"Withnail and I?", I wondered as I perused the shelves of a DVD and CD store in Cambridge. An accompanying friend said, "Buy it, you'll enjoy it." And so it was that this DVD stood, unwatched on the shelf for half a year until last night. I had already found that the film was set in Wet Sleddale and so I watched it this week. Set in the dying months of the 1960s, wondrous shots of uncongested motorways, hilarious dialogues and with a Lakeland setting to boot I couldn't go wrong. Having watched this piece of iconic film it then got me wondering at how many other films are set in the Lakes. Perhaps with some suggestions, this article can grow over time so please do read on and write in with your ideas and of course help me fill in the gaps with interesting links and quotes....
FILM: WITHNAIL AND I
LAKELAND LOCATION(S): Sleddale Hall, Wet Sleddale valley
STARRING: Paul McGann, Richard E. Grant, Richard Griffiths, Ralph Brown, Michael Elphick, Daragh O'Malley
PRODUCTION YEAR: 1986
RUNNING TIME: 1hr 43min
SYNOPSIS: WITHNAIL AND I is a quirky semiautobiographical account of filmmaker Bruce Robinson's early years as an actor. In 1969 London, two unemployed thespians--Withnail (Richard E. Grant) and Marwood (Paul McGann)--take a holiday in the Lake District at the home of Withnail's uncle Monty (Richard Griffiths), quite unprepared for what is in store for them, not only involving the locals, but the uncle as well.
What a wonderful piece of work. Richard E Grant is fantastic as the cowardly alcoholic slob with a casual disregard for others, and the rest of the cast combine to make this a wonderfully enjoyable, fantastically funny piece of film, enjoyable by almost everyone on almost every level. Not one for the kids, obviously, but definitely one to make you laugh. Over and over again.
FACTUAL ERROR: Several outdoor shots with rain only falling in the foreground.
FILM: Miss Potter
LAKELAND LOCATION(S): Loweswater (Blake, Mellbreak, Starling Dodd Fells etc), Yew Tree Farm
STARRING: Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, Emily Watson, Barbara Flynn, Matyelok Gibbs, Jane How, Anton Lesser
PRODUCTION YEAR: 2006
RUNNING TIME: 1hr 32min
SYNOPSIS:The story of Beatrix Potter, the author of the beloved and best-selling children's book, "The Tale of Peter Rabbit", and her struggle for love, happiness and success.
I've never written a review for anything but after watching this delight, I felt absolutely compelled to. From the fine costumes to the beautiful scenery and lovely houses to the most heart-warming, heart-breaking and inspiring story, this deserves 5 stars in every respect. Very well done!
FACTUAL ERROR: The train crosses Arten Gill viaduct in a southerly direction on the Settle Carlisle railway line. She would be going north from London to Penrith (for Keswick), and would cross northwards.
FILM: Across the Lake
LAKELAND LOCATION(S): Coniston, Coniston Water, Views of Coniston fells and Helvellyn and Fairfield in the distance
STARRING: Anthony Hopkins,Phyllis Calvert, Juliette Grassby, Ewan Hooper and Rosemary Leach
PRODUCTION YEAR: 1988
RUNNING TIME: 1hr 27min
SYNOPSIS: Anthony Hopkins stars as famous speed ace Donald Campbell. This 1988 TV Docu-Drama. In 1967 Campbell broke the 300mph water speed barrier in his beloved BlueBird watercraft. Unfortunately Campbell never survived the record as his boat hydroplaned out of the water and disintegrated on landing. Campbell's body was not recovered until 2001.
He's one of my heroes I guess. Like many of your heroes you can debate for a long time about the actual man, but what he did with Bluebird took a brave being. In my book, this film is a clever portrayal of the events leading up to the famous footage of the crash and especially when you consider it was produced in 1988 before the advent of CGI. Apart from the story, the backdrop of the Coniston and Central fells adds to the delight of this film.
FACTUAL ERROR: When we see Sarah Williamson's report on Donald Campbell in her typewriter, it refers to Coniston as a "Cumbrian village". In 1966 Coniston was in Lancashire. It did not become part of the newly created county of Cumbria until 1974.
N.B. Other films shot partly in Cumbria include: Brazil, Mahler, Julia, The One That Got Away , Swallows and Amazons, The Paradine Case and 28 Days later. Can you proive any more information on these or other films shot wholly or partly in the English Lake District?