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From the Press Book for
77 Park Lane (1931)
Your Programme and Lobby: Play Up The Mystery Angle
Story and Cast for your Programme
WILLIAM HUTTER presents
"77, PARK LANE"
A Famous Players Guild Production
Adapted by Michael Powell from the play by Walter Hackett
Dialogue by REGINALD BERKLEY LAURENCE IRVING, Art Director Photographed by MUTZ GREENBAUM and GEOFFREY FAITHFULL ARTHUR SEABOURNE, Film Editor REX HAWORTH, Sound Engineer Recorded by R.C.A. Photophone at Nettlefold Studios,
Directed by ALBERT DE COURVILLE John E. Harding Production Supervisor Distributed by United Artists
. . The Cast . . Lord Brent Dennis Neilson-Terry Mary Conner Betty Stockfield Sheringham Malcolm Keen Sinclair Ben Weldon Paul Cecil Humphreys Philip Conner Esmond Knight Eve Grayson Molly Johnson Sir Richard Carrington Roland Culver George Malton Molesworth Blow Superintendent John Turnbull Donovan Percival Coyte
Synopsis of the Story
One Boat-Race night young Lord Brent, parading the streets of London's west-end in search of adventure, [c.f. P.G. Wodehouse's Bertie Wooster and the members of The Drones Club who would often finish up in the Magistrates Court after Boat-Race Night] buys an old taxi in his exuberance and picks up as his first fare a beautiful but harassed-looking girl, Mary Conner.
Mary's brother, Philip, has got into difficulties through gambling debts incurred with a rogue named Sherringham. Spotting Sherringham in a night club, Mary determines to chase him and hails Brent's taxi for the purpose.
To Brent's great surprise they follow Sherringham to Brent's own town house, 77, Park Lane, which he closed up some months previously on going abroad. Brent admits that he is not a real taxi-driver when Mary reveals the nature of her being run during the owner's absence as a gambling den.
In the house Mary meets Eve, Philip's fiancee, who tells her that Philip is there. Philip gets into a fight with one of Sherringham's gang, who is trying to cheat him by using loaded dice, and in a struggle for possession of a revolver it goes off and the man falls dead. Philip is scared to death, knowing it is an accident but also knowing he will never be able to prove it.
Sherringham says there is only one thing to be done - to get the body away. He tells Mary he will help to do this if she will be more friendly with him, and Mary, desperate for her brother's safety, tries to hide the loathing she has for the man.
Brent, who has been camly gambling away, unconscious of what has happened, finds out about the accident in spite of Mary's efforts to keep it from him, and rushing out into the street, finds Sherringham and his men bundling the body into his taxi. Accidentally he steps on the "body's" hand and realises at once that he is not dead at all and it is simply a blackmailing plot against Philip. He manages to hold up the proceedings until dawn breaks and it is too dangerous to dispose of the "body", which is dumped into the cellar.
They have hardly had time to get back into the house when the police arrive to raid the place. The whole plot against Philip is exposed and Sherringham is arrested, but escapes from the police to the top of the house. Brent persues him and after a terrific fight Sherringham topples over the bannisters, falls and breaks his neck. Brent and Mary drive off together.
[Yet another case of someone falling from a high place in a Powell film.
See "No cliff goes unjumped".]
- Lobby Display
Your lobby is your shop window. Your cinema being a place of amusement is necessarily in an important part of town. The entrance of your theatre is seen by thousands of people in the course of a day which makes your "shop-window" valuable. Then make use of it.
"77, Park Lane" is just the film for lobby display.
The story deals with adventure, an empty house, crooks, gambling, murder and love.
Out of these angles it is possible to set up a thrilling entrance to your hall.
A roulette board - cards - dice - poster cut-outs and stills will make people stop and look. When you get people to do that, the next thing they will do is buy. Go to it and cash in.
Get your newspaper editor to conduct an essay competition tying up with the different angles on "77, Park Lane". Limit all entries to 150 words.
- "Why the play '77 Park Lane' appeals to me.
- "Some famous gamblers."
- "Why I like Dennis Neilson Terry."
- "A premonition that came true."
- "My strangest experience."
- True Stories of Unoccupied Houses
This idea will fix the attention of your district on your theatre previous to the showing of "77 Park Lane".
All through the ages there have been strange stories connected with empty and unoccupied houses. Every town and village has its own pet stories for these mysteries.
Use the idea of "Strange Stories of Empty Houses" in conjunction with your local editor.
Offer prizes for the best true stories of unoccupied houses contributed to the local paper. Stipulate that these must be true stories and that the writer must have been concerned with the story. Make a large board for your lobby and have pasted on it the cuttings from the paper and surround them with a good selection of stills showing scense from "77 Park Lane".
- Counting the Dice etc.
"77 Park Lane" lends itself to extraordinary tie-ups with shops. For instance:
Nearly all stationers' shops sell playing cards, dice, etc.
These shops will be only too glad to co-operate with you in making a big window display as cards and dice play a big part in the story of this film.
Another good attraction is to place a large glass bottle or jar in a shop window and have this filled with dice. Offer a prize to the one who guesses nearest to the exact number of dice in the jar.
Also work a similar contest with playing cards. Stand a pile of cards about two feet high and offer prizes to those guessing how many there are in the pile.
- Novel Sandwich Board Parade
The story of "77, Park Lane" deals with an empty house which is turned into a gambling den by a gang of crooks. This gives you an excellent chance to draw attention to this great thriller by staging an (sic) unique "Sandwich" Parade.
Arrange for a number of men to be dressed up as "Dice", "Cards", and all accessories used in gaming houses.
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