Wednesday, July 31, 2013

English Stately Locations In Period Dramas

Love them or hate them, period dramas have surged in popularity over the last five years, with films such as the King’s Speech and the 2011 adaptation of Jane Eyre being among the two most notable (and highly acclaimed) examples of late. And while any era in history is fair game and open to dramatic interpretation, two things remain constant across the genre: astounding architecture and incredible costume design.

Since England is the literary and historical birthplace that has given rise to this slice of cinematography, it’s not surprise that the majority of such films and TV shows are filmed there. Today, we’ll be exploring some of the more recognizable locations and building across the pond that has been given greater exposure on screen.

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey has seen great success on both sides of the Atlantic, having won both Golden Globe and a Primetime Emmy Award (as well as a staggering 27 nominations).

The titular abbey is placed in the county of Yorkshire throughout the series, but in reality the architecture used isn’t called Downton Abbey and is located in a different part of the country entirely.

In fact, it isn’t even an abbey. Highclere Castle in Hampshire is used to depict Downton from the exterior (and most of the interior shots as well). The castle, which has stood in one form or another since the 8th century, underwent construction in 1839 to become the recognizable splendor we’ve come to know today.

Given its heightened popularity of late, Highclere has seen a surge in interest as a wedding venue but might be slightly out of budget for most people – just to hire the venue will set you back around $30,000, plus an extra $300 per guest for catering.

The King’s Speech

Among the many triumph’s of 2010’s The King’s Speech was the excellent use of location to realistically depict depression-era London. In order to do this, they commandeered an entire street which featured some of the only surviving Victorian tenement buildings in London – housing hastily built to accommodate impoverished factory workers and their kin.

Despite the extremely high production value of the film as a whole, set designers only had a $12m budget to work with – a huge amount for a filmmaking student perhaps, but comparatively small when talking about recreating a whole different era for a feature film. Life Street in particular (pictured above) was used extensively during filming, with 30s era posters being plastered on the side of buildings and grime sprayed over the entire street. In addition to trying to make the street look as filthy as possible, crew had to replicate the noxious smog which was commonplace at the time – to do this, they pumped in so much fake smoke that fire alarms were set off.

Since permission to film inside Buckingham Palace is seldom granted, Lancaster House was used as a substitute for the scenes leading up to the Colin Firth making the speech (and the delivery scene itself).

Jane Eyre

There are more attempts at translating Jane Austen’s work to the silver screen than you can shake an Elizabethan stick at. Some have been incredibly successful, some not so much, but director Cary Fukunaga’s 2011 take on Jane Eyre is amongst the former.

Along with the enigmatic moors and dales of the English midlands, two key locations helped bring this wonderfully realized adaptation to life. The first was Haddon Hall (pictured above), was used to represent Thornfield Hall; an apt choice, really, given that it had already appeared in Franco Zeffirelli’s 1996 adaptation of the film as well as in the 2006 BBC television series. The manor hall areas have been relatively untouched since its construction in the 11th century, which makes it one of the most well-preserved historical buildings in the country.

Some key scenes were filmed (albeit to a lesser extent) further south in Oxfordshire at Broughton Castle.

Like Haddon, the modest castle also had a pedigree as a prime filming location long before Jane Eyre, having previously made an appearance in The Madness of King George and Shakespeare in Love.

Pride & Prejudice

From one Jane Austin masterpiece to another, Pride & Prejudice has also been the subject of many screen adaptations. Which has been the best and/or most faithful is the subject of much debate, but high up in the rankings is one of the most recent – Joe Wright’s 2005 feature film adaptation, starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen.

Haddon Hall once again made an appearance in the film, but the main fictional estate of Pemberley was portrayed by two separate locations. 

Wilton House, pictured on the right, is a relatively modern (16th century) manor in the county of Wiltshire, and its impressive grounds have featured in numerous period dramas over the years. Chatsworth House on the left – instantly recognizable from Wright’s Pride and Prejudice and many others – is one of the most well known in England and is the largest, privately owned property in the country.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Save Goldhawk Road Shops

When perusing this site it is always sad to see nearly unrecognisable "now shots" held together by one or two surviving reference points.
 We now all have the chance to preserve a location from one of the best loved seventies films.Hammersmith and Fulham council want to demolish a row of Victorian shops in Goldhawk Road W12."A.COOKES" pie and mash shop (Est 1899) is one of the shops that will disappear.Quadrophenia fans will of course know that this where Phil Daniels and Ray Winstone meet up after encountering each other in the baths and realise they are adherents of different youth cults,somewhat souring their reunion.
 There are no exterior shots in the film but I for one do not want to see thriving businesses,let alone historic film locations,make way for another soulless block of expensive flats.They are of no use to local residents,film fans,mods and lovers of a fast disappearing traditional nosh up
 Whenever I find a film location thats largely demolished a wave of sadness comes over me,we all love old films and old film locations,we now have the chance to help save one.
 Please sign the petition here

Friday, July 12, 2013

New Films

Mr Love has just been loaded and all the thens and now have been found by Neil Rigby, and also at about the same time Castaway, splendidly researched by Jasvir Lota. A good bundle of pics showing Southport and London. Well done and thanks to both of you.