Film ID:
NEFA 21358



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This comedy chronicles the misadventures of an amateur tape recordist who undertakes to provide sound effects for a local drama group's production starring his wife. This was a Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA) production, directed by former dance band musician, George Cummin.

Credit: Newcastle & District ACA Presents [credits and titles over first shots]

Title: Sound ... And Effect

A battery operated Loewe Opta tape recorder is lifted out of a record shop window display.

Credit: With Walter Clark & Sylvia Harding as Mr & Mrs Newley

A couple walk out of the record shop, the man carrying his new purchase, a tape recorder, and head back home.

Credits: Also involved – both before and behind the camera – Vivienne Atherton, Norah Cummin, Irene Watson, Ian Davidson, Gordon Dunn, Peter Keys, Richard Steel and ‘King’

Credits: Camera, Sound, Lighting: Reg. (‘Harvey’) Townsend. Assisted by David (‘Bill’) Watson

Credits: Their activities were directed and the results edited by George Cummin who thanks all those who provided premises, personal possessions and patience in the cause of amateur cine

Back at home, Mr Newley (Walter) plays an instruction reel and reads through his manual. His wife (Sylvia) gets ready to leave for a drama rehearsal and asks her husband if he’s coming along. He grumbles about never getting a part in the productions, only odd jobs, and that he may pop along later. She counters by saying the producer said he’d be excellent for a role in the upcoming Russian play. He says that he looked up the role and it’s the main character in a novel called ‘The Idiot’. She leaves and he continues to play with his new tape recorder.

The next sequence opens with a still of a poster advertising the Bayswater Drama Group’s new production of “Strange Ending”. Rehearsals take place for the drama, probably at the premises at Ship Entry, Newcastle. The producer checks his script for sound effects needed in the production. Walter volunteers. He talks up his experience. His wife gives him a dirty look. The producer and Walter discuss the effects needed, including a version of God Save the Queen on piano, a passenger train, a dog barking and bird song. Walter takes the script and heads off with his wife.

Walter sets up his recording equipment at home next to the upright piano. He shouts his wife that he’s about to start recording and to stay out of the room. He begins to record and play the national anthem on his piano, but his wife comes in to ask what he had shouted. He responds sarcastically and she storms off. As he continues to try and record, there are more frustrating interruptions: a cuckoo clock sounds, the doorbell rings and he has to deal with a travelling salesman of sorts in a bowler hat. Sound effects mask his rude answer! His wife, meanwhile, puts a chair outside in the open doorway and takes up a position there to deter further intrusions. A delivery man at the back of the house rings the bell, but it has been stuffed with a rag to stop the sound. Walter finally finishes playing the national anthem, only to discover the tape recorder has come unplugged.

Walter roles up in his car at a railway crossing. He sets up his microphone to record a passing train, but an odd character walks up and disturbs him mid-recording. It’s another two hours to the time for the next train. Two hours later, he begins to record the train, but it’s a goods train, not what is needed by the producer. He gets back into his car but falls asleep and misses recording the next scheduled passenger train. Having woken up, he stares after the vanishing train, defeated.

Next, Walter attempts to record a neighbour’s dog barking in his garden. Despite encouragement, the dog remains silent. Walter makes barking noises but does not succeed in getting one sound from the dog. His exasperated wife unplugs the tape recorder and puts an end to the session.

Walter then records bird song at a local wood. He plays it back to check. Giving the thumbs up to the song bird in the tree, the bird shits in his eye. He heads off but doesn’t notice that he has dropped the tape reel in the grass.

Back in his living room (and accompanied by dramatic music), Walter checks the script for the required sound effects. Only ‘God Save Our Queen’ has been marked as successfully recorded. He has an idea and returns to the record shop to buy a Sound Effects sampler.

He records all the required sounds from the vinyl record.

He returns to the producer who explains they’ll only now require the dog barking and the national anthem. Walter heads off to see Charlie, who is fixing the electrics behind the stage, and sets up the tape recorder.

It’s the opening night of the play. Behind the scenes, next to a sign requesting “No Smoking on stage’, Joe, who is looking after the theatre curtains, sits smoking a cigarette. Walter walks in and greets him. The producer arrives and asks Walter to stand in for an actor with the flu. Walter heads off to get his lines. The producer says the group are almost ready for curtain-up. Joe bangs on the floor as a signal to Charlie to get ready. Joe checks his curtain cues and calls. The actors prepare in the dressing room, Walter checks his lines and realises he can’t cue the sound effects and appear on stage at the same time. The other actor is called to the stage.

Down below the stage, Charlie is wafting his hat at the electrics to prevent over-heating. Walter asks Charlie to cue the dog barking sound effects whilst he’s on stage. Charlie agrees.

Walter is called to the stage where his wife is acting in the drama. The dog bark sound effect is cued correctly. But the national anthem is played at an inopportune moment. Walter, on stage in his role as the doctor, rushes off stage to see to the recording. People in the audience think it’s the end of the play (entitled ‘Strange Ending’) and time to leave. Sylvia tries to stop the audience leaving, but Joe thinks he’s being cued to drop the curtain, which descends abruptly on Sylvia. The producer and Walter rush down to Charlie to turn off the recording, but someone hits the main switch instead, plunging the theatre into darkness.

A final spot lit shot shows a hand switching on the tape recorder. The final lines of the instruction reel playing: “You will be astonished at what a simple tape recorder can do.”

Title: The End