Film: 8887

Social History | 1950 | Sound | B/W


South African police film in an apartheid South Africa 1950's

1. Murder Investigation

A white convertible car drives to a stop in a clearing,(a shot is fired) and a man gets out of the car. He runs into a sun-lit forest.

A car speeds along a road towards the camera. A radio mic on a switchboard. ('control calling car 32'). A pylon from below with wires and clouds in the sky. Interior of moving police car, taken from the back seat, with two police in the front. ('….car parked off road..body of a man in the drivers seat') Speeding police car along the same road. Same interior of car; police passenger picking up a phone. Control desk with policeman writing down incoming call. The white car in the clearing; the black police car approaches and stops, a policeman gets out and goes to the suspect vehicle. The murdered man is slumped in the front seat of the white car with blood running from his head; the policeman looks around the victim. The policeman beckons to his colleague in the black squad car. A hanging telephone on the dashboard of the squad car.

The Policeman in drivers seat talks into the phone to control. The other can be seen making notes next to the body. A pylon/communication tower shot from underneath, up the centre. Close-up: Main control desk and operator, making notes on what is being relayed from the site. Three police at a complex switchboard panel. Close-up of one switchboard and operator. High ranking policeman talks into phone. Man in suit in front of wall map talks into phone. They talk. An assistant makes notes listening to what the suited man passes on. Both sit in an office room with map on wall, wooden table and cabinets and a lot of books. The phone is hung up and both men get up and leave.

('..a killer will name, no address, no face') . A man's legs and feet walking along a busy pavement. A busy town scene; many people, a large stone building and a double-decker tram. An empty town road, partially in shadow. The same legs walking along a pavement; they stop, move right and left and exit in a different direction. (' no matter where he goes..twenty thousand men will be watching'). A sunlit pavement; a long shadow appears of a man. A policeman enters the frame and looks slowly around.

A busy road with traffic jams('..hunting him..(in)Johannesburg'). Two policeman walk passed high white walls to a house in a suburban road, with a mountain on the horizon. (' Table-Mountain'). Two policeman on horse back ride slowly through a settlement on a grass land with several huts and people sat together on the ground. ( '..thatched roof…of the Transkai'). The brow of a large ship at dock; many ropes and crane. ('Port Elizabeth'). A rural lane ('..Orange Free State' ),with sign saying: Post Office,Poskantoor. Two policemen drive past, one on a motorbike and one in the sidecar. A wide and spacious esplanade and road with grand buildings. A policeman walks along.('Durban').

Another car joins the other two in the same clearing. Two men in suits get out and join the policeman at the scene. The walk to the side of the victim's car and begin to check the body and to take notes. One of the men rushes back to his car. A man in the drivers seat passes him the telephone; he talks.

2. Recruitment and Training
( nb: all police cadets are white and mostly extremely blond)

A quiet road lined with trees; a large building in the distance. A truck drives passed filled with men. Policemen on horseback can be seen in the distance.('Police Training College in Pretoria'). Lines of uniformed horseback police pass in procession; the truck is seen stopping nearby. Eager faces of young men looking and smiling. The young men on the back of the truck watching the parade. Driveway up to the college from the stone entrance columns; police riders and the new recruits on truck pass. The truck drives close to the front of the building; a group of police march past. The truck stops and the men, in civilian clothes, get off. A police man of rank pints to where they should stand. The men rush to get into ordered rows. Close-up of expectant faces looking around and talking. Stone steps leading up to the college entrance with shrubbery either side. The men turn to their right and walk up in double file. One stops to do his shoelace; the supervising officer hurries him along. A large dormitory with about twenty simple beds. The room is filled with new recruits unpacking things from boxes on to their beds. Boys put books, boots etc onto their shelves.

Uniformed cadets in parade formation. Close-ups of three different cadets and voice over information about who they are, where they come from. A troop of cadets turns and marches out of formation. A group of mounted police cadets receive instruction as to how to mount a horse correctly. One boy attempts and succeeds; he smiles. Watching boys look and smile. Close-up of police horse 'neighing'.
Two lines of the boys sit on grass in shorts. They watch others run up to a mat and do flips and Arab-springs. A supervisor watches on. An officer inspects a group of cadets, he point at one of them('..discipline, smartness and correct appearance are stressed at all times..'). A boy's shoes with his shoelaces undone. A boy's face with uniform hat on his head. The officer talking to the cadet, who steps back and bends down. The boy ties his shoelace.

A troop of cadets with rifles march in formation. An Officer/Lieutenant shouts orders. The troop changes direction with an 'about-turn'.
A grassy hill; several targets rise up from out of sight. A row of about ten cadets fire rifles. Close-up of one of them. The targets are hit. The rifles are held 'at ease'. Close-up: hands firing handguns. The row of cadets from behind firing at human shaped targets. The same shot from below at the front.
A gun pointing at close-range, at a persons back ,dressed in white.('.. The art of judo..'). A large white mat on the grass. Two couples of boys practice judo disarming moves. Others watch from the side. All are dressed in white judo uniforms. Close-up of blond boy watching intently. Two boys on the mat fight; one throws the other over his shoulder. One attacks the other with his hand but is prevented.
Several rows of boys exercise on the spot; more performing running jumps and flips in front of them. Close-up of the jumps.

Police cadets sat at desks in a classroom. A lesson is being taught ( 'native tribal customs…and courtroom procedures'). A police teacher stands at the front of the class, behind a desk and speaks to the boys; there is writing on the blackboard. Close-up of a student listening intently.
The dorm room. Cadets stand to attention next to their well-made beds with their uniforms folded neatly on a box at the end. Three high ranking police make their expectations of the boys and their appearance/tidiness. Close-up of one young blond boy standing to attention who is being observed. The Officers stand close and discuss him. Close-up of one officer with hat, shirt and jacket and thin pencil moustache; he looks downwards. The boy nervously follows his gaze. Close-up of the boys shoes. He is the same boy from before but this time his shoe-laces are tied. Close-up of the officer smiling.
Exterior. Daylight. Two rows of cadets with their unsaddled horses. Several shots of the young police cadets grooming the horses; brushing their flanks, hooves and wiping the eyes. The mounted police cadets wear riding gear; shirts boot and jodhpurs. Shots of the cadets riding in unison and executing turns together. They wear police helmets here. An open-air swimming pool; bodies swimming. Boys lie in swimming trunks at the side of the pool and watch as another performs a comedy dive off the high board , into the pool. Boys stand next to a large bookshelf in a library and leaf through books. A large reading room. Some boys sit at tables and read, others read newspapers on tilted reading desks. Some good examples of severe military haircuts for a brief moment. A church/chapel pew filled with a line of boys. Each boy hold a hymn book and is singing; his hat placed in front of him on the pew ledge. They have smart police uniforms on. Close-ups on individuals and shots of the whole congregation including minister.

Shot of the South African flag on a pole, blowing in the wind. Exterior. Daylight. (' The impressive Passing -Out Parade'). New police parade on horse back, in full uniform, in graduation show. Men and women in an audience area watching the parade. A table on a raised platform with chairs. Five high ranking Police stand in front. The graduates, both mounted and non-mounted police stand to attention facing them. Close-up of new policeman with helmet. Shot of an attractive young woman in the audience, with polka-dot dress smiling and talking to an older lady, she waves. Men, other women and children are also in shot watching. The same boy smiling back.
Shots of the mounted police performing rifle salute in response to Officer salute. Shots of police band. Audience members in light summer-clothing watch the proceedings. The 'Commissioner of Police' hand a small award cup to a graduate and some medals to others and shakes their hands. Troops march in procession. The Commissioner watches and salutes to them.

3. Solving crime.

Night shots of city with shop and car lights. A parked car with men inside; a policeman comes up next to it and talks to those inside. Large four-story building on a corner, 'police headquarters'. Interior. Seven policemen sit around a large desk and listen to a presentation by another , point out things on a map. ('..Where ten divisions.. Are synchronised..'). Closer shot of presenting policeman holding pointer stick and explaining. Shot of sign on brick wall: ' South African Police. Sud Afikaanse Polisie'. Exterior of entrance to police station with that sign on the wall. It is a low building with plain architecture and shrubs at the front. A policeman with leaves his motorbike(with side-car) and enters. Two others exit the station. Interior. Entrance room. Police talk to civilians at the desk; the motorcycle policeman brings a document and talks to another. Close-up of very young policeman with white helmet, talking.
Tribal South Africans people sit and stand outside the walls of a settlement. A mounted policeman approaches them. Close-up of him smiling down and saluting; he talks to them. The tribal members look up at him and listen. They are wearing highly decorated clothing and elaborate hairstyles. A car is crashed by the side of the road. People crowd around and watch. A policeman talks to a couple of them and takes notes. Sand dunes,(' the Namaqualand Desert') and a jeep filled with policemen driving along. One of them stands and looks through binoculars. A troop standing to attention with guns and bayonets. Many medals lined up on a table. Several shots of a medal giving ceremony. The Minister of Justice hands out medals. Policeman salute in response. Troops standing to attention, with audience watching.
Close-up. A young man lies face down on a floor next to a bed; a simulation of a murder: ' a C.I.D probationers course'. Many police officers surround the crime scene, watching and taking notes. A plain clothed man kneels by the actor and takes evidence from the scene. An officer in uniform verbally instructs the students. They stand around the bed and listen intently. A man seated at a desk in an office talks to a younger man standing to attention in front of him. Close-up of the younger man talking and smiling, '..the probationary label is dropped..a fully trained detective takes his place..'. The older man smiles in front of a large wall map.

The grey-white convertible with murder victim from before, in the wooded clearing. The other two police cars are parked next to it and three more drive up to them. C.I.D officers arrive with sniffer dog on a long rope. The dog is sent off. Close-up of the victim's head slumped forward. A man rests a flash camera on the top of the windows. Above shot of victim, inside of car and photographer taking a shot. Close-up of side of car and fingerprint dusting taking place, with prints becoming visible. C.I.D officer presses the correct paper onto the fingerprint area. Good shot of fingerprints being transferred onto the paper. Officers measure and mark out the area and get into the car for closer inspection. Above shot: '.. The district surgeon' checks the body and the wound for clues. A wooded area with grass. Police look around, searching in the grass with sticks. C.I.D officers crouch around the body on the ground. They search his body and look amongst his items. The sniffer dog, with handler walks through grass, stopping at the road. Close-up of the dog barking. The cars parked together; four men, two in doctors whites, carry the body away. Interior. A curtain is opened; a woman stands with police man and doctor/mortician. She looks, nods at the policeman and cries into her handkerchief. The curtains are drawn. The young C.I.D detective from earlier questions office workers. Three men look at book records on a desk. Men sit on stools and wooden lectern/desks, at the 'Criminal Investigations Bureau in Pretoria'. Close-up. A mans hands hold a small paper with a set of fingerprints on next to a big book containing many more prints. He is comparing them and looking for a match. Close-up of the bullet being held in a clamp and turned. Ballistics lab with guns mounted on the wall next to an expert in white coat looking into a microscope. Close-up of someone's thought 'scribblings', with the number £5,000 written with photographs next to it on a desk; a hand writes a bit and then scrunches the paper up. A C.I.D Officer sits at a desk overflowing with papers whilst smoking a pipe. He is thinking intently; looking at his notes, evidence and at the victims wallet. He removes a piece of paper from the wallet. Close-up of a telegram message; 'Happy birthday on the fourth, from John', and the address. The officer compares the telegram with another bit of paper and then picks up the phone.
Panorama shot of Kimberley town, with houses, church and cars seen. Interior a different , smaller,police office. Two men sit at a desk; another enters and hands them a piece of paper. Close-up. The same message from the printed telegram is this time handwritten. A records book with many lines of writing. A C.I.D policeman looks at this book and compares it with something written on a piece of paper in his hand. He is at a desk in a lobby with an old man behind it and pigeon holed cabinet on the wall. He pints out what he has seen to the old man, who then nods and talks to him. Interior of a bedroom with floral drapes and wooden dressing table with mirror. Two C.I.D detectives look for clues; one empties drawers and the other looks for fingerprints. Close-up of prints being lifted from a glass on the bed. Close-up of fingerprints matched, enlarged and mounted on a sheet of white paper. The young detective and the pipe smoking officer discuss enthusiastically next to a desk, the boy makes a phone call. Police checks by the road, at the docks, at the railway and at the airport.
Long distance shot of Cape town and Table -Mountain. Interior. A filing room. A woman stands with a C.I.D detective and looks through an open drawer. Close-up of hands flicking through index cards and picking out one identification card with photograph of a man. She removes the card and gives it to the man. Copies of an article with that same photograph fall on top of one another. A printing press makes many copies; a man picks one up. Close-up of the 'Wanted for Murder' leaflet. A mounted policeman approaches a white parked car; a tribal woman stands and observes. He dismounts and looks in through the window; he makes notes and smiles. Wide-angle shot of main street in Durban with traffic and office blocks. A C.I.D officer and another man at a desk look at the leaflet and compare the photograph with others. Parked cars are behind them. Long shot of suburb of Johannesburg. A car drives quickly along a road past a parked police car. Two policemen inside look at the passing car and check their notes. They nod and start the car, driving down the road in pursuit. Interior of police car; a phone call is made. A shot of a telegraph/communications pole. An operations switchboard and policeman receiving the call, another making notes. The black police car in close pursuit of the suspect's car. Interior: the suspect's car. He turns around to look behind whilst driving. Close-up of microphone and control policeman. Interior of another parked police car with two policemen in. One leans forward and turns the volume up on his radio. They listen; the car pulls away. Shots of chase with more squad cars joining in. Interior: control room with large road map spread out horizontally. Police track the chase with model cars placed on the map. The cars speed up, screeching around corners. The suspect looks out of his window. The model cars are moved closer on the map. The suspects car turns into a dusty lane and stops. The suspect turns to look behind him. He gets out of the car and runs off into the grass as the police cars approach. He disappears into trees as more cars arrive and stop, and the police give chase on foot. Mounted police search the vegetation as well as more men on foot. The suspect hides behind trees with a gun as policemen search in front of him. One policeman on foot emerges from the shrub close to the suspect, who turns and fires. He is then shot at by the policeman and is wounded in the shoulder. Many more police appear from all around to apprehend the murderer , arrest him and lead him away. Interior. A desk covered with evidence; photographs, documents, money etc. The young detective and older officer discuss next to the desk. The telegram is placed in a folder with other written evidence/notes and the folder is closed.
Exterior. A stone statue of 'Justice'. A blindfolded figure holding scales. Large stone steps at entrance to a courthouse. The two C.I.D police from before walk down and meet a uniformed policeman at the bottom. He hands one a light, who then lights his pipe from it. They salute and part company.

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