Film ID:
YFA 4326



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This is a very well made comedy film about a student at Sheffield University pursuing a woman he falls for and having a running slapstick battle with a policeman. It also features the students' Hospital Rag parade.

Opening credit: Sheffield Amateur Film Club

Title - City Slights

Credits - The Boy, Ernest Pickering; the Girl, Betty Overington; the Law, Robert Marshall; Art Director, N. Ellis; Continuity, P. Parramore; Lighting, A Mottershaw, J W Berry; Photography, A D Hobson, A Steward; Directed by J W Gillott.

Intertitle - A Famous Seat of Learning

The film begins with a building hidden behind a tree, and a bearded lecturer in full academic attire asleep in front of his class.

Intertitle - Professor Shernard Bore's lectures would cure anyone of insomnia (Even himself)

The Professor is half asleep whilst one of his students is also dozing off. A huge alarm clock hidden in the Professor's coat goes off, he wakes, up grabs his coat, and the class ends. Two students come out of the building, and whilst stood talking the professor follows them out, with his head in a book, and knocks them over. The two students are walking across Crookes Valley Park in animated conversation when one of them points to something in the sky and they both get out catapults.

Intertitle - Not far from the Seat of Learning was the "Seat of Justice"

A policeman in an old style uniform is bent over reveals something hanging from his behind. He makes his way across the road, towards the Western Bank building of the University, and enters the gate for Western Park.

Intertitle - His boot laces proved his undoing

Now in Western Park, one of the students fires his catapult at the behind of the policeman, as he is bent over tying up his boot laces, and runs off. The policeman goes up to his friend who runs off also as the policeman gives chase. He chases him over onto Damer Street, with a tram and a car going past on Western Bank. A man in a top hat is checking the engine under the bonnet of his car, around which the policeman and the student play a game of hide and seek. Without the policeman noticing, the student attaches a cable from the car to the belt of the policeman. When the car pulls off the policeman is dragged backwards down the street on his backside.

Intertitle - The students' Hospital Rag took place the following day.

The Yorkshire Telegraph and Star for 21st October, 1931 has a special edition on the Students' Hospital Rag. Students are collecting money from the crowd as the rag parade assembles outside Western Bank. A group of boys are larking about as traffic drives past. Students are gathered around the entrance to Western Bank in fancy dress.

Intertitle - Our student friend sets out to collect another kind of copper

The student is now sitting on the front of a car. He is dressed as a vicar with a book and holding a balloon and collecting tins. The car moves off to join the procession which is led by a brass band, in civilian clothes. This is followed by a float made up as 'HMS Barnacle Bill'. Other floats follow with students in fancy costumes. A male student dressed in women's clothing cycles past and behind him is a group marching in military uniform. Two students are collecting and dressed in prisoners' uniforms. The student dressed as a vicar is now riding a motorcycle, still with his book and an umbrella hooked around his coat. As he turns a corner pedestrians look at him as he goes by. Across the road is 'Bradmore' store. He pulls into a gateway and comes out on foot and goes into a shop. When he comes out, having made a collection, he stops to brush himself down, with those in the shop laughing at him through the window. He takes a bottle out of his coat and has a drink, putting the bottle back in his coat. A woman walks along the street past a shop selling pictures. The student then goes up to two men looking in a shop window and pokes them both in the back with his brolly. He then takes a collection from them. As he turns away he bumps into the woman and apologises.

Intertitle - One glance from those eyes gave him a thrill that went through him and buttoned up at the back.

He flutters his eyes and escorts her down the road. They stop at the roadside and get onto a tram. The tram heads out of the city centre, and the two of them get off and walk down a street. They stop outside a house and talk for a while. The student rubs his shoes on his trousers and feels hot under the collar. They shake hands and the woman goes towards the house. He calls her back just as she is about to enter the house.

Intertitle - "When can I see you again?"

She hands him a card for the Adelphi Ballroom and the 'Carnival Dance'. He writes the details down on a piece of paper and hands back the card. She goes into her house and he skips down the road. He is then walking along Church Street in the city centre.

Intertitle - The Constable was full of grit (He commenced his career as a dustman).

As the policeman, in oversized boots, notes down the number of an illegally parked car on Church Street, the student walks past accidently catching him on the leg with his brolly and tripping him over. Again the policeman gives chase after the student through the streets, and the student jumps onto a moving tram.

Intertitle - Two hours later still going strong.

The student is running up a steep hill, possibly Crookesmoor Road, still being pursued by the policeman, with various pranks along the way. Eventually the policeman catches him as the student attempts to climb over a wall, pulling down his trousers. At this moment a woman in an upstairs window accidently drops a plant pot onto the policeman's head and knocks him out, allowing the student to walk off.

Intertitle - A week later. The Night of the Dance

A dance band, the 'Adelphi Mascots', are playing as the student arrives at the dance, dressed in evening wear. Couples are on the dance floor, many in fancy dress, one wearing blackface make up. The woman who invited the student is dancing with someone else, with whom she takes a seat after the dance. The student comes over and asks her for a dance. As they dance around the floor, the student accidently stands on a trailing skirt worn by a man dancing, exposing his breeches. Everyone stops to gawp at him and as he realises what has happened he runs out and his dancing partner feints. They all leave the dance floor.

Intertitle - The Law was present, in plain clothes (very) keeping his eye on the Bar.

The policeman, in his plain clothes, orders a drink from the bar. The student then also comes to the bar and the policeman inadvertently blows the head of his beer onto the student's face. They then get into a battle firing soda streams at each other, before turning then on the barman when he tries to intervene.

Intertitle - Look out, Boys. They're at it again!

Again the policeman chases the student, who hides under a small table. There then follows a pie throwing slapstick fight, and as the policeman cleans himself up the student steals the false beard from another customer who has removed it and uses it himself. In his new disguise he goes to join the woman who invited him. Unknowingly, the policeman sits at their table. The customer who had removed his false beard notices it missing and retrieves it, exposing the student who is then recognised by the policeman. The student throws the water from the vase over the policeman and makes off with the woman.

Intertitle - A car, left unattended outside, should prove a good hiding place.

They jump into the parked car to hide.

Intertitle - Messrs. Pinchem & Alterem, Dealers in Second-hand Cars.

As they hide under the blanket on the back seat, two thieves jump into the car and drive off. The policeman chases the car and leaps onto the back, hanging on as it drives through the night time streets. The student exclaims to the woman, "car thieves", and they go back to hiding under the cover. He then emerges and knocks the two thieves out with a box and attempts to drive the car from the back seat. The car is shown careering from side-to-side as it drives along the streets. Eventually he manages to bring the car to a halt outside the Police Station, and the policeman falls off. The student points out the thieves to the policeman.

Intertitle - The Inspector had throat trouble, but his father had once been Mayor. No wonder he was a little hoarse!

The police Inspector, sitting behind his desk, is making a phone call. The student and the policeman manhandle the unconscious thieves into the police station along with the box used to knock them out. The policeman explains the situation to the Inspector. As they do so the policeman inadvertently sits on an electric heater and burns himself.

Intertitle - If you long for promotion don't sit on a hot stove, you don't get the stripes in the right place.

The policeman then inadvertently places the box on top of the heater. As the Inspector is shaking their hands farewell, the box explodes, and the woman comes rushing in. She arrives to find the student and Inspector knocked out and the policeman slumped over a rafter half undressed. The student and woman embrace each other in laughter at the sight of the policeman pleading his woes, and the film comes to an end with the policeman hanging onto the rafter in a dishevelled condition.
Closing credit: Sheffield Amateur Film Club Studios

The End