Film ID:
NEFA 21331



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This is a bleak amateur drama by members of the Newcastle and District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA) that tells the tragic story of the Chief Clerk in an architectural firm who is unfairly sacked by his boss. He is driven to suicide when he fails to find another job. The film was shot at locations in Newcastle upon Tyne. It was considered one of the best productions in the cine club’s first decade.

Title: Tricks of Fate


Story by Gilbert Lough

Directed by Rosslyn Smith & Richard Clark

Photography by Alfred Garland

Titles by Leslie Greaves



Employer – Leslie Bowes

Employer’s Wife – Eileen Millard

Chief Clerk – Richard Clark

Clerk’s Wife – Doris Graham

Clerk’s Daughter – Kathleen Scorer

Doctor – Rosslyn Smith

Typist – Norah Sutherland

A paper calendar shows the date as June Friday 13.

A small crowd of bystanders has gathered around an overturned car down a street. A policeman directs traffic around the accident site.

A car pulls up along a foggy road. Two men help a woman who is limping from the car and into her house.

Title: Mr Bowes, Unaware of his Wife’s Mishap, Arrives at his Office as Usual

A gentleman in bowler hat and raincoat walks through the double doors of an architect’s office. Inside, the Chief Clerk is examining a newspaper carefully as a typist is busy at her desk. As he hears his boss coming in, he hides the paper underneath some plans he is working on. Mr Bowes walks in. Close-up of the paper the Sporting Man, which the Chief Clerk was reading. Mr Bowes walks to his office says a few words to his employees. The Chief Clerk swaps a joke with the typist, and settles back to his designing using a compass. A brochure on his desk catches his eye. He picks it up and flicks through. It’s a tourist brochure for Weston [-super-Mare] with a picture of a woman in a swimsuit looking out over the resort.

The scene cuts to the Chief Clerk’s home, where his wife is looking at the same holiday brochure with a smile. Kneeling in front of the fire in the lounge, she is packing a suitcase, clothes scattered on the rug around her. Her daughter comes in and hands her a doll to pack.

Back at the architect’s office, Mr Bowes pulls out a pile of cheques, takes out a key and opens a deposit box in the safe.

A man makes a call from a telephone box in a suburban high street. Mr Bowes asks the Clerk to answer the phone.

Title: “You answer it.”

The Chief Clerk answers the phone and hears the news about Mr. Bowes’ wife.

Title: “Your Wife has had an accident!”

Mr Bowes closes up the deposit box, leaving the door to the safe open. He talks on the phone, takes off his lab coat and rushes off.

Back at home, Mrs Bowes is in pain and a doctor is bandaging her arm as she rests in an armchair. Mr Bowes arrives home at their 30s semi-detached house. The doctor finishes off bandaging Mrs Bowes arm. Then, Mr Bowes sees him out.

Title: “… and you think she will be all right, Doctor?”

They shake hands and the doctor leaves. Back at the office, the typist prepares to leave and says goodbye to the Chief Clerk.

Title: “I hope you have a good holiday.”

He thanks her and she heads off. He consults an architect’s drawing and carries it over to another desk, where he lights a cigarette.

He glances over at a suitcase in the office labelled “Mr and Mrs R. E. Clark, Rex Hotel, Weston-super-Mare” His thoughts are on the holiday. Then he sees the safe door open. He checks it and Mr. Bowes has left the keys in the safe deposit box.

Mr Bowes calls the office from a telephone box. The Chief Clerk answers the phone and takes a message from Mr Bowes. He locks the safe deposit drawer and takes the keys. He addresses an envelope to Mr Bowes, pops the keys in and seals the envelope.

Title: The Following Morning

Mr Bowes arrives at the office the next morning. He unwraps a package with a new work lab coat, whilst the old one he had been wearing is still hanging on a hook on the door. He grabs it and places his bowler hat on the coat hook, tossing the dirty lab coat onto a shelf. He opens the envelope left by the Chief Clerk, takes out the keys and opens up the safety deposit box. The box is empty.

Title: “Stolen!”

He paces back to his desk, and thinks. He dictates a letter to the secretary. She types it up and he signs it.

Title: “See that goes to Mr Clark at Weston tonight.”

The typist takes the letter away.

On holiday, the Clark family are having tea at their hotel. A woman brings him a letter.

Title: “Letter for you, sir!”

He reads it and hands it to his wife. She looks concerned. He explains about the safe and pops the letter in his jacket pocket.

Title: The Following Morning

Mr. Bowes is questioning Mr Clark back at the office. He taps the desk with his pen. He writes something down, an old promotional blotter from Cabot's Quilt lying next to the page. He is sacking the Clerk. The letter reads: “Herewith, one week’s salary in lieu of notice. L.S. Bowes”

He hands the clerk his notice, who resignedly takes it and walks back to his house. Letting himself in, he slumps in an armchair in the living room, holding his head in his hands in despair. His wife walks over to comfort him. He tells her the news. Neither can believe it.

Mr Clark is looking through the job adverts in the Daily Telegraph and spots an advert for his old job. He is upset and slams the newspaper down on the floor.

A paper calendar shows that it is now 1936.

Mr Clark is still looking through job adverts as he has failed to find a position since being sacked. He notices a position as a Chief Clerk in an architect’s office: “must have first class experience – REFERENCES ESSENTIAL”. He is depressed. How can he apply without a reference? Slumped in the armchair, he dozes. He is becoming ill, coughing badly.

The doctor arrives at the Clerk’s home. Mrs Clark shows him in and unbuttons her husband’s shirt as the doctor takes out his stethoscope. He listens to Mr Clark’s heart. He talks to Mrs Clark.

Title: Mr Bowes dismissed him for theft and he cannot get work.”

She is visibly upset. The doctor leaves and gets back in his car. He looks in his diary and on Friday 13th the year before, he sees that he attended Mrs Bowes for a fractured arm. He drives away down the street.

A horse-drawn delivery cart drives out onto the street. The doctor pulls up at the architect’s business of Mr Bowes. In the office, he shakes hands with Mr Bowes. He explains about the health of the jobless Mr Clark, his former employee.

Title: “Surely you can do something for this man?”

Title: “I’m afraid not.”

He shakes his head. He is unmoved. The doctor argues his case for the unfortunate man. Mr Bowes suddenly spots his old lab coat, crumpled up in a heap in the storage cupboard. He grabs the coat and looks in the pockets where he discovers the wad of cheques he thought he had placed in the safe deposit box in the office. He realises he had made a mistake. The doctor shakes his head. Mr Bowes decides to go and see his former clerk.

Title: “Let us call on him at once.”

The two men drive off in the doctor’s car.

Back at Mr Clark’s home, the poor man is tearing his hair out in despair. The doctor drives through Newcastle on his way to Mr Clark’s house. Mr Clark now pulls a gun from a drawer, struggling to make up his mind. The doctor makes his way through Newcastle. Mr Clark pushes the gun away, but he looks desperate. The doctor’s car finally pulls up at Mr Clark’s house. The doctor and Mr Bowes knock at the door. Close-up of Mr Clark’s hand reaching towards the gun. He has made his decision. His wife, hearing the noise, comes into the room and screams. Mr Bowes and the doctor break into the front door.

The gun lies on the floor, Mr Clark’s limp hand hanging down. He has shot himself.

Title: The End