Film ID:
NEFA 21349

WHAT SHALL I WEAR?

1936

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Description

A romance doesn’t go according to plan for a woman who wears the wrong outfit for a visit to her fiancé’s relatives and comes a cropper in a paper-chase. This 1930s drama, pitting the flawed hero against a lecherous scoundrel, was produced by James Cameron Jnr. and fellow members of the Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA).

A couple walk happily along a path through a copse. Both are wearing elegant evening wear, she in a long satin dress and he in a formal dark suit with a bowtie. They emerge into a garden.

Title: After the briefest of holiday acquaintances Gladys and Ian become engaged.

They kiss passionately. He takes out an engagement ring and slips it on her finger. They kiss again.

Title: “What about coming down to North Dene for the weekend?”

Ian invites his new fiancé to visit his relatives in the country. She gestures to her evening wear and asks what clothes she should wear for the weekend.

Title: “What shall I wear?”

They stroll together back through the trees.

Gladys arrives at a railway station on her visit to Ian’s relatives. An enamel sign on the station wall reads “A Bovril sandwich is a ‘spread’ in itself.”

Ian and his chauffeur are having some trouble with the car engine on their way to pick up Gladys at the station. The chauffeur takes off his jacket as Ian nervously checks the time on his watch.

Title: “Hurry man – the train was due ten minutes ago.”

The chauffeur starts to fix the engine.

Meanwhile, Gladys is waiting to be picked up at the station. A man pulls up in an Austin Seven car with the roof down, and hops out, a little too keen.

Title: “Excuse me, can I be of assistance?”

Title: “My name is Tracy, I’m on the way to North Dene myself.”

Tracy helps collect her suitcases from the station platform. She gets in the car and the two head off to North Dene. On the road, they drive past Ian’s broken-down car. Ian spots them and rushes into the road to wave after them. The chauffeur closes up the engine hood.

Mr Tracy’s Austin Seven pulls into the forecourt of a grand mansion. A little while later Ian’s car drives up to the house. He dashes over to Gladys as she steps out of Tracy’s car.

Title: “I’m sorry Gladys, the car broke down.”

Gladys looks annoyed.

Title: “I was lucky Mr Tracy gave me a lift.”

She thanks Mr Tracy and the three walk towards the house. Ian introduces Gladys to the lady of the house (his mother?). Gladys is invited into the house as a maid walks out. The chauffeur hands her Gladys’ luggage from the car and the two carry the bags indoors.

Outside in the mansion gardens, guests are enjoying afternoon tea. Gladys is taken to meet the other guests. The men rise to greet Gladys. Gladys and Ian chat.

Title: “We are having a paper-chase tomorrow, you’ll love it.”

They stroll together arm-in-arm in the mansion gardens, pausing beside a stone pool with a nymph sculpture. A shot follows of the lovers’ reflection in the pool as they kiss.

Title: The next day.

Two runners (known as ‘foxes’) set off into the woods to lay a paper trail for the paper-chase game (also known as Hare and Hounds).

Back in the mansion gardens, all the guests are gathered, dressed in casual clothes, most taking part in the paper-chase. Mr Tracy will not be taking part.

Title: “No running for me – I’m recovering from a strain.”

The group chat, Mr Tracy enjoying a cigarette. A man in round spectacles announces that it’s time to start the game. They all race off, heading first for the woods. Ian and the lady of the mansion check their watches. Gladys joins Ian. She is wearing totally unsuitable high-heeled shoes with her outfit.

Title: “Look here, Dear, you can’t run in those things.”

Close-up of her shoes and long pencil skirt.

Title: “I like them. I’m sorry you don’t.”

Ian and Gladys set off to join the cross-country paper-chase, despite those high-heeled shoes.

The two ‘foxes’ run down a country road, laying the paper trail as they go. They hop over a fence and across a field, disturbing a grazing flock of sheep.

Ian and Gladys race towards a gate, which Ian straddles and topples over. He helps Gladys to climb over.

The gang of guests from the mansion run up a country road together and discover the trail of paper. They all clamber over a fence on the trail of the two ‘foxes’. The two ‘foxes’ run through the undergrowth of a wood, scattering paper as they go.

Ian runs through a shady path in the woods, Gladys following some way behind.

Title: “Buck up, Dear, we are nearly there.”

Gladys is trailing further behind, her shoes sticking in the mud. Ian continues to run speedily through the woods. Gladys is now walking, picking her way through the grass. She falls over a wire fence. She is getting more dishevelled. Her shoes keep coming off. She picks one up and it is covered in mud. She sits down beside a tree on a grass verge and tries to clean off the mud. A car pulls up on the road. Mr Tracy gets out and asks if she is alright.

Title: “Hullo. In trouble again.”

Mr Tracy comforts her and touches her head gently, her hair now in complete disarray.

Title: “I got left behind, and Ian never even missed me.”

He helps her up and sits her in the car with a blanket over her knees.

Ian and the rest of the gang have arrived at a rendezvous where Ian’s car and the chauffeur are waiting. The women get their coats on. A pet dog joins them. They wonder what has happened to Gladys.

Title: “She must have sprained her ankle.”

Ian starts running back to find Gladys. He races back into the woods.

[Reel 2]

Mr Tracy walks through the mansion house gardens, with Gladys now in a change of clothes. They sit together on a bench in the sunshine. He is very attentive. He offers her a cigarette from his case.

Title: “I won’t stay another minute, look up the next train, please.”

He takes her hand.

Title: “Let me run you up to town?”

Ian arrives, running up the drive to the mansion. He peers over a balcony wall to see if he can spot Gladys. Back in the garden, Gladys puts on her hat. Ian jogs around the garden and comes across Gladys.

Title: “Thank God, I was afraid you had met with an accident.”

Gladys pulls her hand away brusquely when Ian approaches her.

Title: “No thanks to you I didn’t. Mr Tracy helped me.”

They argue and she takes off her engagement ring and throws it on the ground, running away from him. Ian sits on the bench. The diamond ring lies on the ground. Ian picks it up, and looks upset.

In the mansion garages, the chauffeur is busy polishing the car, a cigarette in his mouth. Mr Tracy walks up to his car (the Austin Seven), and puts his bag in the back. He opens the hood of his car and takes something out. He starts to tamper with the petrol tank. Petrol seeps from the tank. The chauffeur spots him and scratches his head, wondering what he’s up to. Inside the car, the petrol gauge shows the tank is nearly empty.

Mr Tracy drives to the forecourt of the mansion house, where Gladys is shaking hands with Ian’s relative (or mother?).

Title: “Must you really go, my dear?”

Mr Tracy opens the car door for Gladys. The maid puts her luggage in the back of the car.

Heartbroken, Ian is still staring at the ring, holding his head in despair.

Mr Tracy drives Gladys away.

Ian’s friend joins his chauffeur in the garage and asks where the petrol stain on the floor has come from.

Title: “That’s from Mr Tracy’s car, Sir.”

Ian is still in the garden wondering what to do. He rushes off.

The evening is drawing in. Mr Tracy’s car speeds along the road.

Ian suddenly appears in the garage and hops into the driver’s seat of his car. The chauffeur remonstrates.

Title: “The petrol is very low.”

The chauffeur screws the car mascot back on. Ian races to put more petrol in the car. He hurriedly drives off to catch up with Mr Tracy and Gladys. Left standing in the garage, the chauffeur scratches his head, puzzled.

Mr Tracy stops his car, gets out and checks the engine. He pretends that he had no idea the petrol was low.

Title: “I’m terribly sorry, the tank is dry.”

He gets back in the car and looks at the map.

Title: “Where is the nearest village?”

Title: “Ten miles. We are here the night.”

He playfully knocks off her hat and tries to kiss her. Shocked, she tries to fend off his advances and jumps out of the car. He grabs her and they struggle at the roadside. Ian has arrived on the scene to rescue his sweetheart. He rushes over and fights Mr Tracy. He knocks the scoundrel out with a blow to the head. In the dim, dusky light, Ian walks Gladys back to his car and is not entirely sympathetic.

Title: “I thought you had more sense than to trust a blackguard like Tracy.”

They get in Ian’s car and drive away. Mr Tracy has recovered. He lights another cigarette and watches them drive away. A car drives along the country road, its headlights gleaming in the dark.

Title: The End