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Sunday, April 18, 2010

LINDSAY SELBY: Controversial 1930s films of Nessie

Malcolm Irvine of Scottish Film Productions deployed a small team of cameramen around Loch Ness in 1933 for 2 weeks in December. On Dec 12th 1933 he shot a short film from the hillside opposite Urquhart Castle, of something in the water. Stanley Clinton and Scott Hay were also witnesses. The creature they filmed was estimated to be 16 feet (5 metres) long, moving at about 20 m.p.h. and was grey with a darker tail. The film apparently showed evidence of a tail or fluke movement when examined. Irvine also filmed a log in the water to compare and The Times reported on Jan 4th 1934 that the difference between the inanimate object and the animate one was obvious.

In 1936 on 22nd September he filmed further footage of something in the water opposite Foyers. This second film was suspected by Constance Whyte of being a fake and she said she thought some “mechanical means” had been used to obtain it. She did, however, put stills from the film in her book, as have others since. She got the stills from Fr J. A. Carruth at Fort Augustus, who had a copy of the film in 1955.

There was then some mystery over the second film and Peter Costello (In Search of Lake Monsters 1974) said it had disappeared but it was in the Scottish Film Archive all along. You can view it here:


Details about the film:

Reference number: 0373
Date: 1936

Director: [d. Malcolm M Irvine]

Production company: Scottish Film Productions (1928) Ltd.

Sound: sound
Colour: bw Fiction: Non-Fiction

Running time: 12.02 mins

Genre: cine mag

Description: First in a series of monthly film reviews of Scotland. Film reconstructs a bank robbery, looks at the Borzoi dog, shoe manufacture at Saxone in Kilmarnock, latest hairdressing styles and the "first sighting" of the Loch Ness Monster!

See Add. Info. file 11/1/327 for research notes on Nessie item and photocopy of interview with Malcolm M. Irvine in the Scottish newspaper The Sunday Post, November 1, 1936 entitled First Real Picture of "nessie". This newspaper article dates the first issue of this cine mag as November 1936. The film features Malcolm M. Irvine and his camera assistant Martin Wilson "filming" the Loch Ness Monster. The Loch Ness Monster - proof at last. Map of Loch Ness illustrating the positions of the most frequent "monster" sightings. Shots of models and skeletons of dinosaurs (9.45) Shots of cameramen filming on the shores of Loch Ness [Malcolm Irvine wears the beret, the other is Martin Wilson] (9.57) Film of the "monster" in the loch and shots of cameramen filming it. Duncan McMillan, a local resident, is interviewed by the eminent zoologist Eric Foxon, concerning his sighting of "nessie". Mr Foxon declines to give his opinion on the identity of the monster, declaring that "it must remain a mystery for at least a little longer"

So have a look, see what you think……is it an animate object or something man made? Bear in mind this was 1936 so technology would have been limited compared to today. It is disappointing the Zoologist fails to say what he thinks it is, on the film clip. That would have been interesting.

1 comment:

Aaron T said...

They were so lucky the creature was approaching the shore near to them on both occasions, and so unlucky to have not recorded the end of the episode! A