Film ID:
NEFA 21216

FLOWERS FOR PETER

1952

Visitor Tabs

Description

This stylish crime thriller exposes the dark underbelly of post-war Newcastle upon Tyne as a dope gang haunts the night streets and smoky jazz-hot dance halls. A school boy botanist helps blow the gang’s cover. A chase sequence amid the industrial decay of the Ouseburn waterfront and on the River Tyne provide a remarkable amateur portrait of the city and river in the 1950s. The film includes footage of teenagers dancing to The Panama Jazzmen and was partly filmed at the Tynemouth Preparatory School. This film was commended by the Scottish Amateur Film Festival, 1953, and produced by Gordon Hetherington as part of the Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA) Silver Jubilee.

Credit: Scottish Amateur Film Festival 1953. Commended.

Credits: An ACA Silver Jubilee Production 1927 - 1952

Credit: Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematograph Association presents

Title: Flowers for Peter

Credit: An Original Screenplay by Gordon Hetherington

Credit: Produced by Gordon Hetherington

Credit: Associate Producer Johnny Clarke

Credits:

Cameras Stan Preston. Beverley Gardiner

Lighting: Norma Bush

Film Processing Stan Preston

Titles: Bill Allan

Night-time on a Newcastle street sets the scene. A man in a belted trench coat and flat cap is loitering in a doorway, the "drug dealer".

A man stops and offers him a banknote. The dealer shakes his head "no" and gestures "2". The man hands over two notes and receives his package. The man rips open the package and seems to unwrap a rolled cigarette. He wanders off down the street.

Now daytime, headlines on newspaper advertising boards read: from the Sunday Dispatch "This Will Shock You: The Drug Menace by Godfrey Winn" and from the Newcastle Journal "Mystery Drug Sweeps Tyneside".

A detective enters the Tyneside Police Station. Detective Inspector Armstrong (DI Armstrong) sits in his office and shows his colleague, Detective Sergeant Clayton, an article on the "Drug Menace". He makes a call.

Title: The drug's been identified and the lab has a sample of the leaf.

The two head off to the "Research Laboratory" where a forensic technician shows them a drug sample under the microscope. They examine the leaf and DI Armstrong places a sample in his police notebook. The two leave.

The scene cuts to a school classroom where the school children are in uproar, fighting and larking around. The children settle back at their desks studiously when the schoolteacher walks back in. One boy is told off for poking another with his pen. The schoolteacher calls a boy up to her desk and chastises him about his work.

Title: Peter, you haven't done your homework, this book must be filled by the next botany lesson.

He takes his botany scrap book away.

Exterior view of the Tynemouth Preparatory School. Peter runs out of the school grounds, followed by the school teacher walking arm-in-arm with her partner, DI Armstrong.

Title: "Thank Goodness My Teaching Days Will Soon Be Over"

The schoolboy Peter looks into a jewellery store window, and is shooed away by the owner. A group of mothers and children walk by. A couple walk up to the jewellers. Close-up of the shop sign that reads "Diamond Ring Specialists". The couple, DI Armstrong and peter’s schoolteacher, go in to have a look.

Title: "Is Mr Willoughby In?"

Mr Willoughby comes out and shows them some wedding rings. The woman tries on rings and selects one. After the sale, Mr Willoughby locks up the shop. Arriving back at his suburban 1930s semi-detached house, he greets the schoolboy Peter who's with two older women. Peter looks mistrustful.

The scene changes. A poster advertises "To-Night The Panama Jazzmen. Dixieland Dancing with Joe McMullan, Trumpet, Stan Martin, Clarinet, Joe Garner, Bass." Young men and women (teenagers) are jiving at a local dance hall (in a school?) to the sounds of a jazz band, the young men in zoot suits and the women in pencil skirts. Shots of the dancers with cutaways of the band, including a portrait shot of Joe McMullen on trumpet.

A man leans against the band's piano smoking and surveying the scene, the dance promoter. The youth continue to dance. A girl is sitting alone at the edge of the dance floor. A short man walks into the hall. The dance promoter acknowledges him with a nod. The girl without a partner continues to watch the dancers.

In a back room at the dance hall, the short man (a petty drug dealer) hands over a package of "doped cigarettes" to the dance promoter, who shoves a few banknotes into the man's pocket.

Title: "You stick to dope peddling and keep off the women."

The short man downs a drink, takes the money and leaves.

Back in the dance hall, the dope delivery man asks the solo girl for a dance and pulls her onto the floor. More scenes follow of the lively jiving, the dancers seeming wilder, and one of the men doing a classic rock and roll move drop to the floor. A couple take their seats at the edge of the dance floor. The dance promoter, back leaning up against the piano on stage with the band, calls over one of the young men and they high-five. The dance promoter lights a "cigarette" in the back room. The solo girl heads off with the man. Two young couples in the dance hall light up "cigarettes". Cutaway to the dance floor where the dancing is still wildly lively. The seated couples canoodle and smoke.

The solo girl and the young man are leaving, and at the door to the dance hall he offers her one of the doped cigarettes.

Mr Willoughby leaves his home in the Newcastle suburbs and heads to Horseman's garage where he picks up a car [Registration DX 7938] from the car valeting service.

The car drives up a back road in the Ouseburn district of Newcastle. Willoughby, in a slick suit and wearing a trilby, walks down some steep Newcastle "stairs".

Peter, the schoolboy, is wandering through some wasteland beside the Ouseburn river, collecting flower samples for his botany homework. Heis curious and peers over into a boat moored on the river where two men are looking at something in the hold. In a boathouse nearby, Willoughby joins the rest of the drug gang, who are packaging up doped cigarettes, two packets of Rizlas on the table. The dance promoter (and drug dealer) hops off the boat moored on the Ouseburn with a package, which he delivers to the men in the boathouse.

Title: "Good trip this time. Enough weed for ten thousand."

One of the men shows Willoughby and the rest of the drug gang a picture of a girl (the dance hall girl?), his sweetheart.

Title: "I've told you before - no women. Now get rid of her..."

The men continue sorting out their drug supplies and counting out money.

The young dance hall girl arrives at the dance promoter's office, and hassles him for drugs, but is sent away brusquely.

In the next scene, the mother of the girl turned on to the doped cigarettes at the jazz dance arrives at DI Armstrong's office and shows him the drugs she's found on her daughter. DI Armstrong takes a statement - "Information received from Joan Harris - concern of doped cigarettes - Lucidy Hail (?), 2 Lime Street, Docklands. Known as petty criminal". DI Armstrong then calls his school teacher girlfriend to explain he can't make their date.

Title: "Yes, I know this is the third time I've let you down, but I've got a lead on this case at last."

She puts the phone down on him in a huff. She starts marking children's homework grumpily but slams down the pen.

A man (the petty criminal known as Whitey) carrying a suitcase leaves a house in part of a remaining Georgian terrace on Lime Street in Ouseburn. As he turns the corner, DI Armstrong and two detective colleagues call at the house. No-one answers. The three split up to search the area, two heading off in the direction he went, and the other the opposite way. Portrait shots of two detectives looking around. Whitey hurries past a warehouse.

At the drug gang's Ouseburn hang-out, the boatman and two gang members are in conversation.

Title: "I wonder what district Whitey wants us to work to-day."

Whitey arrives and unrolls a map. A lookout for the gang spots the two police detectives heading their way and warns the gang. They make a fast getaway, Whitey packing stuff quickly into his suitcase. Various shots of the chase through the Ouseburn area follow, including a scene where both Whitey and the two police detectives almost knock over a drunk loitering against a wall. The chase passes children playing outside.

The two other drug gang members make it to the boat moored on the River Ouseburn. Whitey races down some steps heading for the river, chased by the two detectives. The boat pulls off just as Whitey is nabbed by the police and sails off down the river.

A newspaper boy sells papers outside the police station, the headlines proclaiming "Police Round-Up Dope Gang." The two detectives pick up a newspaper and head into the station.

A poster for the dance nights with The Panama Jazzmen is plastered with a "Closed" sticker.

Willoughby arrives at the residence of a distinguished looking gentleman with a pencil moustache who is filing his nails, the real leader of the drug ring.

Title: "No, Whitey won't talk, but we're finished now."

Title: "We're not you know."

Close-up of seeds being tipped from a packet into a hand. The distinguished gentleman smiles and nods.

The scene cuts to Willoughby cultivating dope plants in his greenhouse. He heads back into his house.

Back with the newspaper seller, the Newcastle Journal headlines declare "Dope Returns. Police Baffled." The two detectives head back into the police station where the Police Commissioner is angry with them, having read the newspaper.

Back at the school, the school teacher tells off Peter again, and sends him off to fill up his scrap book with plant specimens. He heads down Hillcrest, and, at the corner of the street with Deneholm, meets up with some school chums, one boy showing him his new toy, a model plane set. The boys scramble into a field behind a new housing estate to play with the model planes. The scrapbook lays forgotten on the grass as Peter plays with his school friends. When he remembers, he picks up the scrapbook and races off to collect more wild flowers, clambering back over the fence.

Willoughby leaves his house by the back gate. The schoolboy Peter pops up from a corn field and spots Willoughby leaving his home. He runs over into the man's back garden and begins to collect plants. He spots the greenhouse and pushes his way in, grabbing a "specimen" growing in a trough.

Meanwhile, Detective Inspector Armstrong calls round to his girlfriend's home. She gets him a drink and he settles down at her study table, picking up a boy's schoolbook and essay titled "Policemen" that reads: Policemen usually chase criminals. A policeman chases our teacher about but she is not a criminal. He does not wear uniform and is not smart like other policemen I have seen." D I Armstrong laughs. He picks up Peter's scrapbook and suddenly comes across the "specimen" collected in Willoughby's greenhouse, which he recognises as a cannabis plant. He shows his girlfriend Peter King's scrapbook. She hurries him away, pointing at her watch. But he grabs the scrapbook on the way out.

Back at the school, she interrupts a mathematics class to collect Peter, as DI Armstrong paces up and down in a school office. Peter is quizzed by the detective but at first makes up a story about the location of the plant as he believes he is in trouble.

Title: "Now Peter, you must tell us the truth."

Peter relents. DI Armstrong takes him to Willoughby's house. There's no answer when they knock on the front door.

Title: "I'll show you the way I went."

He leads the detective round to the back garden and into the greenhouse.

Meanwhile, Willoughby, the drug gang leader, enters by the front garden and then spots them in the greenhouse from a top floor window. Peter suddenly notices him and points. Willoughby makes his escape.  DI Armstrong and his colleague drive Peter back to the police station where he puts out a police alert.

Title: “Put out a general alarm for George Willoughby. Height …”

Whilst the detective is on the phone, the boy tries to tell him something, attracting his attention by pulling on his jumper.

Title: “I saw him in a boat at Dockside.”

Detective Inspector Armstrong and Detective Sergeant Clayton head off in the car with Peter.

Willoughby is climbing into a boat to make his escape back on the River Ouseburn. The police car pulls up onto the old Ouseburn bridge near the boatyard moorings. Peter and DI Armstrong look over the bridge and see the boat make its getaway downriver. The police give chase in another boat they commandeer from the quayside.

There’s a travelling shot down the river as they give chase, with general views of the quite derelict or industrial scenes on the banks. Various shots show the detectives and Peter sailing down the river after the criminal’s boat, and on into the River Tyne. The detectives catch up with the crooks and board their boat to arrest them. Peter chews his nails nervously watching the action from the commandeered boat.

At an ice cream parlour counter, Peter is treated to a knickerbocker glory ice cream sundae by the school teacher and Detective Inspector Armstrong, who hold hands behind his back as he eats.

Credits:

Cast

Peter – Antony Hetherington

Willoughby – Albert Nichol

Det. Insp. Armstrong – Johnny Clarke

Det. Sgt. Clayton – Jack Whillis

Betty – Margot Hetherington

Joan – Audrey Preston

Whitey – Ted Davis

Also

Douglas Turtle

E. Foxall

Sylvia Preston

Jack Wrightson

Robert Norman

Donald Pritchard

Morton Unsworth

Titles:

Flowers for Peter

The End

An ACA Silver Jubilee Production