Film ID: NEFA 21515 Video of 21515 NEFA Look Before You Leap LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP 1974 Visitor TabsDescription A romantic comedy written by David Stephenson and directed by Michael Gough made in and around Sunderland about a lonely man (Jim Rowell) who joins the Match-A-Mate Marriage Bureau to find love. The film follows him on a series of disastrous dates before realising that the woman who works at the agency (Linda Gough) is the woman for him. The film ends with the two of them getting married in church. The Film opens on an animation of a man’s head and shoulders. He looks up to his right and a thought bubble appears, inside is a woman’s face. He looks up to his left and another woman’s face appears in the bubble. He looks directly at the camera and in the bubble above his head appear the title and credits. Title: Look Before You Leap Credit: Story and Sound David Stephenson Credit: Direction, Photography and Editing Michael Gough The film cuts to a smartly dressed young man sitting on a bench in Backhouse Park Sunderland. He looks sad as two couples walk past, one with their arms around each other and the other holding hands. He picks up a newspaper on the bench beside him and looks at a personal advertisement which reads ‘Are you Lonely?’ He gets up and walks away through the park past another couple kissing on a bench. He throws the newspaper in a bin. The film cuts to show the man standing beside a busy road. A car drives past with cans rattling from the rear bumper and a sign in the back window saying ‘Just Married’. He turns and runs back up a set of steps. The film cuts to him back in the park removing the newspaper from the bin. He looks at the ‘Are You Lonely?’ advert again. The film cuts to him walking along Frederick Street in Sunderland past a red telephone box. He walks up a set of steps and into one of the buildings. Inside a sign on a door reads ‘Match-A-Mate Marriage Bureau’. The man approaches and goes inside. Sitting behind a desk is a young woman in red dress. He comes and sits down in a chair and they begin to talk. She writes details down on a sheet of paper. She passes the paper to the man who signs it. A name plate on the desk reads ‘Miss L Meddis’. Getting up the woman walks over to a cabinet and looks inside. She removes a folder with a photograph of a woman’s face on it and passes it to the man. The film cuts to the man coming out of a florist shop on Chester Road with a white carnation attaching to his smart suit with tie. The film intercuts him walking along a General Graham Street as a woman in high heels, blonde hair and wearing a red carnation walks the other way along another street. On a corner they bump into each other. Seeing each other’s carnations they begin to chat. Eventually they turn and walk off together along the street. The film cuts to the interior of the bar at the Durham Squash Club where the couple sit. A barmaid puts a pint of beer down on the bar beside the man and a glass of gin and tonic beside the woman. The woman picks up the pint while the man the gin and tonic. The film intercuts her gulping down the pint and him sipping his drink. The man begins to talk as the woman listens. Across the bar four men stand drinking looking over at the couple. As the man continues to talk the woman expressions becomes bored and she looks over at the men smiling and flashing her legs. One of the men tosses a coin. Another looks on lecherously. The man at the bar gets up and heads to the toilet. When he comes back the woman is gone. He speaks to the barmaid who points towards the door where the woman is leaving with one of the four men. He looks back and gives the man a thumbs up. Back at the Match-A-Mate Marriage Bureau the man appears around the door holding the woman’s folder. He shakes his head. From the cabinet the young woman takes out another folder and passes it to the man. He leaves as she returns the first folder to the cabinet. Standing at the junction of Meadow View and Broadmeadows in Sunderland behind a car the man appears wearing a bright orange jersey. Sitting on a wall across from him sit two young girls. A second man appears and gets in the car and drives away revealing the man in bright white shorts and socks standing beside old rusty bicycles. The two girls begin to snigger. The film cuts to show a young woman in a blue jersey riding along the road towards the man on a bicycle. As she approaches him she pats him on his back causing him and his bike to fall over. She rides on. Getting on his bike he rides after her. The two girls on the wall climb down and walk away revealing a street sign that reads ‘Meadow View’. The film cuts to Foxcover Lane on an overcast and wet day. In front is the young woman while the man rides nervously behind. There is a view of the woman’s bottom as they ride along the road. As the woman turns a corner past a field of cows the man comes to a stop. There is a view of one of the cows looking out from behind the fence. As the woman continues to ride over the crest of a hill the man looks down at his bike which has a puncture. He kicks the bike before turning around a walking back towards the town pushing his bike. Back at Match-A-Mate Marriage Bureau the man appears from behind the door and shrugs. He is given a third file which he takes away. The film cuts to him running along a road and stopping outside the old Park Lane Bus Station. He looks around. Stepping off a bus comes a young woman. He waves at her, but a second man approaches and the two of them kiss before heading away. The head and shoulders of a second woman are seen walking through the bus station. She is wearing a yellow carnation. On seeing this woman the man waves and moves towards her. As she comes into full view from behind a wall she is revealed to be pregnant. The man turns quickly covering his carnation. He throws it into the road and it is run over by a bus. The film cuts to show a pair of hands handing over another folder to the man. Waves gently crash on a beach. A car is parked on a jetty overlooking the sea just south of Sunderland docks. Inside the man is sitting intimately with another woman wearing a red carnation. She is wearing a short skirt and he looks down at her legs. His fingers twitch as the film intercuts them with the waves crashing. Suddenly she jumps up and slaps the man in the face. Another folder is handed to the man and a second woman slaps the man in the face. There is a close up of the man’s face being slapped several times. The film cuts to show the man standing outside an antique shop opposite the Empire Theatre in the city. As he looks in the shop window a woman approaches him and taps him on his shoulder. The film changes to show a large stained glass window inside a church. A vicar presides over a wedding ceremony inside the chapel of the Deaf Mission on Toward Road. The bride is wearing white and the groom faces away. A ring is picked up from a bible and placed on the woman’s finger. The film cuts to reveal the woman to be the woman from the marriage bureau. The film ends with the man offering the woman his white carnation. The image of the man appears on a folder. End credit: Jim Rowell The image of the woman appears on another folder. End credit: Linda Gough End credit: The Girls. Carol Stephenson, Fiona Barnes, Sue Johnson, Anne Barrett, Heather Hart, Kate Rowell End credit: With Kathryn Dawson, Jennifer Hodges, Joan Schofield, Norman Pattinson, Chris Farrington End credit: Acknowledgements to Edward Thompson Group, Lamon Paragon Ltd, Durham Squash Club, Northern General Transport Co. Ltd, Northumberland and Durham Mission to the Deaf. End credit: A Hydrafilms Production Context A romcom for the 1970s The bitter-sweet world of 70s dating for a single guy in Sunderland. In a desperate search for a soul mate, a single guy signs up with the Match-A-Mate Marriage Bureau and survives a series of disastrous blind dates. Sunderland is the setting for our romantic hero’s failed encounters with a cycling dynamo and a ‘tart with a heart’, superbly acted by a local deputy headmistress in a curly wig. This fiction film was a one-off for Michael Gough, Head of Education Services for the Hearing-Impaired in Sunderland, and an award-winning amateur filmmaker and member of Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association from 1972 who preferred to make documentaries. With a game production team and cast of friends, including his wife Linda Gough as the ultimately perfect love match, Look Before You Leap won the team award in the 1974 IAC North v South competition, and was placed second in the Grand Final. Michael Gough’s newsreel documentary Welcome to Washington also won the 1978 Amateur Cine World magazine Ten Best trophy, the Oscar of the amateur film world.