A Honeymoon Adventure (1931)
|Peter Hannen & Benita Hume|
Oh dear. Where do I start? This is really not very good. The story of a honeymooning couple Peter and Eve Martin (Peter Hannen and Benita Hume) who trip to the highlands of Scotland is interrupted by a pair of dodgy industrial spies (played by Harold Huth and Walter Armitage) ...
... who are intent on stealing the plans for a prototype electrical process recently invented by Peter Martin. What should turn into an exciting romp along the roads and railways of the UK, soon turns into a dull series of mishaps in which Eve Martin constantly fails to take advantage of the situation and actually get the criminals arrested. Time after time the opportunity to foil their plans is presented to her, yet each time she makes the wrong move.
It's almost as if the writers wanted us to consider to be a silly posh girl, but then you realise that she is actually being presented as self confident and resourceful, rather than just as a damsel in distress.
She may be confident and resourceful but, sorry, she's also rather stupid. That said, she does look rather good slinking through the shadows in a silk nightdress:
The character of Peter Martin is moderately interesting - not in what he is in this film but as part of the overall depiction of engineers in literature and cinema during this period.
The mid-20th century was the age of the engineer: when engineers were seen as being at the forefront of modern society, the men who were forging ahead and making the world a better place (see Unlikely Heroes: The Engineer in British Cinema). As such, they were presented as hero figures on page and screen. With its setting in the Scottish Highlands, it easy to see the influence of John Buchan's The Thirty Nine Steps on this film: both have an engineer caught up in a web of intrigue at the heart of the story. Then there are the novels of Eric Ambler, which again see innocent engineers caught up with the machinations of foreign agents trying to secure military/industrial secrets. The depiction of similar figures in cinema has the engineer as a forward thinking young man, usually dressed at the height of fashion. One of the most interesting sequences of the entire film fits into the theme of engineering and the forging ahead of industry: The film opens with a montage of engines, appearing more in keeping with a piece of Soviet propaganda cinema than a spy-romp through the Highlands.
Despite giving us an early example of the engineer-as-hero, the film fails to offer anything truly original. Available on Volume 9 of Network DVD's The Ealing Studios Rarities Collection, it wouldn't be a film that I could really recommend to anyone apart from completists or those fascinated by the depiction of engineers on-screen (if there is anyone else out there who finds it interesting?). That said, the box set does include Cheer Boys Cheer (which sees the pairing of Will Hay's legendary sidekicks Graham Moffat and Moore Marriott) and includes the under-rated Meet Mr Lucifer so it is worth the 'ticket price':
P.S. it's the first screen appearance of the actor Jack Lambert: