Film ID: NEFA 21334 Video of NEFA 21334 It Happened Thus IT HAPPENED THUS 1937 Visitor TabsDescription A valuable necklace is stolen – but where is the thief? Fuelled by pulp fiction, a rich woman’s imagination goes into overdrive after her brush with a poor man on a Newcastle street. This amateur thriller with a twist was a 1930s Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA) production Title: ACA Newcastle & District Presents Title: It Happened Thus Credits: Produced By – S J Rosslyn Smith Photography – A H Garland Continuity – L H Bowes Titles – L Greaves Directed By – S J Rosslyn Smith The film opens with a busy street scene (likely to be Northumberland Street in Newcastle), showing some shop fronts, including a branch of the famous furriers, Swears and Wells. A well-to-do woman leaves a jewellery store and heads down the street. She holds a clutch bag with a snakeskin pattern. Close-up of her feet walking along the pavement. A man in a scruffy suit and flat cap loiters outside a house flipping a coin. The woman walks along the street just as the man leaves his post outside the house. They collide and she drops her clutch bag. They both bend to pick it up. Close-ups follow of each looking at the other, the woman’s expression full of suspicion. The snakeskin clutch bag lays on the pavement. She picks up her bag firmly and walks on. The man watches her go and continues on his way. Close-ups follow of her feet walking on the pavement and her grip tightening on the snakeskin bag. The woman arrives at a hotel, the bellhop opening the door as she enters. The man she had bumped into walks by the hotel on the street outside. He pauses and looks at the hotel entrance, glancing around the street, then walks on. Elegantly dressed men and women are seated, or strolling through the hotel foyer. Two hotel detectives in Trilby hats watch and admire the young woman with a snakeskin clutch bag as she arrives at reception, nodding their approval and smiling. She pauses and looks back at them suspiciously. At reception, she sees a notice requesting that guests deposit their valuables with management for safety. The woman is clearly still feeling suspicious. She takes her room key from the receptionist, but keeps hold of the snakeskin bag. The scruffy man she had bumped into outside walks to an alley at the rear of the hotel. He casually leans against the wall of a building opposite, and begins to toss the coin again, occasionally looking up at the hotel windows. The curtains in a hotel bedroom gently ruffle in a breeze. The young woman heads up the stairs in the hotel’s deco hallways and unlocks her room door. She turns on the light in her hotel room and closes the open window. There’s a brief close-up of a large travelling trunk in the room. She takes off her coat and opens her snakeskin bag, taking out the new, expensive pearl necklace she has just bought. She drapes them against her dress and admires herself in a mirror. She puts them back in their case. She turns on her bedside light and a book on the bedside cabinet catches her eye. She glances through it. She relaxes on the bed and rings for room service. A hotel maid arrives at her room. She makes her request and the maid leaves. The young woman continues to read, the book a real page-turner. A brief shot shows the hotel receptionist as he answers his phone. Back in her room, the woman turns out the main light and settles down with her book. The book clearly has her spooked. She thinks she hears a noise and looks over at the trunk. A close-up of the trunk picks up a slight movement. She looks over again but carries on reading. Over in the corner of the room, the low-life she had bumped into on the street slowly climbs out of the trunk. The woman sits up in alarm. The man is pouring liquid from a small bottle into a handkerchief. He looks around menacingly from the shadows. The woman reaches for the phone on her bedside table and calls the hotel clerk, petrified. The hotel clerk takes the call. She drops the phone in alarm. The intruder moves towards the terrified woman and uses the chloroform soaked in the handkerchief to knock her unconscious. He carries her over to the empty trunk and locks her inside. In the hallway, the two hotel detectives and the receptionist are racing up the stairs, tripping over in their haste. Hearing a noise, the intruder quickly hides under the bed. On entering the room, there is no sign of the young woman, the room service pull is gently swaying, and the book lies open on the bed. Scanning the room, the two detectives see the trunk. It’s locked and there’s no key. One of the detectives and the hotel clerk are sent to get a tool. The remaining detective tries to open the trunk with his own key. Then something across the room catches his eye. He crawls over to the bed and picks up the dropped telephone receiver. He ponders this and walks back across the room. The intruder crawls out from under the bed. He knocks out the detective and unlocks the trunk. He carries the unconscious woman back to her bed. He manhandles the detective into the trunk and locks it. He steals the woman’s pearls and begins to look through a jewellery box on the table. Suddenly, there’s a knock on the door. He looks up, startled, and hides back under the bed. The young woman wakes up when there’s a second knock on her hotel door. She calls ‘Come in.’ The maid enters with tea on a tray. The woman looks confused. She walks over and checks for her pearl necklace. They are still in the case. She creeps up to the trunk and looks inside. It is full of her clothes. She is relieved. Then, scared, she moves over to the bed and looks underneath. She sits down on her bed and picks up the book she had been reading. Close-up of ‘Murder Motiv’, a crime thriller. She laughs and collapses back onto the bed. It was all a dream. She grins over at the maid, who thinks she has gone mad. Credits: The players were – The Girl – Nora Bonser The Burglar – J R Wrightson The Maid – Freda Amos The Detectives – Richard Clark, Leslie Bowes Hotel Clerk – Ian Milne And members of the ACA Hotel Scenes by Courtesy of the Lyric Theatre, Heaton Title: The End “It Happened Thus” Context 1930s life as a toss of a coin or a string of pearls Fuelled by pulp fiction, a rich woman’s imagination goes into overdrive after her brush with a low-life on a Newcastle street. Not surprisingly for the cash-strapped 1930s in the north-east, differences between the haves and have-nots were in sharp relief. Just downriver, hard times on Depression-era Tyneside led to the historic Jarrow March, the year before this short amateur comedy thriller was made. Produced by members of the Newcastle and District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA), this low-budget small-gauge fiction film taps into the uneasy feel of 30s American crime movies, albeit with an escapist ending. Borrowed cinematic quirks such as coin-flipping gangsters are displaced to the Geordie capital. The interior scenes were filmed at Heaton’s art deco Lyric Cinema, opened on 6th January 1936 and now home to the People’s Theatre, the largest and oldest amateur theatre company in England. One of the first British cine clubs, Newcastle ACA was formed in 1927 and, against the odds, still operates in the city today.