Film ID: NEFA 20874 Video of NEFA Shear Nonsense: A Comedy SHEAR NONSENSE: A COMEDY 1935 Visitor TabsDescription This film is a short comedy made by the members of the Tees-side Cine Club. A man is reprimanded by his wife for neglecting a hedge that needs trimming. Following the purchase of a new set of shears he seems possessed by some inner mischief and wreaks havoc in and around the streets of Middlesbrough. Title: Tees-side Cine Club Title: Shear Nonsense – A Comedy Credit: Camera – C.Downing, Continuity – M. Carter Credit: Properties – F. Russell, Locations – F. Joyner Title: Directed by - Wilf Shaw The film opens on a man enjoying a snooze in his deck chair with a copy of the North Eastern Daily Gazette covering his face. A lady in the house looks out of the window in some agitation as if looking to see what her husband[?] is up to. She opens the door and sees her husband asleep in the deck chair, she looks at the scene dissaprovingly. She walks up to him and snatches the newspaper away from his face. He wakes up with a start. She reprimands him for his laziness. She shakes the newspaper at him. She points at the garden hedges that she wants trimming. She walks back to the house, and shuts the door behind her. The contrite husband gets up from his deck chair, grabs his jacket then kicks the chair in anger and frustration. He hurts his foot and falls over. He thumbs his nose in the direction of the house just as his wife appears at the window. She waves her fist at him, cajoling him to get on with his work. The next view is outside a high street shop. The husband emerges from the shop with a parcel under his arm. In the next shot he unwraps his parcel to admire his new purchase – a set of garden shears. He spies a houseplant on the cill of an open window. He tests his shears on the plant, trimming off some of the leaves.Then inspired by the efficiency and sharpness of the new tool, trims off more leaves. An old man comes to the door of the house. He has a luxurious beard and is smoking a pipe. He seems to ask the man what it is that he’s doing. In the next shot the shears cut down the plant to the soil in the pot. The old man is angry at the destruction of his houseplant. He tries to remonstrate with the man wielding the shears. The man seems to have become possessed by the power he has with the shears. He distracts the old man by pointing to the sky. The old man looks up; the younger man cuts the old man’s beard in half. The young man walks away in hurry down the street. Two women are chatting on the pavement. One of the women has small dog on the end of a lead. He walks towards the women and cuts the dog's lead. They are shocked and surprised, the old man shakes his fist at the man hurrying off down the street. Next we see a balloon seller, with half a dozen or so balloons attached to string he’s holding in his hand. The shadow of the man's shears appears and he cuts the string. The balloons fly off down the road, with the balloon seller chasing after, desperately trying to retrieve them. Another road and a woman is carrying her shopping in a carrier bag. The obsessed shearer cuts the string on the handle and the fruit she is carrying spills onto the road. The carrier bag is marked ‘The Fruit Market, Middlesbrough’ The fruit rolls down the road, probably the underpass on Sussex Street, and a small boy tries to gather as much as he can of this unexpected windfall. The man continues running to the corner of a street where there is a belisha beacon, indicating a pedestrian road crossing.The globe of the beacon appears to be knocked off it’s pole, as this large item of ‘fruit’ suddenly comes bouncing towards the young boy seen earlier. The next scene shows a drunken man wandering down a street. He is well dressed but has obviously had a good time. He staggers along the road grasping at lamp posts in order to retain his balance. The man with the shears runs past, with his victims in hot pursuit. The drunken man does not know what to make of it. The next scene shows a workman pulling on a pair of dungarees as he prepares to work with a cement mixer. He tries to pull the straps up over his shoulders, but the man with the shears strikes again and cuts the straps. The workman joins the other victims pursuing the man with the shears. Washing hangs out to dry across a back alley, but is cut down. The man with shears carries on his wave of destruction, but he approaches a turnstile but can’t get through. He runs through the gate, which is the access point to the Transporter Bridge, but unfortunately for him the gondola is already pulling away from the riverside. He tries to run back but the victims who have been in pursuit apprehend him. The next scene is in a courtroom. Some of the victims are in court, including the old man who lost his beard. A judge is ushered in and takes his seat at the bench. He bangs his gavel to bring the court to order. He then glances through his case notes in front of him. A policeman in court points to the prisoner in the dock. The man with the shears, looks sheepishly around the court. The policeman enthusiastically shows the court how the shears work and presumably how the prisoner deployed them. He hands the main exhibit, the shears, to the judge. The judge examines them, and increasingly becomes fascinated with the possibilities of having a set of shears in his hand. The film cuts to the prisoner in the dock. The judge looks around him, and tests the shears on the remains of the plant that was cut down and now labelled as evidence. The film cuts to the jury or witnesses who seem to be getting restless. The judge then cuts some of the labels on the other exhibits. Acting like a man possessed he looks for other items to cut. One of the barristers in front of the judge’s bench scratches his head with end of a pencil. The judge spots this and immediately cuts the pencil in half. The barrister looks surprised. The judge spots another exhibit, the paper bag that was carrying fruit. He snips at the bag with unnatural enthusiasm. The film ends with the judge disappearing via an exit in an area behind his bench, snipping at things as he goes. Title: The End Context A comic rampage through Middlesbrough A mischievous husband goes on the rampage through Middlesbrough in this delightfully daft comic short – cut to the chase. A nagged husband causes havoc on the streets of Middlesbrough with a pair of new garden shears and is chased by a mob of irate victims in a madcap comedy by the Tees-Side Cine Club. The film draws on the visual gags and chase sequences of early silent cinema, with comedy roots in British music hall. This slapstick humour will be a matter of taste, but inspired location shoots capture a flavour of Middlesbrough in the 1930s, from suburb to dockside. The Tees-Side Cine Club was founded in 1929 by Wilf Maxwell and produced low-budget dramas, comedic sketches, and screened films by individual filmmakers, often exhibiting at local venues such as the Temperance Institute. The club soon fitted out a miniature “movie” house above a garage in Haymore Street, Middlesbrough, reported to be “the only permanent amateur cinema in the North”. Shear Nonsense was directed by a local clock maker, Wilf Shaw, who also ran The Film Unit, Middlesbrough, along with Tees-Side Cine Club colleague Wilf Maxwell, producing accomplished documentaries, sometimes for clients such as the Middlesbrough Co-operative.