Friday, June 24, 2011

A scene from the stageplay Busman's Honeymoon

If you go to the website above - via your computer - you'll be able to view 3 minutes of a scene from the stage play Busman's Honeymoon, which was on in the West End in December, 1936.

This was the last Peter Wimsey novel (althogh Sayers left behind an unfinished one, Thrones, Dominations). Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane have just married, and Peter has bought a house, Tallboys, for their honeymoon. But when they arrive they find the body of the previous owner at the foot of a flight of stairs, dead.

In the 1930s, movie theaters showed newsreels before the main feature, and in this instance they are showing a scene from the play. It's interesting that they chose this clip - Peter Wimsey has nothing to do, they're showing off the comedic talents of the actress, instead.

It's even more interesting that the person who, in the modern day, described this clip for Pathe apparently never heard of Peter Wimsey - "appears to be a murder mystery" indeed!


From the Pathe site:
Full title reads: "Now we are taking you over to the Comedy Theatre, London, for a peep at - 'Busman's Honeymoon' where that famous Character Actress Nellie Bowman is being cross-examined by David Hawthorne. (In the background Lord Peter Wimsey - Dennis Arundell, watches)."

Scene from a stage play, appears to be a murder mystery. Various shots of stage with set that looks like dining room from country house. Nellie plays Mrs. Ruddle , a comic housekeeper, who is being interviewed about the mysterious death of her master. Hawthorne plays a detective trying to establish the time of death but gets frustrated as Mrs. R. keeps changing her story. In the end they discover that she was not (as first suspected) the last person to see her master, in fact it was the young police constable (character of Joe Sennen) taking notes. Arundell paces about in background, making odd comment.

Note: old records name play as 'Busman's Holiday'. Music is 'Light O' Love' by Thorn Hawkes.

Note: sound and vision seem slightly out of sync. I think this is because they we recorded separately and them edited together. AH 2001.

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