Friday, September 26, 2008

Tiger Bay

Reports on the film/filming of ‘Tiger Bay’ in the South Wales Echo (SWE available on micro-fiche in the Library):

3/3/1959 - article headed 'Cardiff Town Clerk hits out at film of 'Tiger Bay' - the clerk Mr S Tapper-Jones is clearly concerned that the film will adversely affect developer's perceptions and he speaks out against the film at the opening of a public enquiry into the proposed compulsory purchase of 9 and a half acres of land in the Butetown North development area - "I am glad of the opportunity to stress the profound concern of the city council collectively at the gross manner in which the impression of the type of life in this neighbourhood has been misrepresented merely for the depraved taste of people who like sensational pictures, ". But a secondary reports relates that Cardiff City Council will make no further protests after learning that the MP for Cardiff South East (James Callaghan) had been told that the film title could not now be changed.

4/3/1959 - article headed 'Butetown not worst area in Cardiff, inquiry told' - article about whether the houses in the proposed development area are unfit for habitation (as the council would have it) or not.

4/3/1959 - another article headed 'Cardiff's night of the stars' refers to the intended world premiere at the Gaumont Theatre on March 23rd for the film, "which has stirred up more controversy than any other picture the Rank Organisation has made in years".

16/3/1959 - 'Do You Know the Star?' - star silhouettes competition run by the Gaumont Theatre in run up to premiere, winner each day receiving a food hamper.

21/3/1959 - 'Can You Pick the Star?'- as above

23/3/1959 - article headed 'After the words - now the film can speak' by Gordon Tucker: " ... I am convinced that the controversy began on fears that were without foundation and grew out of all proportion. The clips of the film I saw at Pinewood Studios in no way backed up the allegations of the anxious Butetown mothers. It was their protestations to the film's publicist, New York-born Miss Ruth Lipton, that started the storm of words. Miss Lipton's assurances that 'Tiger Bay' would show the area's inhabitants "not as simple coloureds or something worse, but a people of dignity" did not placate them. Verbal gale cones were hoisted when the debate spread from Butetown to the city council chamber and even to television via the district's Member of Parliament, Mr. James Callaghan. The title perturbed many of them. It was even suggested that intending visitors to this city - not knowing that Tiger Bay had its teeth drawn many a moon ago - would be scared away ....The film's director, stocky J. Lee Thompson, is too brilliant a man to waste his talents producing a sleazy little package of social evils. ....This has been on economy budget effort. To find the artiste for the killer's role, Ranks took an open cheque book to the Continent and came back with a short-term contract autographed by Horst Buchholz. And Yvonne Mitchell - the star of 'Woman in a Dressing Gown' - was signed for a role lasting a couple of minutes! Cardiff owes a debt of thanks to a slightly-built Asiatic named Sanny bin Hussan, who lives at Stacy Road, Roath. He was indirectly responsible for the film ever being made here. 'Tiger Bay' producer John Hawskworth [sic] (who also collaborated on the script) came here to test Sanny bin Hussan for the part of a Malayan village leader in 'Windom's Way'. He signed up Sanny bin Hussan - and discovered Butetown in the process. The place stuck in his mind until the time when a location was needed for this story. And Mr Hawkesworth didn't hesitate ....".

23/3/1959 - articled headed 'Mayor wasn't invited to Tiger Bay' - "Although some officials of Newport Town Council have been invited to tonight's world premiere of the film 'Tiger Bay' at Cardiff the Mayor and Mayoress of Newport have not. Parts of the film were shot in Newport and members of the cast met the mayor in his parlour. .....".