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Turn of the Tide

Film title frame

Turn of the Tide was J. Arthur Rank's first venture into film-making and was based on Leo Walmsley's Three Fevers.

Film poster, double page

Film trade poster

Film trade poster, front

Trade poster for the film

In So Many Loves (Book Six, Chapter 2), Leo tells how, Cover of So Many Loves, 1944 whilst he and his wife Margaret were wondering how they might afford to purchase a piece of land on which to build their new home at Fylingthorpe, he was contacted by the managing director of British National Films, expressing an interest in Three Fevers. For the film rights Leo was subsequently offered the exact sum of money needed to buy the land, a figure that he felt was "significant enough to be an act of Providence."

He wasted no time in advising the film makers that all the places in his book were real and that Robin Hood's Bay and Whitby would be ideal for location filming, even offering to arrange for his friends, the Dukes, to appear as their fictional selves during certain scenes.
He mentions further details of the filming in Chapter 23 of Angler's Moon, and Jane Ellis wrote a chapter dedicated to the film in Leo's biography, Shells and Bright Stones (2001), so there is lots of information about Leo's behind-the-scenes exploits.

The following photo shows Leo, Eric Cross (cameraman), Franz Planer, Norman Walker (director). Behind them, built into the sea wall, are the retort doors from the old Bay gasworks, still there to be seen today.

Filming on the beach at Robin Hood's Bay, 1935

The one below shows shows Franz Planer (director of photography), unknown, John Dennis, Norman Walker (director), probably Ray Sturgess. They are filming John Garrick, Niall MacGinnis and Sam Livesey.

Filming Turn of the Tide, 1935

Both of the above images are copyright Eric Cross Collection, by permission of Louise Etson, and taken from prints loaned to the Walmsley Society by Andrew Youdell.

John Garrick and maybe Moore Marriott, Whitby harbourside

From the front page of the Whitby Gazette 1935, showing two of the actors – John Garrick and Moore Marriott.

Photo taken in the Dock featuring members of the Storm & Duke families, posing with Norman Walker

Photo taken in the Dock featuring members of the Storm and Duke families, posing with Norman Walker.
Source: collection of Deb Gillanders.

The autographs

We are most grateful to a lady who has donated the following photos for this webpage. They are, of course, publicity shots taken of cast members whilst staying at the Victoria Hotel, and each is autographed on the back. These were obtained by her aunt who was working there at the time that filming was taking place.

John Garrick John Garrick autograph

Sam Livesey as Henry Lunn Sam Livesay autograph

Wilfred Lawson & John Garrick Wilfred Lawson & John Garrick autographs

In So Many Loves, Book 6, Leo tells us that the film's rushes were shown in a Whitby cinema, but doesn't say which one. Would this be the Empire Cinema? Well, that is where Turn of the Tide was shown for a full week, after its official London premiere, and where Leo and Margaret, the Dukes, and the Whitby crowds saw it for the first time.

Advert for the film in the Whitby Gazette

The Whitby Empire

Whitby Empire Cinema, 1932

Whitby Empire, where Turn of the Tide was first shown 3 years after this flood.
Photo from 12 Incredible Historic Pictures of Whitby, reproduced by kind permission of Destinworld Publishing.

Three photos of the Empire around 1960

Whitby Empire Cinema, c1960

Whitby Empire Cinema, c1960

Whitby Empire Cinema, c1960>

Photos: Doran Bros, Whitby (from Cinema Theatre Association)

Whitby Empire Cinema building in present times

The Empire building in 2016 (Google)

The video edition

This was prepared and distributed in VHS PAL format by the British Film Institute in the 1990s.

Turn of the Tide video cover

The video cover notes are reproduced HERE (will open in a new window; Adobe Acrobat reader will be required).

At the time of writing, there are no plans to release this iconic title on DVD, although the Walmsley Society will continue lobbying for this.

Arthur Benjamin's main title music from Turn of the Tide is here:

Clegg's People and the Turn of the Tide

Made by Yorkshire Television, this series, presented by Barnsley-born naturalist Michael Clegg (1933-95), ran from 1981 until 1987. In this episode he talks about both Bram Stoker and Leo Walmsley in his inimitable, unscripted and down-to-earth style. Unfortunately, we don't possess our own recorded copy of this programme, so can only provide a link to a version currently being looked after by Yorkshire Film Archive.

Click here to see the video.

Presenter Michael Clegg

Some shots from the film

John Garrick, J Fisher White in Turn of the Tide Shot from Turn of the Tide Shot from Turn of the Tide

Geraldine Fitzgerald in Turn of the Tide Shot from Turn of the Tide

In 1996, to celebrate the centenary of cinema, a plaque commemorating Turn of the Tide as a landmark film was erected in the Dock of Robin Hood's Bay.

BFI plaque in Robin Hood's Bay

The Palace cinema in Beeston, 1935

The Palace Cinema in Beeston, Nottinghamshire – note the film that is showing.
Courtesy of David Hallam (, originally from the collection of Leslie Allsop.

The 2016 Presentation

The Victoria Hotel, Robin Hood's Bay was where cast and crew stayed during the filming; it is also where Leo met with Norman Walker and John Corfield, British National Films' managing director, when they engaged in what sounds like a heated discussion about how the screenwriter had misunderstood the book's premise – a meeting that lasted into the early hours.

In 2011, Society chairman Keith Handley obtained a collection of extremely rare old photos from a house adjoining the Victoria. Amongst them was this shot –

Sam Livesey in RHB

(Photographer unknown)

– a wonderful photo of Sam Livesey, standing outside the entrance to the Victoria, and, says Keith, "looking as though he might be en route down Bay to do some filming!" He thought it would make an excellent presentation for Sean Walmsley to make to the Victoria. And on Sunday May 15 2016, Society president Sean Walmsley handed over the framed photograph to the hotel's manager Michael Mushtaq.

Presentation June 15 2016

Photo: Jane Ellis

The inscription reads:

Sam Livesey, an actor in the film "Turn of the Tide"
(based on Leo Walmsley's book "Three Fevers"),
outside the Victoria Hotel in 1935.
Filmed on location in Robin Hood's Bay and Whitby,
the production marked J. Arthur Rank's first venture
into the British Film Industry.



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