Ouseburn and Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne. The film features an exciting car chase, rescue scenes with the 1st Tyne Troop Sea Scouts, and a daring aeroplane escape by the gang’s devious femme fatale. [Reel 1] Title: Bonaventure [over shot of the Bonaventure schooner moored in Blyth] Credit: Written and Directed by James Cameron Junr. Portrait shot of James Cameron Junior. Credit: Photographed by Gladys Davison Portrait shot of Gladys Davison smiling. Credit: Titles by Janet M. Cameron Credit: Cast Credit: T. Brooke Davison as Edward Harding Portrait shot of the actor smoking a pipe. Credit: Janet M. Cameron as Mollie West Portrait shot of Janet M. Cameron Credit: J Jeffrey as Philip Schroeder Portrait shot of J. Jeffrey smoking a cigarette on a Newcastle rooftop, a United Kingdom Provident […] advertisement on a wall in the background. Credit: Doris M. Graham as Valerie De Lisle Portrait shot of Doris M. Graham Credit: James Cameron as John West Portrait shot of the grey-haired James Cameron Senior. He talks as he takes off his glasses. Credit: Margaret Forster as Peggy Harding Portrait shot of Margaret Forster smiling. Credit: Sea Scouts & Loafers from 1st Tyne Troop Sea Scouts Credit: Scoutmaster S.D. Newton Title: In the office of Messrs. M.L. Rennis & Sons Laurenco Marques East Africa In the offices of M. L. Rennis & Sons, secret industrial papers detailing an invention are placed carefully in a briefcase and locked. The key is handed to the pipe-smoking Ted Harding. Title: “It’s a hard task, Harding. Schroeder is after the invention.” Title: “Don’t worry Sir. I’ll get the papers through.” The company man lights a cigarette. The delivery of the papers to Newcastle upon Tyne is to be in the hands of Edward Harding. Title: Homeward Bound A steam cargo ship crosses the ocean from Africa carrying Ted Harding as a passenger Harding’s wife, Peggy, is at the home of John and Mollie West. They are in the garden reading a telegram from Ted. Title: “Ted is due on Thursday – by cargo boat.” The steam cargo ship continues on its voyage. Title: Meanwhile Ted makes friends with the only other passenger. Ted Harding and Valerie de Lisle are on the ship’s bridge with the Captain. Harding joins Miss de Lisle on deck where he covers himself with a blanket as he sits down in a deck chair. The two chat and swap pleasantries. They spend time together during the voyage, playing deck quoits, smoking whilst watching the sun go down. Title: Thursday morning The steam cargo ship sails by. Peggy Harding leaves home to meet her husband on the ship’s arrival. Ted Harding and Valerie de Lisle are saying goodbye on board the ship. She drops a crumpled letter, which he picks up for her. She hands him her calling card. Title: “Goodbye Mr Harding. I hope to see you again sometime.” They part. Harding watches her leave the deck. Peggy Harding arrives at the docks. As Valerie de Lisle hastily leaves the ship, Peggy walks to the boarding stairs and greets her husband with a kiss. They too leave the ship. The devious Valerie de Lisle is greeted beside a nearby warehouse by Philip Schroeder, who doffs his hat. Title: “You got my wireless?” Dressed in a Trilby and trench coat, criminal mastermind, Schroeder, nods and takes out the message. He gives a whistle. One of his henchmen, a rough-looking gangster in a flat cap, races over, along with two other gang members. He quickly leaves with Valerie de Lisle, whilst one of the gangsters hides around the corner of the warehouse. As Harding and his wife walk by on the quayside, arm-in-arm, he snatches the briefcase, catching Harding unawares, and races to the getaway car, which he jumps onto as it is driven away at speed. De Lisle, Schroeder and his henchman watch from a safe distance, pleased when they see everything going according to plan. Ted Harding and his wife give chase in their car. Another of Schroeder’s men waits in front of the Ship Tavern down a shady cobbled street (actually located beside the River Ouseburn in Newcastle upon Tyne), whilst another ruffian waits as a look-out in the street. The briefcase is thrown to the man from the gang’s car, Harding giving chase and not too far behind. The look-out runs off with the briefcase, Harding following him past the Ship’s Tavern beneath the Glasshouse Bridge. Hardy’s wife tries to keep up with them. But Harding is jumped by two of the gangsters who drag him away. As Peggy Harding approaches, one of the ruffians throws a knife, which sticks in the fence beside her as a deadly warning. She hurries back to the car, terrified. Ted Harding is bundled down a sewer in a patch of wasteland, which leads down to the river. They tie him up and put him in a rowing boat, which they push off into the Ouseburn. Harding tries to sit up as the boat sails downstream, heading for the River Tyne. The two gang members replace the sewer cover and escape. The Wests are gardening and await the return of Peggy and Ted Harding with details of the secret invention. They hear a car approach. Overhead shot as Peggy’s car pulls up and she shouts up to them in the garden of their hillside house in the Newcastle suburbs. Title: “Ted has been kidnapped.” The Wests rush down and get in the car. [Reel 2] Title: The Bonaventure sets sail The Bonaventure sails into South Harbour at Blyth, on the Northumbrian coast, past a long coal staithe. One of the 1st Tyne Sea Scouts looks through his spy glass and points. The Captain looks through his binoculars. A vignette shot shows a rowing boat adrift on the sea with Harding tied up in the boat. Some Sea Scouts manage to get on board, pull in the boat and untie Harding. The troop help him on board their training ship, the Bonaventure, loosen his tie and clothing and make sure he is breathing. He starts to get up. Harding is now with the Captain, Scoutmaster S.D. Newton. The 1st.Tyne Sea Scout Troop man the rigging and sails. Harding watches the capable scouts at work. He points over to the quayside at which he had landed on his ship from Africa and talks to the Captain. The Sea Scouts row Ted Hardy and the Captain to the quayside, where Harding looks around. He picks up the crumpled message Valerie de Lisle had wired to Schroeder. Title: The searchers discuss their next move. The Wests and Peggy Harding walk down by the River Ouseburn looking for Ted Harding. Suddenly he appears, having been saved by the Sea Scout troop, and runs toward them. The group are all smiles. Title: “I’ll explain later: in the meantime, I’m calling on a certain lady.” He shows them Valerie de Lisle’s calling card. He recounts the story of Valerie de Lisle on the ship and their farewell when she dropped the message. The three walk past the boatyard on the Ouseburn. Their car arrives at the address of Valerie de Lisle. Title: “Follow that fellow and you, Peg, come in with me.” Harding and his wife separate from the Wests to pay a visit to the duplicitous De Lisle. A maid delivers a letter to Valerie de Lisle as she relaxes in her large garden. The maid then brings the Harding’s in to see her. She invites them to sit down. Title: “Is this yours?” Harding confronts her with the crumpled message she had dropped on the quayside. Title: “I must have dropped it on the way to the Quay.” She coolly takes a cigarette. Harding speaks quietly to his wife. Title: “Don’t let her out of your sight” Valerie de Lisle sits down. Ted Harding leaves the house. De Lisle feigns a faint. Peggy Harding fails to revive her and rushes off to get water. De Lisle makes her escape. When Peggy returns, she has gone. She runs off in pursuit of the villain. Meanwhile, Schroeder is at his secret warehouse hide-out at the Quayside. His henchman hands him the briefcase and lets him into the warehouse. Then rushes off. De Lisle telephones Schroeder to warn him that Harding is on his trail. Schroeder begins to break into the locked briefcase, then answers de Lisle’s call. Title: “Be careful. Harding is on the way down.” He checks the secret papers are in the briefcase. Valerie de Lisle gets to her car and drives off, Peggy too late to stop her. Peggy hails a No. 6A bus. The Wests drive up with news and pick up Ted Harding. Title: “We’ve tracked him, he is Schroeder and he has a place on the Quayside.” The Wests back up the car and Harding gets in. [Reel 3] Ted Harding and the Wests arrive at Schroeder’s warehouse on the Quayside. Harding bursts in and confronts Schroeder at his desk. But Schroeder’s henchman sneaks up and hits him over the head. He is knocked out. Outside, Peggy Harding has made it to the Quayside. But she is jumped by Schroeder’s gang and bundled into the office, gagged and tied up. Schroeder and his gang escape through a window round the back. The Wests are still waiting outside the front door to Schroeder’s hide-out, unaware of developments inside. Title: “Wait here. I’ll investigate.” John West goes inside, leaving Mollie outside. He discovers Peggy Harding and helps her out of the gag and cord ties. They check on the unconscious Ted. Valerie de Lisle sneaks in the warehouse, finding the Wests rather than Schroeder. She grabs the briefcase and gets away in her car, parked in a cobbled back street with gas street lamps. Schroeder’s gang make a strategic move onto the warehouse roof, two of the gang jumping down to attack Hardy’s wife. Suddenly, the 1st.Tyne Sea Scout Troop and their Scoutmaster come to the Hardings’ rescue, appearing from the warehouse roof, and down the street. They jump the crooks enthusiastically and a big fight ensues, the crooks coming off badly in the scrum. Peggy Harding alerts her husband to Schroeder’s escape and Ted Harding chases after him onto the roof of a Quayside building. They fight and Schroeder falls off the building to his death. The Scouts and Peggy Harding check his pockets and discover the important papers on him. Valerie de Lisle is speeding up the Great North Road. She stops the car. She swaps her jacket for a leather flying coat and races off across the Town Moor with the briefcase she believes to contain the secret papers, now trailed by the Wests. The scene cuts to an airfield (actually Cramlington Airfield), where a plane awaits De Lisle (Reg. No. G-AADA). She gets into the cockpit. The plane takes off, seeming to swoop low over the Wests. Title: Later Ted and Peggy Harding stroll through a walled garden and sit on a bench in the sunshine. Title: “I must write Rennis.” Peggy fetches him a telegram form. Ted composes a message. The Wests arrive. They appear concerned, not yet aware the industrial secrets are safe. Title: “It’s all right. Schroeder had the papers on him.” Title: “Then she took an empty bag!” They all laugh. This industrial espionage has been foiled. Harding shows the Wests his telegram to Rennis: “Papers Safe. Schroeder Beaten. After A Bon Aventure. Waiting. Harding.” West congratulates Harding on a job well done. The Hardings walk away into the gardens to be alone. Ted pulls down a leafy branch and he and his wife disappear into the foliage. Title: The End Context This is an interesting film as women are very much at the centre of the subterfuge. Strong independent women who smoke, drive and even fly. Aeroplanes had been used for military purposes in the First World War and were then increasingly used for civil aviation in the 1920s. They offered a sense of modernity and spirited adventure. The famous aviator Amy Johnson, received her pilot’s license in 1929 and undertook the first solo flight from England to Australia in 1930, just one year before our film was made. The 1920s was a decade of pivotal political, economic and social change, shaped by the impact of the First World War, the demand for political equality for women and all men, and by increased technology such as the BBC and cinema, not forgetting the motor car. Juxtaposingly, it was also a decade of continued conflict, continued inequalities of employment and educational opportunities, ham strung by pre-war class anxieties and the effect of the Great Depression. We are also at the beginning of the 30’s, just three years after the Conservative government passed the Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act giving the vote to all women over the age of 21 on equal terms with men, 13 years after the end of WW1 and women getting the partial vote in 1918. From the end of WW1 there were some dramatic changes in women’s life as unmarried women found paid employment across an expanding range of jobs in medicine, law, education and industry. And with this independence came the power of the individual, challenging ideas of duty and sacrifice. Both ideals were discredited after women experienced the ravages of war, and when large numbers of women were recruited into jobs vacated by men who had gone to fight in the war. Industry needed women to be available especially as the demand for weapons grew. This resulted in the munitions factories becoming the largest single employer of women during 1918. Women also began working on the railways, as bus conductors, ticket collectors, porters, bus drivers. Working closely together opened new leisure and recreation opportunities for these young women. Indeed sport was actively encouraged amongst the female workers as it was thought to be good for their health and general moral wellbeing. Many munitions factories developed their own ladies’ football teams, which were successful in drawing large crowds until women were banned from playing in Football League grounds in 1921! Women also worked on the land where there was a need for more practical clothing and in auxiliary transport areas and thus wore a range of uniforms and clothes which obviously included trousers. Although women’s fashions were already evolving before the war, the move to more practical clothing during wartime undoubtedly accelerated the pace of change. Enter the frivolous flapper of the 20s. Women were now physically freer with short skirts, short bobbed hair, cloche hats, trousers and sportswear, and able to drink and smoke in public. This independent spirit is seen in Bonaventure as Valerie de Lisle appears at ease taking a cargo ship from Africa. There were many more opportunities for leisure during the 1920s as new technological developments were increasingly accessible to the average working man and women. The formation of the British Broadcasting Company in December 1922 meant that people could listen for pleasure to the radio. But it was cinema that proved to be the single most popular form of entertainment in the 1920s and 30s. It was an escape from the Depression and the troubles of the war, and a window into another world. As the large cinema chains moved into the regions, larger movie houses became more and more opulent. The Paramount Cinema which opened on Pilgrim Street in Newcastle in 1931, became the region's first glamorous American-style movie palace. The 20s saw plenty of the experimentation that had filled the 1900s and 10s, but also a growing refinement of cinema’s universal language: sophistication in camera and editing technique, more naturalistic performances, and increasing narrative ambition.