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T.9002 (6 reel 9.5mm sound release by Pathéscope May 1939)
Also T.7002 (9 reel 17.5mm sound release by Pathéscope August 1936) 
"THE SECRET OF THE LOCH"             GB May1934     Dir: Milton Rosmer
-----------------------              A Wyndham Production
78mins B/W Cert "U"                  Produced by: Bray Wyndham
(Approx 50mins on 9.5mm)             Released by: A.B.F.D.
Produced at A.T.P. Studios, Ealing, London
Screenplay by: Charles Bennett and Billie Bristow
Technical Director: J.Elder Wills    Photography: James Wilson
Assistand Directors: Hector Elwes and B. Graham Soutten
Underwater Photography: Eric Cross   Editing: David Lean
Music by: Peter Mendoza
Cast:   Seymour Hicks ........... Professor Heggie
        Nancy O'Neil .......,.... Angela Heggie
        Gibson Gowland .......... Angus
        Frederick Peisley ....... Jimmy Andrews
        Eric Hales .............. Jack Campbell
        Ben Field ............... Piermaster
        Hubert Haben ............ Prof. Blenkinsop Fothergill
        Rosamund John ........... Maggie Fraser (barmaid)
        Robb Wilton ............. Reporter
        Fewlass Llewellyn ....... Scientist at Meeting
        Stafford Hilliard ....... MacDonald (uncredited)
        John Jamieson ........... Minor role (uncredited)
        Cyril McLaglen .......... Mate (uncredited)
        Clive Morton ............ Reporter (uncredited)
        Elma Reid ............... Minor role (uncredited)
        D.J. Williams ........... Judge (uncredited)

       Seymour Hicks

Fanatical in his belief that the Loch Ness Monster exists, Professor
Heggie sends a diver down to explore an area called "The Great Cave".
When he fails to reappear, the Professor is charged with manslaughter.
To discover the truth, Jimmy Anderson, a reporter from "The Daily Sun",
makes a dive at the same spot.  He finds a body, but is attacked by
the monster .....

Enjoyable comic romp that is one of the first to include a storyline featuring the mythical Loch Ness monster. Containing a good deal of comedy and some stereotypical Scottish characters, the films major letdown is the special effects finale with a ‘monster’ that appears to be a giant iguana. Esteemed future filmmaker David Lean edited this obscure but mildly entertaining curio.

Crackpot Scottish Professor Heggie (Seymour Hicks) heads for London scientific conference swearing to have seen the Loch Ness monster, and demanding his fellow scientists investigate his claim. They mockingly dismiss his assertions as nonsense but an enthusiastic young reporter, Jimmy Andrews (Frederick Peisley), offers to travel to Scotland for an interview with Professor Heggie – but gets short shrift. Regardless, Jimmy travels to Scotland, as do a handful of his fellow journalists, and gains entry to the professor’s mansion where he meets Heggie’s charming granddaughter Maggie (Rosamund John); whom he quickly falls in love with. Jimmy eventually finds the courage to scout the waters and has a confrontation with the creature itself - (

by Maurice Trace

Seymour Hicks was a celebrated actor, author, playwright, composer, theatre manager and producer.An extrovert, he led a colourful life, mixing with Royalty and other notables such as Oscar Wilde, W.S. Gilbert and Henry Irving. Festooned with honours and popular acclaim, he was knighted in 1935, twice awarded the Cross de Guerre and also won the Legion of Honour. Hicks was an accomplished performer in films and three of his movies were released by Pathéscope. ("Secret of the Loch"; "Scrooge" and "It's You I Want") He often appeared on stage with his wife Ellaline Terriss and the pair were regarded as a show business "golden couple". Her father was the popular leading man William Terriss who was murdered outside the stage door of the Adelphi Theatre by a deranged actor.

Seymour was born at the end of January 1871 in Jersey (UK), which he described as "an islnd full of poor ladies and gentlemen". Following a short spell as a wine-merchant's clerk in London, he took to the stage at the age of sixteen. His first role was as an extra at the Grand in Islington where the prompter was a youth who later became the renowned A.E. Mathews. Seymour quickly rose to fame as an actor and also began to write light musicals in which he later starred. He worked with impresario George Edwardes, whose life formed the basis of the 1946 film "Gaiety George", which is on 9.5mm sound. Edwardes is credited with inventing the modern musical comedy, but Hicks later wrote that it was doubtful if George could tell the difference between "Abide With Me" and The National Anthem!

The musicals were a great success and financially very rewarding. One called "Beauty Of the Bath", had additional lyrics written by an unknown gentleman called P.G. Wodehouse and extra music from a promising musician named Jerome Kern. With his fortune, Seymour built two London theatres - the Aldwych in 1905 and a year later, the "Hicks" which is now "The Guilgud". He also branched out to play major dramatic roles such as Shakespeare's Richard 111 and Charles Dicken's Ebenezer Scrooge.

Hicks also saw possibilities in the growing Cinema Industry. He made his first film in 1907, a short called "Seymour Hicks Edits The Tatler". In 1922 he worked on a two reel comedy called "Always Tell Your Wife". Seymour starred, produced and the plot came from one of his plays. shooting did not rum smoothly and director Hugh Croise was sacked. To take his place Hicks brought in the studio property master - a young man called Alfred Hitchcock.

In 1934 Seymour appeared in "Secret Of The Loch", a film which has spoilt ninefivers. Pathéscope released the movie in full on 17.5mm sound and on 9.5mm as a sound six-reeler, a three reel silent and a 100ft sound clip under the title "Monsters". (plus a 60ft silent short "After the Monster" - gln) The names of the people involved are impressive. The screenplay came from Charles Bennett, one of Hitchcock's top writers ("Blackmail"; "The 39 Steps" etc), a young David Lean was the editor and the cast included Gibson Gowland, star of Eric Von Stroheim's classic "Greed". The plot centres on the Loch Ness Monster which was all the rage at the time.

The opening is impressive as a man runs through the countryside in the middle of the night. He bursts into an inn and claims to have seen the Beast. Professor Heggie (Hicks) enters and eloquently delivers a sombre speech about the mystery of the loch. This is a superb sequence, but alas the rest of the film is an uneasy mixture of thriller, comedy and horror movie. Some of the scenes are played for broad farce, whilst others are effective chillers. The weak hero (Frederick Peisley) is an irritant, and when it finally appeared, the monster was a big dissapointment. It turned out to be an actual living reptile magnified to a huge size. Also Hick's performance lapses into caricature with director Milton Rosmer unable to control the great man. Rosmer had been an actor in the Silents with a style often referred to as "ham". He must have approved of his star's excesses!!
.......................................................... (Reviews of his other 9.5mm films are omitted here) ............................
Seymour continued working in both cinema and theatre up to his death in 1949. His final film was "Silent Dust" in which he played Lord Clandon. Fittingly the role of Lady Clandon was taken by Marie Lohr, his co-star from "It's You I Want". Seymour Hicks came from a world long gone. His splendid book "Vintage Years" (1943) about l9fe in London before the turn of the century ("the naughty nineties") is a fine read. The publisher commented it was "as though a century or more had intervened". Ellaline passed away in 1971 at the age of 100 and so ended a magic era.

(slightly edited from a Maurice Trace article published in the Group 9.5 magazine no.138 - Summer 2009)

The full length film is currently
available on Volume Four of
the Ealing Rareties Collection

(A very good print and film!
Try Amazon etc. - gln Dec2014)

Or watch the complete film on You Tube
"The Secret Of the Loch"

  1. T.9732 "Monsters" a 100ft clip from the film (with a commentary by Edward Brunger
     - Pathéscope Sales Manager), was issued by Pathéscope in March 1954.

  2. The film was also issued by Pathéscope in April 1936 as a 3 reel silent - SB30176.
     A 60ft silent clip from the film - D.30187 "After the Monster" was listed for 
     a 1936 release. (It was issued - a copy has just turned up! - gln 02Dec2014)

  3. Many scenes were shot "behind locked doors" to preserve the identity of the 
     "monster". This turned out to be an actual living reptile magnified to huge size.

  4 The opening credits included a thank-you to the following for their assistance:
          The London Zoological Society
          Siebe Gorman & Co Ltd - Submarine Engineers
          Process Productions Limited

  5. Scenes missing from the 9.5mm print include Anderson's arrival at the Scottish
     inn, followed by talks with the locals and also a long section where the 
     professor's grand-daughter maroons the reporter in the countryside and he then
     meets the man who is to make the dive in the loch. The scenes at the London
     meeting are savagely abridged, as is Heggie's opening appearance at the inn -
     notably his eerie speech about "on dark winter nights, when the mist hangs over
     the loch, death comes in many ways ...."

  6. An actress was needed to play the Scottish barmaid. On the basis of a friend's
     introduction, the producers hired an English nineteen year old with no experience
     of acting or public houses! She was Nora Rosamund Jones, who soon changed her
     name to Rosamund John and went on to become a big star! Cyril McLaglen plays an
     uncredited role as the mate on the boat.  The brother of Hollywood star Victor
     McLaglen, Cyril was a leading man in several British films,such as "Balaclava"
     which Pathescope released on 9.5mm silent.

  7. David Lean became one of Britain's top directors ("Brief Encounter"; "Bridge On
     the River Kwai"; "Laurence Of Arabia" etc.) During his early career, David worked
     as an editor on films such as this.  Gibson Gowland was the lead (McTeague) in 
     Erich von Stroheim's silent classic "Greed" (1923).

  8. Charles Bennett, who worked on the screenplay, was one of Alfred Hitchcocks's 
     favourite writers.  He created the play "Blackmail" which Hitch filmed as the
     first British sound feature and later the pair collaborated on further movies,
     including "The Thirty Nine Steps".

  9. Noted British Director Ken Russell claimed this was one of the first films he saw
     in a cinema. Ken was so scared when the monster apeared that he ran all the way
     home, realised his coat had been left behind - and had to run all the way back!

 10. The 9.5mm sound print seems to have been deleted around 1947, being listed in a
     1946 film sales list, but not in one for 1948.
 (Extra Info gratefully sourced from Maurice Trace)

   Pathéscope Monthly June/July 1939 item 
(although mentioned as a May release in the April/May issue)



Created 29Nov2014 ...... Last updated: 04 December 2014 ...... 95flmcatt9002.htm ...... ©MMX1V Grahame L. Newnham
04Dec2014 - excellent Maurice Trace article on Seymour Hicks added