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Haldane of the Secret Service, Movie, 1923 IMDB

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humungus SI

2023-05-31 23:08

[Image: haldaneofthesecretservice1923title.jpg]

Despite its proto-James Bond globetrotting secret service plot, this is more of a movie for people who like to read, what with its inordinate amount of intertitles.

Supposedly vintage London buses with two small backgroundmobiles:
[Image: london1.jpg] [Image: london2.jpg]

This tram is said to be in Glasgow:
[Image: tramglasgow.jpg]

City of Hull tram:
[Image: tramhull.jpg]

johnfromstaffs EN

2023-06-01 08:53

The pictures involving the London buses appear kosher, I have no knowledge of any other city in the entire globe with a train line running to Brixton, Peckham Balham Streatham Hill and Crystal Palace. The station is most likely to be Victoria, or possibly London Bridge. The sign above it mentions several south coast seaside resorts and the words “Brighton and South’ are visible. The railway company most likely involved would have been the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, the London Chatham and Dover being further east. It would seem unlikely that a film company would go to the lengths necessary to make any other city look like this, I think.

Granted only four buses are visible, but all have stairs suited to right hand drive, get on from the left operation, the two most visible could be B-types but the subject could also be a Tilling-Stevens TTA2.

Your comment about the amount of reading involved, it was a silent film, it was the early 1920s, perhaps the producers felt it necessary to explain what was going on.

dsl may care to comment on the “Glasgow” tram, by the time of my first visit to Glasgow the trams had gone. There were certainly trams in Hull.

Details of the “Elevated Electric” railway here: https://www.bloodandcustard.com/LBSCRCP.html

-- Last edit: 2023-06-01 11:20:14

humungus SI

2023-06-01 11:53

Yes, I'm convinced it's real London footage. No idea why I said 'supposedly' when I was actually wondering if it was shot for the movie or was (then-recent) stock footage, but that's actually Haldane/Houdini going up the bus' stairs in the second thumb (and you can just see him between the bus and the car in the first one), so it was obviously shot for the movie. He's dressed the same way as he is on the deck of the Glasgow tram:
[Image: houdiniglasgow.1.jpg]

As for the intertitles, they really made the movie drag and there seemed to be more of them than in all the other silents I've seen combined, and yet I was still no wiser as to what was going on. :D

dsl SX

2023-06-01 13:35

johnfromstaffs wrote dsl may care to comment on the “Glasgow” tram ....

I can't say it's definitely a Glasgow tram, but looks real enough for early 20thC dark livery - compare. If it's genuine, I've a hunch the buildings might be Argyle St in city centre, close to the Buchanan St junction and what is now St Enoch's Square, which in those days was a major train station. Everything's changed hugely in the century since, but there are some remnant building facades which retain this sort of grandeur.

-- Last edit: 2023-06-01 13:51:52

johnfromstaffs EN

2023-06-01 17:40

Looking at the small logo on the panel below the windows I would say it is a Glasgow vehicle. Not quite the same, but there’s no reason why it should be.

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