Friday, October 21, 2005

British Film Institute

Well, Well,

At last, the British Film Institute have conceeded that we are worthy of a link. How nice of them, I take back some of the unkind things that I've been saying about them for the last twelve months. Some, you understand, not all. However, welcome BFI members, glad you can join us.

Best wishes to you all.

John Tunstill

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Anniversary

Hi Guys
Just wanted to correct a mistake on the pix to The Anniversary.

The houses were built on the backlot of Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire. I know - I worked there in the days when the film was made.

A funny story surrounding the film - somebody rang the studio asking if the houses were for sale! Needless to say, when the film was complete the houses were quickly dismantled.

A 'now' shot would show Tesco's car park. Very sad.
Just thought you needed to know. Love the site.
Regards, David Whitehead

Monday, October 17, 2005

Violent Playground - Gerard Gardens

I have 2 published books entitled "In a City Living" and its follow up "In a City Living 2". These contain 100 pages or so of images local to the Gerard Gardens and Crescent area which is what the books are primarily about. With pics ranging from the delapidated insanitary property that was there in the 1920s pre tenements, right through to showing their construction and habitation from the 30s to the 80s including their demolition.

There is reference to the "Violent Playground" film and reaction about the filming.

Best rgds, Ged.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Genevieve - Fodens or Morris Commercials

In one of your photographs from the film 'Genevieve' you refer to the two lorries in the picture as Fodens, they are in fact Morris Commercials.
Really enjoy your site Mick

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Huggett films

Hi from Australia,

Firstly many thanks for your excellent website.

For many years I have often wondered where the family house used in the Huggett films of the late 1940's was situated.Location footage of the house was shown in the films "Here Come The Huggett's" and "Vote For Huggett".

I recently was able to contact Mr.Ken Annakin who directed those films.He is now in his nineties.
He was able to tell me that the Huggett house exterior scene's were filmed in a street very near to the old Islington Film Studio's.The studio's were situated in Poole Street, Islington.
Unfortunately Mr.Annakin could not remember the exact name of the street used.He has offered though to check his notes for that time and get back to me if he has further information.

It would be nice to track down the exact Huggett street and discover whether any of the old houses are still standing.
If I do receive any further info I will pass it onto you.

Martin New.

Monday, October 10, 2005

properties in umbria

Dear John,

Thank you for your e-mail. Yes, we very much enjoyed the rest of our holiday. We managed to get tickets for the opera in Spoleto, which we thought was great, and it's always interesting to see local people in a different context.

We then spent a couple of days in Lucca, which is a fascinating city. We walked the walls/ramparts - about 4 kms, which are very wide in parts and look splendid with their tree-lined avenues, especially this time of year. We then spent a day in Pisa, before catching a late flight home. We thought the Cathedral in Pisa was stunning. It’s so big, and for us outclasses the tower.

We thoroughly enjoyed our few hours with you, and sorry again for the false start. Unfortunately the trains didn’t get much better on the way back, and after several delays we arrived in Spoleto at around 9.00pm! One gets the feeling that the Italian Railways are becoming increasingly obsolete and nothing is really being done to modernise them. This impression was powerfully reinforced when on Perugia S G station we witnessed a member of staff vigorously turning this contraption by hand on the platform - presumably to change the points for the incoming train - ours! Also we couldn’t get the validation machine to work on one of the trains, whereupon the ticket inspector gave it a bash (which he explained to us was the "Italian way", and it starting working)! Anyway, we did get to meet some interesting people on trains and platforms during the holiday.

We were knocked out with the position of the properties - and thank you for showing us your home. I think we found the amount of effort and commitment in creating such an amazing home a bit difficult to comprehend. As for the properties, the larger, as you know, is considerably more than we were wanting to spend, but as you have reminded us, there are other possibilities in the scheme. We shall have to see how our property sale goes - and anyway, would I think need to pay another visit before finalising a purchase.

I was equally impressed with the two fields that you have also acquired. I remember what you were saying about planting the right grape varieties - i.e. needing to be those in demand. I have read that there is some experimentation going on with grape varieties new to Italy. Also, you may be aware that a grape variety found nowhere else is grown in the Montefalco area - Sagrantino. Maybe the price is based on it’s scarcity value but the very cheapest we saw was Euro15 and the most expensive Euro85. This compares with a bottle of good Montefalco Rosso for around Euro 8 - so perhaps if you wanted to add wine-making to your many other interests, it might be worthwhile investment.

Thank you also for introducing us to your Reel Streets website. As you probably guessed, I have a number of favourite films - some British, as did my father - who had the most extraordinary memory for all things connected with theatre, cinema and music. I was interested to see the photos connected with The Day the Earth Caught Fire with beautiful Janet Munro, who tragically died early - from a heart condition - hypertrophic cardiomyopathy?, which presumably manifested itself in "Sudden Death Syndrome". One of my brothers suffers from the condition but, curiously, as it is thought to be passed on genetically, nobody else in our family has the (supposedly) offending gene sequence. (I have only once seen eyes like Janet Munro’s in another woman, and was completely captivated by them, at the tender age of 17 - but it didn’t last! I wonder where she is now?) Also Hell Drivers. I remember standing outside the Odeon in Welling, Kent, with my friend Peter - both of us about 12 at the time. So determined were we to see this A film that we asked a number of adults to take us in, and got lucky. It was certainly worth it. As for the street shown with Stanley Baker (wasn’t this when he went to visit his brother and mother who owned a sweet shop?) As to clues - Why would a wall need to be so high, and why does there appear to be buildings immediately behind it? Is it something to do with security - a prison maybe. It reminds me a bit of the wall around Woolwich Arsenal.

Anyway - fascinating stuff - and the amount of detail in your article left me breathless.

Kindest Regards
David Perry

see and for the properties David refers to.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Reelstreets Article

Thankyou Jon for a very interesting article. My only claim to fame is that in the late 70's early 80's, i worked for an "audio visual" company in london's regent park. So what! i hear you say, well i was appointed to role of assistant to our new film director, one Roy Ward Baker! As you can imagine i was terribly excited , after all this was the man who not only gave us "the saint,the avengers,department s" but also was one of the most prolific directors of Hammer Horror Films. Roy was a very pleasent man to work with and would often take centre stage regailing stories of his many travels thru the world of film & tv. Sadly the company folded within about 18 months and roy and i went our seperate ways. I know that in the early 90's Roy wrote a book, 'The Director's Cut" which i bought and it contains many amusing anecdotes.
Well thankyou again for the article and if you produce any more of the same i shall be happy to receive them,
Regards, Ollie Walsh.

Reelstreets Article

Hello John,

Thoroughly enjoyed the read, excellent stuff. I remember sitting in the one and nine's (one shilling and nine pence) with a Kiora and box of Maltesers, then Butterkist popcorn came out. Coming home from school and buying a Jubbly, then on the other hand I saw Jimi Hendrix for two shillings and sixpence, my pocket money at the time!

I used to go to the cinema at least twice a week, the chap I was going out with was a local journalist and he had a free pass to the 3 cinemas in Eltham (Odeon/Gaumont/ABC), and you got two films for yer money (A & B, and very often the B film was better than the A film) as well as Pathe News...I've seen some weird one's at that! Watching the Beatles Hard Days Night, I think I was the only person not standing on my seat screaming!

Hope you get some good feedback from it.
Kind Regards
Ace Cafe London

The Long Memory

The Long Memory

The Marshes:

From Dylan at Britmovie

North Kent marshes around Gravesend.
'The Thames Estuary Salt Marshes.
Reclaimed for grazing in medeival times.
You could see the old earth flood defence bund in several shots- this now lies beneath more substantial defences constructed after the disastrous floods of 1953'.


Thursday, October 06, 2005


Hi John
These might interest you..

no 1 the terrace.

no 8 looking down queen st,

no 9 juntion queen st and crooked lane.


.................Keep bothering me John, What super pics.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

north west films research

Hi John

I have as I say have an interest in North West Film. Last year the Manchester Evening News ran an article about my research and I received dozens of letters reminiscing about mostly two, Salford based, films Taste Of Honey and A Kind Of Loving. They told tories of being paid ten shillings by a stetson wearing Tony Richardson for the speaking actors and a bag of chips for the others!!
Teachers , Policeman even extras in the films told me their stories and consequently I was able to spend a few weeks touring what was left of the film sites. Incredible how certain shots were so tightly edited that even locals were confused. ie Actors leave a house and cross the road to a street which is in fact several miles away.I spoke to Norman Rossington many times before his death about his work on Saturday Night Sunday Morning and although it was mostly shot in Nottingham he insisted that several re-takes were done in Manchester.
Many of the Manchester / Salford sites have of course gone. However some are still recognisable and I photographed the canal , the swing bridge etc. I agree with your idea that film architecture is very interesting and important, esp as it maps the change in our social history. Apart from some very excellent stories etc we are able to see whole communities living in the past ... and they did things very differently there.
Kind regards

Granby Road, Northfleet

The Long Memory


Enclosed a map of Granby Road, Northfleet.

Can u ask Mike to post it and the attached photos on to the blog and ask for a volunteeer to walk down that road to see if the house / houses is / are sill there?

AAaaannnd take a picture of course....


Monday, October 03, 2005

My composition, or what I did in the holidays

(this phrase is sure cause a depressed chill in any of you that are a ‘certain age‘).

by Brian Tunstill

Michael Caine /Shelley Winters ‘Alfie’ 1966

Brixton market Atlantic Road, . Quite an easy one this as I am on home ground and the market has been a favourite of filmmakers and photographers for the last century or so.

Holding up my erotic poster of Ms Winters and Mr Caine ,
we dash off the first ‘then and now ‘. Retreat under the bridge and find the next shot in...

Brixton Station Road.

Some truly shocking 1970s architecture, The Brixton Recreation Centre and Multi Story Car Park have all but transformed the right hand view . However the left side of the picture (railway arches and stalls) with good old Marks and Spencer’s roof top dome in the distance is much the same as 1966.
The great and good councillors of Lambeth in the nineteen seventies decided to re-build the whole of Brixton in the then ‘modern style‘. All flyovers and mega stores. However the plan was so ambitious that the money was never found. Thirty five years later most of our tumbled dwellings are still extant and now being lovingly restored by both enthusiasts and property dealers.
We are now called ‘Brixton Village’, Ahh! ‘Twee’ comes to Brixton, I never thought I’d see the day!

St Mary’s Church Battersea .. I wait, a solitary figure huddled among the tombstones ,when ….could this be a Reel Streeter? Yes ,John Crawford resplendent in black overcoat ,Trilby and Rupert The Bear yellow scarf , has turned out.
Like a scene from...

‘Waiting for Godot’

we chat about Reel Streets. First standing on one leg then the other. We keep a look out for ‘The Dear Leader’……. It gets colder…..We wait………
’Waiting long ?’ Oh! honeyed words!…..Yes, it‘s the Dear Leader at last and we are suddenly in a swirl of activity. A few trees are missing but most of the church is much the same as in 1966. A round/reel of snaps is taken . Our Dear Leader’s, Dear Lady, Liliana arrives and we are off , for hot refreshments and comfort in Battersea Square. We gather ourselves at last and decide to visit my friend Colin just round the corner for more coffee and cakes and an hour or so later ,enthusiasts to the last , the two Johns and Liliana get underway on the nineteen bus for..

‘Darling’ in Piccadilly.

There are seventy or so ‘Darling’ stills to ‘then and now’ .Here they will have to continue the story themselves as I reluctantly leave them and head home…..

The next day, Chiswick and Darling
Julie Christie and Dirk Bogarde in ‘Darling‘. 1965
Swathed in alternate layers of Bombazine and Viyella, I am topped off with yellow outer pinnings (a true Reel Streeter). I make my way to Stand-on-the-green for 14.30 sharp!
No ‘Stand’ but there is a Strand-on-the-green, Chiswick, yes, this must be it.

A watery sun picks out the gently rotting flotsam at low tide and the sharp wind removes the last traces of dank odour (river pong). I comfort myself with the knowledge that I will have first pickings of the flotage before the rest of the Reel Streets crowd arrive.

I brace myself against the riverside railings and wait……………………………….....................
………………………………and wait………………..At who knows what time, my tardy brother ambles along ‘been here long?’ he asks brightly, Grrrrr!

However all is action from now on and with the digital equivalent of flash bulbs popping we dash from ‘still to still’ ’then and now‘. It’s all here, almost the same after more than forty years.

The riverside railings are now metal instead of wood but everything else is just as it was!

The London Underground (iron?) Bridge to Kew ,untouched and even the trees on the far bank don’t seem to have grown much.

How can that be?
We are lucky to be visiting at low tide and with a quick semi- paddle we manage to ‘then and now’ Julie Christie running up the Strand toward The Bull’s Head pub.
In his boyish enthusiasm my brother manages to coat me in river mud by galloping full speed up the riverside steps. Each footfall a satisfying squish, as his size elevens slam down into the green/brown amalgam and I am generously sprayed each time!

Just time to gather a handful of blue and white eighteenth and nineteenth century pottery fragments, a glass stem and a tooth from the muddy strand.

There seems to be a lot of china . Do you think that the locals have been chucking their old plates in the Thames for the last few hundred years?
And we are off to the next stop….

Googie Withers, Richard Widmark and Gene Tierney in...

‘Night and the City’ 1950

This film is a real cracker, good story ,well acted and for ‘Reel Streeters’
a wealth of exterior London shots.

I was lucky enough to see Ms Withers on stage last year in ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’. She was word perfect (unlike some of the cast) .
Only a month or two later the massive chandelier in The Theatre Royal Haymarket threatened to crash down on the paying public. They were coated in a layer of crystal drops and ceiling plaster, I understand.
What a good job Ms Withers and I missed that performance!
Now where am I?
Yes, Hammersmith Bridge this time. We manage to find several locations by the mansion flats adjacent to the river. A scene off ,what was a side road and the steps to the bridge.
The area is much the same as in the fifties. Just a lot more cars and everywhere seems to have had a lick of paint.

More ‘then and nows’ of ‘Night and the City’ will have to wait for another day,

Saturday, October 01, 2005

American Werewolf

Hi Jon

Did you check out my American Werewolf site?, I did much the same as you have with comparison shots on every take...