Summer of Forgotten Horror – Week 7: Secret of the Loch (1934)
Cast: Seymour Hicks as Professor Heggie (A Christmas Carol)
Nancy O’Neil as Angela Heggie
Gibson Gowland as Angus (Phantom of the Opera)
Frederick Peisley as Jimmy Andrews
Written by Charles Bennett (The 39 Steps) & Billie Bristow
Directed by Milton Rosmer (The Monkey’s Paw)
Plot: Seymour Hicks stars as the slightly unhinged Professor Heggie, a man hell bent to prove that the Loch Ness Monster is real. Some of the townspeople believe him while fellow scientists in London believe he’s either lying or insane. Young reporter Jimmy Andrews wants to write the story, whatever the outcome. He naturally meets and falls in love with the professor’s young daughter, Angela, despite the ever present Angus ensuring nothing happens. Eventually, it’s Jimmy who journeys into the depths of Loch Ness to prove once and for all whether or not the monster is real.
Personal Thoughts: Not a bad movie but, admittedly, rather forgettable. It’s fun to see Seymour Hicks in another role besides Ebenezer Scrooge. His 1935 adaptation is widely seen due to it being in the public domain. But honestly, he plays both roles very much the same, leaving one to wonder how much of his real personality is coming through the performance. The old cliché of reporter meets girl has a twist here due to the presence of bodyguard and manservant Angus. One of the funniest scenes has to do with Angus discovering that Jimmy may be part of his Scottish clan and they share some Scotch. However, whatever elements are keeping the film together fall apart in the big reveal in the final act. Still, not a bad British effort in the early days of giant monster flicks, just in desperate need of a more exciting script.
- Writer Charles Bennett is credited with the screenplays for several of Alfred Hitchcock’s earlier films, including The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), Secret Agent (1936) and Foreign Correspondent (1940).
- This movie was never released theatrically in the United States. The broadcast rights were picked up by CBS Television in 1949 and made its’ debut on channel 2 WCBS on April 22, 1949.
- The London Zoological Society was responsible for the lizard used in the film to represent the Loch Ness Monster.
- Never released commercially, you’ll have to dig around for this one. Might be worth tracking it down for historical purposes as it was partially filmed on location.