This film is part of Free

It Happened Thus

A valuable necklace is stolen – but where is the thief?

Amateur film 1937 13 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


Fuelled by pulp fiction, a rich woman's imagination goes into overdrive after her brush with a low-life on a Newcastle street. Not surprisingly for the cash-strapped 1930s in the north-east, differences between the haves and have-nots were in sharp relief. Just downriver, hard times on Depression-era Tyneside led to the historic Jarrow March, the year before this short amateur comedy thriller was made.

Produced by members of the Newcastle and District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA), this low-budget, small-gauge fiction film taps into the uneasy feel of 30s American crime movies, albeit with an escapist ending. Borrowed cinematic quirks such as coin-flipping gangsters are displaced to the Geordie capital. The interior scenes were filmed at Heaton's art deco Lyric Cinema, opened on 6th January 1936 and now home to the People's Theatre, the largest and oldest amateur theatre company in England. One of the first British cine clubs, Newcastle ACA was formed in 1927 and, against the odds, still operates in the city today.