Film ID:
YFA 5823

CLEGG'S PEOPLE: DRACULA AND THE TURN OF THE TIDE

1981

Visitor Tabs

Description

Michael Clegg recounts the work of two well-known writers – Leo Walmsley and Bram Stoker – visiting the places that inspired their work, Robin Hood’s Bay and Whitby, respectively.  As Clegg unearths the stories behind their work, the documentary shows excerpts from two films, ‘Turn of the Tide (1935), based on Walmsley’s novel ‘Three Fevers’, and ‘Scars of Dracula’ (1970).

The film begins with Michael Clegg stood on the roof of the Ravenhall Hotel at Ravenscar.  He gives a brief history of the coast at that point, invaded by Romans and then Vikings, and of the eighteenth century Hotel.  Moving down the hill at Robin Hood’s Bay, Clegg states that the author Leo Walmsley, who lived there, wrote his book ‘So Many Loves’, from the point of view of his father, who was an artist.  Walking through the village, Clegg describes his work as “faction,” mixing fact and fiction, and that Leo Walmsley was coy about his fictional place of Bramblewick being really Robin Hood’s Bay.  Clegg wanders along the bay and up King Street to where Leo Walmsley used to live, with a plaque marking the house.  He gives a brief biography of Leo Walmsley and an overview of the books he wrote, noting that his major interest were marine life and geology, both of which he could study at Robin Hood’s Bay.  

This is followed by an excerpt from the film ‘Turn of the Tide’, adapted from Leo Walmsley’s book, ‘Three Fevers’.  The excerpt shows the arrival of an engine for a fishing boat, and then the scene when the boat is at sea in a storm, but manages to get back safely.   Clegg then shows the view over the Bay from the back of the houses where Leo Walmsley lived.  He then walks along the beach, with the tide coming in, looking out for the kinds of things that Walmsley would look for – fossils and for marine creatures among the rocks – near the Leeds University Marine Laboratory where Walmsley worked for a while.  Clegg then appears on the balcony of the Bay Hotel eating a crab sandwich, as the film moves to Whitby, where Clegg explains that Bram Stoker was inspired to write the novel Dracula, having “eating too much dressed crab”.  Overlooking Whitby Harbour, Clegg explains the background to the novel.  There is then an excerpt from the film ‘Scars of Dracula’, in which Christopher Lee bites into the neck of Jenny Hanley.  Clegg gives a brief account of the vampire legend.  

Clegg is then seen stood underneath the whalebone in Whitby, giving a brief account of whaling in the area, and then on to the statue of Captain Cooke, again providing a brief background.  In the graveyard of St Mary’s Church, Clegg runs through the plot of Stoker’s novel, Dracula.  This is followed by more extensive footage from the film ‘Scars of Dracula’: the scene where Christopher Lee is about to sink his fangs into Anouska Hempel, but Dennis Waterman inadvertently saves her when Lee is hit by lightning and falls to a fiery death.  Clegg is next inside St Mary’s Church, where he talks about the furnishings.  From there he walks around the ruins of the Abbey, again providing a history, and rhetorically asking where the graves are of the famous people who are buried there.  Finally, Clegg is back on the beach, bringing to a conclusion his overview of the two well-known writers; and a frogman emerges from the waves.

Cleggs People is introduced by Michael Clegg
Title Music – Robert Hartley
Graphics – Trevor Hodgson
Production assistant – Christine Sharman
Camera – Mostafa Hammuri
Sound – Chris Clarkson, Alan Bedwood
Film Editor – Brian Tomkins
Executive producer – Frank Smith
Director - David Gerrard 
Producer - John Wilford 
Yorkshire Television
Trident Television Ltd.