Film ID: NEFA 21315 Video of NEFA 21315 Little Nell _ A melodrama in Rhythm LITTLE NELL - A MELODRAMA IN RHYTHM 1960 Visitor TabsDescription Based on a popular piece of American music written by Elly Divina in 1933, this burlesque melodrama, staged in rhyme, is played for laughs. Even the crying is in tempo in Little Nell. The film tells the story of a farmer’s daughter lured away by a wicked lover (an actor) who leaves her on the night her child is born. Ruined, she returns to her father but the unscrupulous villain arrives and threatens to take the farm and child from them. The film was made by amateur filmmaker George Cummin (Conway Films) and all roles are acted by him. Cummin was a member of Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA). Credit: Conway Films Presents Title: Little Nell - A Melodrama in Rhythm (on music sheet) Candlesticks stand on a table in an old fashioned farmhouse kitchen. An old farmer in a woolly hat enters through the curtained door and recounts the story of his beloved sixteen-year-old daughter Nelly who ran away with an actor one year ago. He lights the candles every night and places them in the window in case of his daughter’s return. There’s a knock at the door. He opens the door. His daughter (in large wig) enters holding a bundle in her arms. She tells her father she was abandoned by her wicked lover on the night she gave birth to a child (named Dumbell). She places the baby down. The baby sucks at a dummy and grins at camera. Her father says he’s the spitting image of his mother, but she can’t live at home with the child. She vows to get the man that ruined her and cries in despair. (She cries in rhythm.) A tall moustachioed villain in a top hat enters the farmhouse, is threatened by the farmer, but reveals that he owns the mortgage on the family farm and could foreclose on them. The daughter and villain have a pantomime style exchange of words when he demands the return of his child (“Dummy”). There’s another knock on the door. The constable enters and demands to know the story. Father and daughter recite their woes to the constable. He decides to fine the villain “a dollar and a quarter”. The father closes with the words: “Which all goes to show the price of sin. Tomorrow night we will play East Lynn?” The cast take their bow. Title: The End Context He ain’t done right by Little Nell Beyond bizarre, this madcap melodrama in rhyme recounts the fate of a fallen village queen. “Twas a dark and stormy night …“ Even the crying is in tempo in Little Nell, a strange, cautionary tale about the price of sin, which haunts many a childhood past. Played for laughs, this mocking melodrama in rhythm was a popular burlesque variety show act in the 1930s, with a fallen lass and a villain to boo, by turns an actor or a city slicker who ‘had more money, than a dog has fleas’. To add to the oddity of this amateur production, the filmmaker, George Cummin, takes on each role himself, even the baby Dumbell. This former 1930s dance band musician, who played the summer seasons at the Whitby Spa Theatre, based the film on a popular American piece of music, written and composed by Elly Divina in 1933. He was also a member of the Newcastle and District Amateur Cinematographers’ Association (ACA), one of the first five cine clubs in England, founded in 1927. Cummin had been making films since 1933. He worked on documentaries and fiction films into the 1960s, including Newcastle ACA’s Silver Plaque winner at Amateur Cine World in 1952, ‘PC Grubb’s Last Case’.