Feature Drama | 1930 | Silent | B/W
Good amateur home movie thriller.
French villains kidnap a young girl for ransom. Posh, suave, hero Noel Duval comes to the rescue.
Rough inter-title: Herman Garoulle an 'unscrupulous gangster' who makes 'kidnapping his speciality'. He is dapper - wearing a trilby, suit and coat. He makes a nasty face towards camera.
Inter-title: We are told of his plan to rob Lady Cartright of her £50,000 pearls. He decides that kidnapping her youngest daughter 'is likely to be the most successful way' of doing this.
Garoulle is seated, reading the paper in a garden. A fashionable young girl is sat on the arm of the chair with her arm around him. They are intimate and relaxed.
Inter-title. Garoulle instructs two of his ' most trustworthy men' to 'precede him to England' to prepare for the plot.
A man in simple working clothes and flat cap enters. Garoulle instructs him from his chair. The man salutes his understanding and leaves. Another man enters, also simply dressed. He tips his hat and listens closely. The girl acts flirtatiously and cheap. Garoulle remains composed.
Inter-title: England. Garoulle rents a country house for 3 months. He meets his ' new temporary associates enlisted by Rollo and Malone'.(suprisingly Rollo is never referred to again and instead becomes Wallace).
Outside the house. Garoulle sits anxiously with a cool and sharp lady who is smoking. They look concerned and gesture nervously towards the house. Waiting. Two men emerge. They are roughly dressed and seem shifty. They look at G. and the lady, listening to instructions and nodding. They leave. G and his female accomplice continue to converse animatedly. She stands with energy and leaves. G is alone until a different woman enters. She is very stylish, but common, wearing a long fur and cloche hat. She remains standing She seems nonchalant, shrugging as G instructs her. He shows her a picture/the plan. She listens then leaves is alone pondering.
Inter-title: Wallace and Malone 'undertake the act of kidnapping little Susie Cartright'.
Night time, outside. Dressed with flat-caps and scarves in the cold. W+M at the bottom of a ladder. One man (Malone), with a torch the other (Wallace) pouring Chloroform(?) into a handkerchief. They act quickly. They climb the ladder.
They reach the top and climb over the balcony. There is high tension. They look around nervously and keep low.
They enter with torchlight, through a window, into a dark room.
Inter-title: Ada, Lady Cartright's maid hears a noise in the girl's bedroom. She 'proceeds to investigate ,with unhappy results'.
The room is very dark with only the door illuminated by the torch. One of the men, Wallace(?) tip-toes quickly through the beam. He can be seen as a shadow gesturing with his finger for silence. He stands by the door. The door opens, a woman-Ada- enters. The man covers her face with the handkerchief. She struggles and collapses.
The torchlight shows a sleeping child.
Close-up of sleeping girl. W. moves in close, covers the 'Susie's face with the cloth. She struggles briefly and passes out. The bedcovers are moved, she is picked up.
Susie is carried.
Close-up of the girl, out cold, upside-down, wrapped in a quilt. The men carry her out of the room.
W carries her across the balcony and passes her to M who is waiting on the ladder. It is a windy night, her hair is blowing.
Continuity error- W is seen carrying Susie down the ladder and M is already on the ground waiting. They hurry into the dark.
An old haggard man with long messy hair and an eye-patch sits in a car looking out of the open door. He beckons hurriedly off screen.
Close-up of the old man. He has no teeth. He beckons again.
W+M arrive at the car. W puts Susie into the backseat and M gets in too. W shuts the door and get in the drivers seat.
Inter-title with typographic mistake: Susie awakes from 'dazed from the chloroform'. She is frightened and confused. She 'begs to be taken home'.
The girl wakes on the lap of the hag. M is onscreen left. Susie rubs her face, sits and looks around at them. The old man pushes her down. Dramatic sobbing and pleading from the girl to both. She tussles with the old man who mocks her and does a fake job of comforting her
Interior. The girls bedroom. An older girl wakes, looks at the empty bed next to her, switches on her reading light. She climbs over the beds and checks a figure on the floor.
Another child sleeps on the floor.
The older girl runs on to the landing raising the alarm. She is met by two women in dressing gowns. They converse in panic. They run off.
Ada is found by one woman the floor. She is dazed. She rubs her face, is given a stiff shot of drink and shakes her head. She recollects to the women.
The three ladies are sat by a plush bed. One is on the phone, one is in a great panic-clutching her chest and breathing quickly, while the girl comforts her.
Inter-title: 'Mr Chatterworth calls the next day and explains that the pearls are an heirloom and under no circumstances can they be handed over'.
Day time. Exterior. Garden by the house. Citroen-type car in background. Large trees. Large bird table. The two older ladies sit on a white bench in smart day-wear, talking. A small white dog is next to them. A maid enters, introducing a middle aged male visitor, Mr C. He carries his hat in his hand and papers under his arm. The women stand to greet him and they all sit.
He shows them the papers, explaining, shrugging - at a loss. The women do not look impressed.
Inter-title: 'Lady Cartright and Irma have no idea what to do when Irma receives a letter'.
LC and Irma stand in the garden and talk. They look almost bored, but probably confused. A large tree is in the background.
Outside. Irma sits in a wicker chair reading a letter. The white dog is with her.
The hand-written prose of a letter. It tells of the 'horror' felt by the author on reading about Susie's kidnapping and a supposed debt that he can '..redeem to you and yours' in assisting in her recovery. The author insists on Irma calling on him 'without delay' to give him certain facts 'essential to the return of the child'. The tone is urgent and commanding. The letter is signed 'Noel Duval'.
Irma folds the letter and puts it back in the envelope.
Inter-title: Irma decides to seek help from Duval as they cannot use the pearls to exchange for Susie. She is resolved to be 'frigid' in this encounter, although she 'inwardly has a great regard for he late Count Lupino'. There is an implied reference to some previous dalliance between the I. and M. Duval.
Interior. Evening. A study/drawing room. Animal trophies and hunting tools/ spears on the walls. A lit lamp. A distinguished older gentleman (N.D.) sits in a leather armchair reading. A butler enters. They converse and he leaves. D. stands as Irma enters wearing gloves and a fox stole. They talk for a while in a relaxed manner, They are familiar with each other. Irma does indeed act nonchalant and reserved. She turns and leaves the room, D. follows.
Inter-title: D. comes to a conclusion with Irma's information and police evidence. He decides it can only be Herman Garoulle who is responsible for this crime.
Interior. As before. Irma is seated in D's chair in fur coat and hat. D stands close by and lights her cigarette.
Inter-title: D invites Hugh Somerset, an old school friend to assist him. This is not the first time. H helps D 'in a good cause' as opposed to 'the usual unpleasant' crimes. There is an implied higher morality to HS.
A man enters. D and Irma stand. D shakes Hugh's hand. They quickly get down to business. They sit on the floor and discuss. D shows H some notes, they talk to Irma who is sat at a desk smoking. She nods. D seats himself in the armchair, he smokes. There is enthusiastic discussion and energy.
Inter-title: D introduces members of 'his Organisation' who will assist 'in frustrating' H.G.
A man enters the room and greets D and H. He sits Two more men enter and are welcomed. The butler pours drinks for them and D unfolds the plans. The men are eager, crowding around D as he explains. Irma is in the background.
Inter-title: H.S, with the 3 men attempts a raid on the house of HG. They are held up at 'the point of a revolver'.
Exterior. Daylight. An overgrown and shabby garden next to a house. A bleak warehouse-type building can be seen in the background. H.S enters with the 3 men and they are immediately apprehended by others, H.G's gang: One appears at a second story window, one over the garden wall, both with guns . Two more criminals rush to hold the men captive, while the last, a well-dressed man (H.G?) watches on. Hugh Somerset and his helpers are led off.
Exterior. Next to the house and open patio doors. H.S and his men are captured at gunpoint. Two lie on the flagstones, tied up, with gags on their mouths. Another is tied and pushed quickly to the ground. Lastly, H.S has his arms bound, is forced to the floor and then his legs are bound hard. H.G stands by watching the proceedings. The 5 henchmen leave and Garoulle remains for a moment with the captives, watching silently and then enters the house. Garoulle's cheap lady from earlier in the story emerges from the house with a tray. She carries afternoon tea. Garoulle also emerges, they sit and calmly drink tea. They are relaxed and composed, while their captives are bound and helpless. Suddenly they are alarmed and look ahead off camera.
A long, thick hedgerow. Tall trees behind. Two police helmets can be seen above the hedge moving left and right. No faces.
H.G and his lady quickly get up enter the house and close the doors after themselves. Hugh and his boys are still tied up.
Front of house. An ivy-covered entrance. Jump-cut - a car appears. The chauffeur hurriedly gets in. H.G stands back rapidly ushering in his woman and the 4 gang members. He gets into the car last. The car speeds off.
Inter-title: A humorous aside. 'Showing what can be done with two borrowed police helmets and a little forethought'.
The two helmets reveal themselves to be Noel Duval and policeman. D looks through binoculars, off camera, and points at a far away point. They discuss something and agree.
Jump-cut. They are in front of the hedge. They walk in a relaxed manner towards the camera. They talk and D seems happy, he looks and chuckles towards the camera.
Patio set-up, the men tied up on the ground. D and friend enter shot. D seems amused and greets the captives with a cheeky flourish of a wave. There is no sense of urgency. All 4 men are untied. They stand, stretch and rub their sore points. A quick discussion and they enter into the house. Duvall, having helped himself to tea , calls H. Somerset back. He offers him tea also.
Inter-title: The house is searched. No sign of the child. 'So Herman Garoulle wins the first round'.
Two other men exit the house and join the tea-drinkers. They shake their heads in answer.
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