Part of the Alan Bemis Collection held at Northeast Historic Films
Discussed by Martha J. McNamara, “Comedic Counterpoise: Landscape and Laughs in the Films of Sidney N. Shurcliff,” in Martha J. McNamara and Karan Sheldon, Amateur Movie Making: Aesthetics of the Everyday in New England Film, 1915-1960, 2017.
Alan Bemis Collection, Northeast Historic Films
"Intertitle: "The Motormaulers" Teaser of several chase and crash scenes Intertitle: "Present" Teaser of a roadster flying along a road (good follow shot by camera over long distance), followed by a screeching stop and slide in front of camera, and close-up of driver preparing to crash. The open roadster backs up toward camera and on its trunk is sign "Junkman's Holiday" as well as a 1932 Massachusetts license plate that acts as the title card. Intertitle: "Director Cameraman Producer Sound expert Scenario writer Technician Skid "Whatabody" Shurcliff Dedicated to THE SHURCLIFFS" Intertitle: "The spirit of spring comes to Happy Valley" A note: This film was made during the time of Prohibition. Shots of a wooden case marked "Champagne Bollinger Brut 1911" and pan up to two men in an outboard motorboat both dressed up as bootleggers, wearing striped shirts, derbies, scarves, mustaches, and smoking cigars. Bob Miller and Ned Dane are the bootleggers. One gets out his pistol and pats it. In an open car, marked Happy Valley Police Squad Radio Patrol, two Happy Valley policemen snooze (Alan Bemis and John Marshall). Two "farmers" in their open truck drive by and wake up the policeman, who then spot the smugglers in their outboard full of barrels. In a field, the farmer goes through a gate attended by a farmhand, then is followed by the police who signal and struggle to pass the farm truck, guns drawn. The bootleggers start to unload their booty. Meanwhile, the farmers, having been pushed off the road by the police car, are stuck. They begin unloading their cargo, blocking the road. The police drive wildly though open marshy fields, and the bootleggers finish loading and drive off. The police stop to seize the liquor left by the bootleggers, and Bemis shoots his rifle. CUs of holes being shot into the rear of the bootlegger car. One of the bootleggers breaks out the back window of the car and shoots back. More shots hit the getaway car, and more shots are fired from the car. Good shots of the two cars in chase in the field The bootleggers car crashes through the cargo the farmers have been unloading from their stalled truck, and crashes though the gated fence as the fence keeper (Alice Bemis) runs for her life. A small shed is destroyed, the policemen continue to shoot from their car, and the two cars try to force each other off the road. CU of the car with policemen rolling over onto its side by a barn. Another car crashes into it, and the policemen commandeer this car (6 cylinder Studebaker). Intertitle: "Dear old Aunty Waverbrain is taking all the family out for a quiet picnic" The "family" (all women) in their 4 cylinder Chevy, some hanging onto the running boards, park at the edge of a gravel pit, get out and settle in for a picnic. Some smoke, read, drink, and Chapie Bemis acts like a spoiled child. Kay Shurcliff reads the newspaper. As the bootleggers' car approaches the scene, POV as the women jump out of the way. CU shots in the car as a bootlegger drives. Shots of the car, a Reo sedan, crashing into the Chevy, which goes over the bank. The police car, bumping along, then follows over the bank. You can see the dummy in the car, then shots of the two bootleggers crawling out of their demolished car, and Alan Bemis emerging from the police car, still with rifle, chasing the bootleggers. Intertitle: "SEASON CLOSES HERE FOR 1932 When better cars are built, the Motormaulers will bust them." viewing notes via oldfilm.org