Competition no. 237: results

Richard Church hits on the subject of car accidents and speeding police cars. They were much in the news. The Road Traffic Act of 1934 reinstated speed limits (incredibly they had been removed in 1930) – 1934 was the year in which the 30 m.p.h limit was introduced (as was a compulsory driving test). The Minister for Transport was Sir Samuel Hore-Belisha, and it was in 1934 that half of his surname was attached to roadside beacons. The numbers of injuries had risen each year by about 8% since 1930.

Ford Police car

Church’s idea is to ask for a poem to speed-cops, who he says he admires as they cruise about. He wants the poems to be based on Shelley’s Ode to the West Wind – two stanzas’ worth.

The judging errs on the side of literary appreciation. All but one of the near-misses are from regulars who won in The Week-end Review – L.V.Upward, H.C.M. (carelessly unmasked as Sir Horace Munro), T.E. Casson, E.W.Fordham, Chauve-Souris. It is therefore no surprise that William Bliss is the easy winner.


The runner-up is W. Summers. I suspect very strongly that this is Walter Summers, a screenwriter who had recently switched from scripting silent films to scripting talkies. He had once been a colleague of Hitchcock’s. One of the films he had made (not highly regarded) in 1934 was The Return of Bulldog Drummond. As perhaps you can see, it starred Ralph Richardson. If you look at this DVD cover, however, there is a serious mistake. The actors John Lodge and Victor Jory appeared in a 1937 film, Bulldog Drummond at Bay – so the title here does not match the performers.



Walter Summers, 1892-1973


One thought on “Competition no. 237: results

  1. Thanks for revealing that Walter Summers tried his hand at verse.
    In the twenties he directed some remarkable films telling the stories of key battles of the Great War. ‘Ypres’ is a good example, in which he uses ex-soldiers who had fought there to re-enact key incidents. A digitally remastered version of his ‘Battle of the Coronel and the Falkland Islands’ is due to be released on DVD this year. The Navy lent him several battleships to help give the film authenticity, and by all accounts it gives a pretty good account of life on board a warship.
    It’s nice to see him (I think) satirising Fascists, because I read recently an article that slammed ‘The Return of Bulldog Drummond’ as the most fascist film ever made in Britain. n his defence, one can say that it’s a bit less so than the book on which it is based – which is not, as the IMDB claims and common sense would suggest, Sapper’s ‘The Return of Bulldog Drummond’, but his earlier Drummond story, ‘The Black Gang’.

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