Film ID:
YFA 4532

CAR THIEF

1959

Visitor Tabs

Description

Made by the West Riding Constabulary Film Unit, this film is a dramatic reconstruction demonstrating the ease of which car thieves are able to practice their trade. The film is an instructional piece, aimed at educating officers and members of the public on some of the ploys used by criminals during this period.

Title - The W.R.C. film unit presents.

Title - Car thief.

The film opens with a shot of a busy street in the centre of Dewsbury. The filmmaker captures a shot of a woman wearing a head scarf walking past a market. The car thief, wearing a long woollen coat, surveys the area before sitting down with a newspaper. A black car (Zephyyr) then drives past the camera and parks up, with the filmmaker getting a close up of the number plate. The suspicious man watches with interest as the woman exits the vehicle, leaving the key in the ignition. The woman walks off round a corner, stopping briefly to look at a fruit stall. Seizing the opportunity, the thief crosses the road and steals the car.

The thief drives the car down several streets, and there are sped up shots from the car's bonnet that appear to show the car travelling at speed through the centre of Dewsbury. The woman then returns from her shopping trip to discover her car has disappeared. She looks round in desperation before flagging down a police car, which pulls over. The police officer gets out and takes a statement from the woman, before relaying the report to a police station, where an officer sits at a radio. Markers are then positioned on a map and the female whose car was stolen gets into the police car.

The thief drives past the camera and parks on a residential street. He runs inside the house and returns with a new number plate. Driving off again, he searches for a secluded spot and stops on a country lane, where he switches the number plates. More interior shots capture the car driving down several streets, passing rows or residential housing, and a shot of the car from a distance reveals a street sign in the foreground that has directions for Denby Dale, Barnsley and Huddersfield.

The car drives past a road sign for Huddersfield. The car then rounds another corner and a close up shows a sign for 'Kensington Road'. More shots show the car driving down many streets, and the filmmaker gets close ups of the thief's face. The thief then parks up, and watches as a smartly dressed woman leave a rather grand house. The thief leaves the car and heads for the house, tucking a crow bar into his jacket. He rings the bell and there are shots of empty windows. No one answers the door so the thief heads round the back and breaks opens a window, before clambering inside.

A fade occurs connoting the passing of time, and the thief leave the house with two bags and a jacket. Returning to the stolen car, the thief drives off down more streets, before stopping at a train station car park that has a sign above which reads, 'British railways goods department'. He removes the fake plates and takes the stolen goods from the car. Buying a ticket, he walks into the train station where many people are waiting on the platform, and the final shot shows him a train pulling out of the station.

Title - The end.

Title - A W.R.C. instructional film