Cat no. 216967

Pound on Rates

Running time26:07 1940-1955

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Amateur drama of detective work to uncover an unfair attempt to sway a Council planning decision



A 16mm silent drama on tinted film stock in two reels.

After the opening title and credits over moving clouds, the scene opens in a builder’s yard where a man investigating furtively (Harry Pound) dislodges a plank of wood, alerting a man with an eye patch who peers from a window. Back at his office, Pound signs his report on the Gregsons builder’s premises, and asks Miss Maurice the secretary to file it under “J” for “jerry building”.

The Gregsons team discuss their bid for the Town Hall contract. During the Town Hall committee meeting their representative supports the bid, which is cheaper than the rival bid, but Pound says he has evidence that the firm is jerry building. A meeting is called to decide the matter on Friday at 8pm.

Back at his office, Pound is suspicious when Miss Maurice asks to leave early, and asks a colleague to follow her. Pound finds file J is empty.

Scottie follows Miss Maurice to the builders’ office, and Gregson’s representative on the council arrives. Scottie runs to a telephone box to alert Pound who arrives with his camera and photographs the conspirators through the window. Pound throws the camera to Scottie, who escapes while Pound evades the man with the eye patch by tripping him up.

Back at the office, Scottie has turned a room into a dark room, and shows Pound the negative and a print of the photograph.
In a sequence of fast cutting between clocks and telephones, Pound rouses a young woman from the depths of her bed and she agrees to help that evening.

Scottie arrives at the office without a tie, and leaves as the young woman arrives. Pound entrusts the photograph to her care and leaves with Scottie for a meeting. The new secretary stands up to the man with the eye patch when he breaks into the office, reminding him this isn’t a movie. Scottie and Pound see him off the premises – they still have the negative.

On the day of the meeting Pound and the new secretary stop for a drink at a golf club where they accidentally leave a print of the photograph on the table. The man with the eye patch empties a watering can into the petrol tank of their car AGW 494, then steals the car of a woman golfer DGX 681. When Pound and the secretary summon help, he stops disguised with dark glasses. Recognising him, the secretary knocks him out with the starting handle and after stopping to restart the car, joins Pound who is under suspicion of stealing the other car. The one-eyed man is chased into the distance. Meanwhile with views from the car driven at speed, Pound and the secretary arrive at the sand-bagged town hall building. The photograph tucked in the band of Pound’s hat is sufficient to unsettle the Gregson bid. It turns out to be a photograph of two sheep, one white and one black.

Background Information:

The street scenes and sets include Plaza, Regal and Palace cinema advertising and contemporary posters indicating the wartime situation. The windows at the builder’s yard are criss-crossed with tape as an air raid precaution, and another building is surrounded by a wall of sandbags.

Jerry-building – cheap and flimsy construction, cost-cutting by reduction in quality

H.A.V. Bulleid

H.A.V. Bulleid

H.A.V. Bulleid (scenario and montage)


William (Bill) Opher (W.E. Opher)
J.T.H. Ashmore
Eileen Watkins
G.A. Bock
W.D. Witchell
Molly Daw
R.F. Sowman
J.E. Newton
Elsie Keen

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