Monday, July 28, 2008

Yellow Balloon

Just received a copy of this film from an admirer and I'm sending him one of his choice from our list.

A thriller with Kenneth More. Do you have any anecdotes, do you know any of the locations? Have you ever helped us before? Can you help us now?

John Tunstill

Saturday, July 26, 2008

More than just a Carry On?

Caricatured as low-brow and smutty, Carry On films were never much rated by movie critics. But do they tell us something more profound about the huge social changes in post-war Britain? The BBC's Carolyn Quinn thinks so.

A few weeks ago on her Sunday morning radio programme, Gabby Logan made an unintentionally saucy comment and referred to having had a "Carry On moment". Without further explanation you know exactly what she meant.
Almost everyone has seen at least one of the films. Most people have a favourite Carry On scene or cringe-making pun.
The very first Carry On film - Sergeant - came out 50 years ago this August and its appearance spawned a series of 30 over the next two decades. I decided to put in an idea to make a documentary marking the golden anniversary - not the sort that had been made many times before, focusing on the saucy lines and, at times, the desperately sad story of the troupe of actors who became such familiar faces to us all.
Instead, I wanted to examine the amazing social changes society underwent over the 20 years during which Sid James, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, Barbara Windsor and the rest were Carrying On.
Think about it. When Carry on Sergeant, a low budget black and white movie came out in 1958, National Service - the core of its plot - still had a couple of years to run in Britain.
By the time the last film of the main series, Carry on Emmannuelle, was released in 1978, life was very different - the permissive age was in full swing and the post-war era of deference had gone, replaced by the desire to escape the duties and limitations that most of those living in the 40s, 50s and some of the 60s accepted as part of their "lot" in life.
From 1958 to 1978 the Carry On films held up a mirror to British society, its institutions and its rapid changes. National Service ended, the National Health Service expanded rapidly, the sexual revolution arrived, the country faced bouts of industrial strife and working-class families started to holiday abroad.


Amid the slapstick, the innuendo and the corny puns, the Carry Ons reflected all of this. Derided by highbrow critics, it is only recently that social commentators have come to appreciate them for the unvarnished portrait they paint of a nation in flux.
Take Carry on Cabby (1963) for tentative stirrings of feminism as Hattie Jacques sets up an all-female taxi firm to rival that of husband Sid.
In the words of Daily Telegraph columnist Simon Heffer, Cabbie is "certainly what Germaine Greer would call a proto-feminist film".
By the time of Carry on Girls, 10 years later, bra-burning feminists disrupt a beauty contest in the seaside town of Fircombe.
While the humour may have been upfront, any social commentary was more subtly conveyed, says Andy Medhurst, lecturer in film, media and cultural studies at Sussex University.
"They weren't films that set out to have an explicit social message but in a paradoxical kind of way that gives them more meaning," says Mr Medhurst. "They capture the way people living humdrum lives with limited horizons found a release in comedy. They seem to encapsulate an everyday life in Britain of that time."

Earnest people

Indeed, the makers of the Carry Ons had no serious ambition for them other than as easy entertainment in the best music hall tradition. The man behind the scripts for the first six Carry Ons, Norman Hudis, had no idea he was being "significant". Now in his 80s, and living in America, he recalls he was simply reflecting life at the time.
From the patients' point of view, you can see the Carry Ons are a bit of a rebellion against that idea.
"For the most part," says Hudis, "it was earnest people in circumstances where they were being tried or pushed to the limit, almost giving in but eventually coming through and doing what they were supposed to do and doing it well."
For Simon Heffer, these early Carry Ons reflect a "sense of social cohesion which was really important before an age when individualism became as highly prized as it is now".
"I think that was the predominant sociological current and the films very accurately reflect that."
Where Hudis drew on his own wartime service for Carry On Sergeant, he also plundered his wife Rita's memory for Nurse. She had been a state-registered nurse and provided him with many a juicy story of life on the wards.
Yet again, there was more to 1959's Nurse than the saucy one-liners.
Former nurse Julia Hallam, now a film lecturer at Liverpool University, says Nurse provides a patients' eye insight into what was really going on in hospitals.

Sexy stereotype

"One of the things that you can think of them as representing is the first wave of consumer critique of the health service, particularly in the hospitals which were very authoritarian.
"Patients often felt too terrified to ask questions of people. They felt hospital was a very demeaning process and robbed you of your identity. From the patients' point of view, you can see the Carry Ons are a bit of a rebellion against that idea."
In 1959's Nurse, the NHS seemed novel and egalitarian. The nurses were cool and professional - and the patients fell in love with them.
By Carry On Doctor, eight years later, Barbara Windsor had introduced the saucy nurse to the nation - much to the chagrin of the Royal College of Nursing, which was horrified by the portrayal of the "sexy nurse" and fought the image for years, says Ms Hallam.
All across the Carry On canon, the rich entertainment was suffused with broader sociological comment.

Soft porn

From Teacher (1959) which seized on the ethics of corporal punishment in schools - eventually outlawed in 1986 - and the strains between traditional and progressive teaching methods, to 1971's Carry On at Your Convenience, with its undercurrents of industrial unrest.
That was the year a new Industrial Relations Act was passed, aimed at cutting numbers of unofficial strikes; the previous 12 months had been the worst in terms of days lost in industrial disputes since 1926.
Yet by the mid-70s Carry Ons' knack of feeling the pulse of British mass entertainment was fading.
By 1978 and Carry on Emmannuelle - in which the eponymous "heroine" manages to step outside a lot without her clothes - the Carry Ons were dying. Soft porn was readily available in British cinemas in the form of the raunchier Confessions films and even the original Emmanuelle. The time for nudge-nudge-wink-wink, innuendo-laden comedy had passed. Somehow the Carry Ons seemed old-fashioned and naive.
But as the decades have passed, the pendulum has swung back, allowing us to view the Carry Ons with affection. Even if you think they are corny/cheesy/horribly dated you may at least appreciate them for their nostalgia value and their reminder of more innocent times.

This article, written by Carolyn Quinn, appeared in the BBC News Magazine - Our apologies for omitting the reference.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Film locations in Buckinghamshire and Berkshire

Hello John, Brian and Simon. Just came across your marvellous web site whilst browsing and i must say how much i am enjoying viewing it. You all deserve a pat on the back for such a mammoth undertaking. A film locations, then and now site, or book, is something i have always kept an eye out for on the web or in my local bookstore but have never found one until i happened to discover yours.

..............glad to be of service

I agree with your sentiments regarding not only the nostalgic value of viewing then and now photographs of a certain era, but also the fascinating, social insights it gives us to see how the landscape of our towns, countryside and also our values and perceptions of everyday life has changed, probably for the worst, in the last 60 years.Of course we cant turn back the clock. But we can visit those times with the help of the silver screen to at least hold the stresses of the modern world at bay be it only for a few hours.

I was wondering if you would be interested in looking at a few modern location shots of some British films from the 60s?

...............Absolutely, it's life blood to the site

I live in High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire and i have discovered some of the locations for.

1 Dads Army, the movie--- Chalfont St Giles, Bucks. The village was also used in "The Big Job" A kind of Carry on film staring Sid James and Dick Emery.

...............yes please

2 The Early Bird---- High Wycombe.


3 The wrong arm of the law---- Beaconsfield post office.

............indeed yes

4 Revenge----- Go ahead, for its day, melodrama staring Joan Collins and James Booth. High Wycombe and Bourne End, Bucks


5 The Dirty Dozen----- Bradenham manor, Bradenham, Bucks also Albury, Herts


6 Nurse on wheels---- Staring Juliet Mills. Little Missenden, Bucks.

..........yes, yes

7 The square peg----- Norman wisdom. Wooburn green railway station, Bucks


8 Carry on Camping---- Gerrards Cross cinema, Bucks, also Beaconsfield, Bucks, and the camping shop in Maidenhead, Berks.


9 Carry on Sergeant----- Opening scene, Beaconsfield church, Bucks.


10 One of the Doctor at Large films which i cant remember staring Dirk Bogard. Some of the scenes were shot in Beaconsfield high street.

.............YES, YES, YES........................please, PLEASE!

If you would like any of these modern shots let me know i will email them over. Keep up the good work.

............waiting with baited breath, and the info has to be worth a complimentary subscription.

Best wishes

John Tunstill

All the best
Eddie Brazil

Monday, July 21, 2008

Studio entrance

From "Faces in the Dark" and "I'm all right Jack".

There is another film when this entrance is used as a hospital, can you ID it?

Could it be Green for danger?


Well spotted, maybe the staff canteen entrance of the studio?

Mayor wants Python film ban ended

By Carl Yapp
BBC News

She's not the messiah, she's the mayor of Aberystwyth and she has a plan.

Sue Jones-Davies is trying to overturn a near 30-year ban imposed bythe town on Monty Python's Life of Brian - the film in which she played a role. Long before she donned her mayoral robes in the mid Wales town, she played Brian's girlfriend in the movie. Opponents claimed it made fun of Jesus, but she says it's 'amazing' that a town like hers still officially bars a movie now regarded as a comedy classic. In 1979, however, it grabbed the headlines for the wrong reasons, with critics accusing the Python team of blasphemy with its story about a Jewish man who was mistaken for the messiah and then crucified. Some religious groups picketed cinemas which screened the film.

Sue Jones-Davies (centre) with the Monty Python team on the film

A number of areas in Wales banned it, as former Python John Cleese recalled during an interview on Channel 4's Richard and Judy programme on Wednesday. But nearly 30 years on, the new mayor of Aberystwyth wants the restriction lifted in her town. 'Given what's on TV now I think it's amazing a ban in Aberystwyth still exists,' said Ms Jones-Davies. 'I think it should be lifted.
'I would like to think that any religion would have the generosity to see the film for what it is, which is a comedy. 'I was surprised at the outrage it caused at the time, but I did not expect or appreciate the impact and never thought it would turn out to be so popular.
'The movie has maintained its popularity. It is usually at or near the top of lists of the greatest comedy films. It featured some iconic lines, most famously the verdict byBrian's mother on her son: 'He's not the messiah - he's a very naughty boy'. Parts of the script are still quoted at Ms Jones-Davies today, but she confessed the lines were wasted on her: 'I can't remember the lines from the script now - it's nearly 30 years ago,' she explained.

Sue Jones-Davies

Ms Jones-Davies played a revolutionary called Judith Iscariot, and she had a nude scene with the film's hero, Brian, played by the late Graham Chapman. But she very nearly didn't appear in the movie at all. 'I got the part because somebody dropped out,' she said. 'I had the same agent as John Cleese and was recommended for the part. 'I went for an interview at a flat in London and all the Monty Python crew were there. 'It was quite funny really because it wasn't a proper interview at all, as you'd expect with Monty Python. 'They were all chipping in and saying, 'Oh yes, she'll be fine'. I wasn't asked many questions.
'It was shot in Tunisia, but part of the crucifixion scene had to be filmed in a sandpit in Kent. 'It was great fun to work on, and we had the odd day off. One day I went with Terry Gilliam to buy a carpet and driving along we came to a river,' she added. 'Local people nearby were warning us not to go through it, but Terry just drove on - I thought we were going to sink but we managed to make to the other side.
'Recalling her famous nude scene, Ms Jones-Davies said: 'It was a part and I just played it, although I did call for a closed set. ''It was filmed in a sort of small tunnel, and wasn't very sensual at all.

'It is understood a committee made up of church leaders in Aberystwyth recommended a ban in 1979. Ceredigion council has the power to lift it, but a spokesman said no-one in the licensing department knew about the ban. But Michael Davies, the owner of Aberystwyth's Commodore Cinema, said he was sure it was still in place. 'As far as I know the Life of Brian is still banned from being shown at the cinema,' he explained. 'My father ran the cinema when the ban was imposed and I suppose it would have had a commercial impact at the time because it was a huge film and made a fortune. 'I don't think lifting the ban now would make much of a difference. 'Stars such as Spike Milligan and ex-Beatle George Harrison, who financed the Life of Brian when no-one else would, played cameo roles.

Sue Jones-Davies as Judith Iscariot in the Life of Brian

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Lost Battersea Companies

What an interesting site

Sorry to trouble you,

Just a shot in the dark,

I'm looking for any picture of the old battersea company called ANDREWS REMOVALS.

And PHILLIPS MILLS a paper company

I have an old gentleman who grew up around the firm and dearly wants to see the vans again.

Can you help or advise me where I may be able to get assistance from

Thank you for your time

Yve Evans

Sorry, can't help, but we'll blog your letter

Best wishes

John Tunstill

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Veteran actor and TV star Hugh Lloyd died on the 14th July 2008 at the age of 85.

Hugh Lloyd, awarded an MBE in 2005, died at his home in Worthing, West Sussex. Although Lloyd accepted parts in productions as diverse as Alan Bennett's A Visit from Miss Protheroe and the detective series Charlie, he always claimed he was happiest in 'cheerless underdog parts'.

It is not surprising then that Lloyd considered as particular triumphs the role of a mournful worm in James and the Giant Peach and that of a concrete garden ornament in The Gnomes of Dulwich.

He drew inspiration from his childhood hero Stan Laurel. 'I saw Laurel and Hardy on stage,' he recalled, 'and they were brilliant. They were real professionals, economical, they didn't do anything unless it was funny.'

Despite Lloyd's physique (he was short, overweight and balding and was once described as looking like 'a melancholic mole') he received a considerable amount of mail from female fans.

'I think they take one look at my face,' he recalled, 'bearing all the marks of human suffering, and they think I need mothering.' Undeterred by three previous divorces, Lloyd was married for the fourth time in 1983 to a woman 30 years his junior.

Hugh Lewis Lloyd was born on April 22 1923 and brought up in Chester, the son of a tobacco factory manager. The Lloyds were strict Methodists and disapproved of their son's childhood ambitions of becoming a comedian. 'Every holiday in Llanfairfechan I used to spend the day watching the pier-end concert party,' he recalled, 'then I'd tell my parents I'd been playing on the beach.'

At the outbreak of the Second World War Lloyd left the King's School, Chester, and instead of becoming a comic, as he had hoped, started work as a cub reporter on the Chester Chronicle. 'My father was dead against the stage,' he remembered. 'He thought it was too insecure and persuaded me into journalism instead.'

As a reporter Lloyd spent most of his time reviewing local theatrical performances. When he began putting on his own amateur productions he reported those as well. 'I never had such good reviews again,' he admitted. 'I was forever drawing attention to myself as 'this promising young comedian'.'

Lloyd began his association with Tony Hancock when he was offered several 'one-liners' in the radio show Hancock's Half Hour in 1954.

After joining Hancock on a tour of Cyprus, Malta and Tripoli, entertaining the troops there, Lloyd and Hancock became close friends. 'I've never worked with anyone like him before or since,' he recalled, 'Tony was a one-off, a really talented actor.'

On their return to Britain Hancock offered Lloyd much larger parts in the television version of Hancock's Half Hour in 1956. Lloyd played 'the patient in the next bed' in one of Hancock's best-known episodes 'The Blood Donor'. He went on to co-star in over 30 sketches including 'The Librarian', 'The Lift' and 'The Reunion'.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Girl with Pistol

Locations for Girl with Pistol:

Edinburgh: Waverley Station and other streets.
Sheffield: The Steel, Peach and Tozer Factory, streets, cafe and a club.
Cardiff Airport: Only a guess as this was the departure point of the Cambrian Airlines flight to
Brighton: Waterfront, pier and hotels and probably the ferryport at Newhaven.
Bath: Royal Crescent and maybe also the hospital.
London: The Salisbury pub on St Martin's Lane, WC2 (also used in The Victim).
St Martin's Court - Stanley Baker illegally parks his car here.
Trafalgar Square - Authentic anti-US Vietnam war demo, with later staged shots of the demo including Vitti and Baker, possibilly Lincoln Inn Fields.
Elephant and Castle, the shiney steel lump in the middle of the roundabout.
Waterford Road, SW.

Sent in by an unknown admirer to whom we extend our thanks.

The Fast Lady

I have just discovered your site, amazing. I am currently writing and photographing a book for Random House on all things peculiarly English in the landscape, and one chapter is dedicated to typically English film locations, particularly period pieces.

I was sent your link because I have been discussing with a friend the 1962 film The Fast Lady, recently given to me for a birthday present along with its companion piece, the 1963 Father Came Too. I can't accurately identify the obviously real shopping streets, which one assumes is Beaconsfield (new) or similar. I say this because I do know that some street scenes were shot on a back lot at Independent Artist's studios in Old Beaconsfield (now the National Film and Television School). These are the ones with well-defined pavement edges, made-up shop names and trees in the far background. A typical one is the scene you've pictured with the Bentley stuck at an angle behind the worse-for-wear Austin.

The reason I know all this is because as a fourteen year old I managed to escape from my parents on a trip to Old Beaconsfield and went exploring. I discovered the high wooden gates to the studio open and wandered in, and unchallenged found myself staring at a street of shops, fronts only with scaffolding supports at the rear.They used the same set for Father Came Too with shop names re-painted, such as the estate agent where Leslie Philips worked.

Hope this is useful, doubtless I will communicate again as I get further into it.

Kind regards

Peter Ashley

PS. Peter we were waiting for your further communication, but yes thanks for this its most useful and we hope to hear from you again in the future.

Umbrian Film Festival

8th July 2008 saw the start of the 12th Umbrian Film Festival in Montone, the small village in the Upper Tiber Valley played host to a number of films from around the world until the 13th July. One of the highlights of this years festival was the presentation of a gift of the keys of Montone to Peter Lord, well known and respected in the cinematic world.

Terry Gillam of Monty Python, Baron Munchausen and Life of Brian fame is one of the leading lights of the society, to whom I sold a house several years ago in the village of Morra some 10Km up the road.

John Tunstill.


Couple of British Postage stamps sent in by an admirer.

But why is the Queen saying what she seems to be saying?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Trouble in Store

I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday and we talked about old films. He told me that he remembers as a boy being used as an extra, together with other school friends, in order to take part in interior shots for the 1953 Norman Wisdom film 'Trouble in Store.'

Although, as you say, the exterior shots were filmed in London, some of the interiors were shot inside Welwyn Department Store in Welwyn Garden City (now John Lewis).

Although he and his friends ended up on the cutting room floor some of the interiors of the old shop can be seen in the film.

I hope this information is of use. Incidentally, Welwyn Film Studios, now demolished, were also quite active from the early twenties and a number of well known films, including 'Brighton Rock', were made there.

Elstree film studios is also only a few miles up the A1.

Colin Childs

..................thanks Colin, more useful info

Best wishes


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Jet Storm

Hi John

Many years ago when Heathrow's terminal 2 opened, my friends and I were teenagers, we used to cycle there most weekends plane spotting, on one occasion we were excited to see a film crew in the terminal making a film, there were many actors and celebriteis around, including Bob Monkhouse, Dennis Goodwin, Marty Wilde, George Baker, Barbra Kelly, Anthony Booth, and many others, I do not think they were all in the film, just visiting the set, we got many autographs, and all were very approachable, when we asked what the film was called we were told by Marty Wilde that it was "Jet Stream"!!
For many years I looked everywhere for news of this film until tonight, whilst researching another icon, Barbera Kelly, I happened to look up her filmography, and found she once appeared in a film called "Jet Storm", subsequent research and many visits to sites akin to this film has led me to say for certain this was the film I saw being made, with its plethora of stars of the day, sadly though all avenues of investigation to purchase a copy have come to nothing, does any of your clan know where a copy can possibly be purchased.

Best Regards

Brian Duffy