New Studios at Montrose: Production already commenced

Report by 'Scotty' in Scottish Section. A year later, in 1921, he was writing 'By the way, what has come over that company that was producing in Dundee and Montrose? Are the pictures they partly took ever to be finished, or must the venture be written down as abandoned? (Bioscope, 08.12.1921)

During a visit to Dundee a week or two ago, I made it a special point to visit Mr C.F. Partoon, a well-known local photographer, whose name has already been mentioned in these columns in connection with motion picture photography. I knew that Mr Partoon had earned more than local fame for his topicals, and I knew he had ambitions to produce something more worth while, but I was scarcely prepared to find that his latest adventure had proceeded quite so far, or that his "plant" was so complete. First of all a good word about Mr Partoon and his connection with cinematography. His connection with the industry goes back to the days when gasbags were used to contain the necessary illuminant, and his function in those early days was to supply the necessary weight to force the gas out of the bag. That's going back some. Since those days, Mr Partoon has had an intimate connection with the exhibition side of the business in Dundee, though he has maintained closer relations with his photographic business. Successful in every branch of "still" photography, Mr Partoon always had a hankering after the movies, and some years ago acquired a camera for the purpose of taking topicals. To this work he found some outlet for his energies, but it was not satisfying, even though he was doing the whole work, taking, developing and printing himself. I have said Mr Partoon was intimately connected with the exhibiting side of the business, and it was while he was so engaged that he commenced to study production, and ask himself the question "Why should not pictures be produced in Scotland as well as in other countries?" Looking at the question from all sides, Mr Partoon came to the conclusion that with proper understanding of the difficulies there was no reason whatever why Scotland should not do its share of production. The difficulties when acknowledged could be overcome, and from what I have already seen I can say that they have been overcome by Mr Partoon, and when the critics and viewers have an opportunity of witnessing the first production to leave Mr Partoon's hands they will agree with me. For his first picture Mr Partoon has been fortunate in securing an excellent story, the author of which, Mr Gordon Crystal, plays the leading part. Mr Crystal, both as an author and an actor, is a discovery but no more so than the leading lady, Miss Betty Willocks, who will charm everyone who sees her work, and for whom there is a very bright future in screen work. The name of the first production is "The Greater Riches", and already most of the outdoor scenes have been filmed amid lovely settings around Dundee. The theme of the story I will not disclose, though I have read the scenario. It is original, not "stunty", and just what is wanted from a Scottish production. The interiors will shortly be commenced at Montrose, where a big studio is in course of erection on the site of a smaller studio already existing. Mr Partoon has purchased the whole property, which has a width of about 50ft and a depth of about 200ft. The new studio will be 35ft by 70ft, and 20ft to the ridges. The roof of the new studio will be glass, and an uninterrupted North light is obtained. Behind the studio sufficient space to stage outdoor scenes is available, while beyond are two cottages which will be used as dressing rooms, etc. There is an excellent supply of electric light, and generators will be installed if found necessary to augment that supply. The technical part of the work is executed at Dundee, where special premisses have been fitted up. The plant, which includes developing and printing (Williamson printer of latest type), is sufficient to turn out 3,000ft of film per day, with art titles complete. From his practical experience as a photographer, Mr Partoon knows the standard expected, and from handling and viewing the first scenes of "The Greater Riches", I should say his ideals have been attained. In conclusion, let me say that Mr Partoon has very pronounced ideas on the subject of motion picture production and photography, and the Trade may look with confidence to his first work, which will only lack one thing, and that is the stamp of amateurism.'

TitleNew Studios at Montrose: Production already commenced
SourceThe Bioscope


C. F. Partoon