(My thanks to Jesse Woodcock.)
About a quarter of this Macedonian film is set in London. The last London location is an elegant early Victorian villa in Barnsbury:
While in London the film visits a variety of other locations, including Camden Passage, N.1:
Myddelton Square, E.C.1:
Abney Park cemetery, N.16:
Arnold Circus, E.2:
Shad Thames, S.E.1:
A taxi ride begins at Holborn Station, W.C.1, and ends at the entrance to Abney Park cemetery on Stoke Newington Church Street, N.16, passing through a number of locations that I haven't identified:
Just before the taxi ride is a sequence which I think is somewhere in Islington, but I haven't managed a specific identification:
Suggestions welcome, here.
(My thanks to Jesse Woodcock.)
Hancock walks up Agamemnon Road from Fortune Green to his lodgings at the corner of Ulysses Road:
'Agamemnon Road' is written above the door, probably because, though the entrance is on Ulysses Road, the house's address must have been changed at some point. Perhaps it was out if superstition since, in the sequence of houses on Agamemnon Road, it would be numbered 13.
If there is any doubting this identification, a detail in the brickwork behind Mrs Crevatte can be matched to number 26, across the road:
The station from which Hancock travels each morning is called Fortune Green South, aptly so since Agamemnon Road is just south of Fortune Green:
Though his home is in North London the station used for the film was - as is already well documented - Bingham Road, in Croydon. The train's destination is Waterloo, which loosely fits a south London setting, though trains from Bingham Road went to Cannon Street or Charing Cross, not Waterloo.
The office building from which Hancock emerges at the end of the day still eludes identification:
It is twelve storeys high, and there weren't many office buildings in 1961 that height. Of those that survive none matches the film, so my guess is that it has been demolished. Possible candidates include Drury House or Orbit House on Blackfriars Road, Southbridge House on Southwark Bridge Road and St Martin's House on Tottenham Court Road. Any suggestions here, please.
Laurence Harvey walks up St James's Street to the Economist Buildings:
In the foyer his character (Joe Lampton) meets an old friend and they cross the Plaza together:
Life at the Top is the first (to my knowledge) of several films in the decade to make use of this remarkable set of buildings, completed in 1964. In the next three years it appears in Blowup:
In I'll Never Forget What's'isname:
And in Sebastian:
The significance of the Smithsons' project is outlined in Michael Webb's Architecture in Britain Today, from 1969:
These are the accompanying photographs:
The films that come here all show something of the older environs by which the Smithsons' work is framed:
Some also signal that the development was itself conceived as a frame for art. The view of the plaza from Life at the Top includes a sculpture facing out onto Ryder Street:
From the beginning the plaza served as an exhibition space for sculpture. The work we can see in Life at the Top appears to be by Kenneth Armitage:
I haven't yet made an exact identification but it is not unlike Armitage's Triarchy, from 1957:
In Blowup the work on show is Four Elements II (1965) by Brian Wall:
And in I'll Never Forget Whats'is'name there are two works on show, a piece by Barbara Hepworth:
And one by Eduardo Paolozzi:
This is Susasa, dated 1966 in the recent (2012) sale at Sotheby's and illustrated with a photograph of it n situ, in the Economist plaza:
The photograph illustrating its present state reveals that it has changed over time:
The auctioneer's website indicates that Paolozzi modified the work in 1974, which explains why it is no longer red.
The Alfred Brod Gallery was part of the Economist development, but Brod specialised in old masters rathe than contemporary sculpture. While waiting for his client, chauffeur Hywel Bennett (in Endless Night) examines the Brod Gallery display:
Alex looks for Patricia in a grocer's, a chemist's, and a fish and chip shop which I think is the North Sea Fish Restaurant on Leigh Street. This would be near where they live, Grafton Mansions on Duke's Road, though when he leaves to go looking for her he turns right, in the other direction from Leigh Street:
Caz and Billibud go from Woburn Walk to a nightclub round the corner on Duke's Road, opposite Grafton Mansions:
Dryden Chambers was a passage off Oxford Street, at no. 119, on the south side between Wardour Street and Great Chapel Street. It is all now gone, the space entirely occupied by shops:
The shot that establishes us in the vicinity of Oxford Street is actually a long way from Dryden Chambers, at the corner of Stratford Place:
Dryden Chambers has a greater claim to fame for its place in the history of punk (see here). Malcolm McLaren's offices were at no. 27. See here for Adrian Boot's photographs of the Sex Pistols in Dryden Chambers in 1977:
Wapping streets with walkways overhead linking warehouses are, with the counterparts across the river in Bermondsey, a recurrent location. Few of those walkways have survived gentrification, and it is all the more difficult to be sure which street we are seeing. Here is a selection - work still needs to be done on identification (suggestions here, please) :
Here is one of Jonathan Barker's wonderful photographs of London c. 1973 (see here for more):
I've nothing to say about this place, and have only put it in because E.8 is under-represented on my map of plotted London film locations:
I had planned to use Dirty Pretty Things to show Bunhill Fields, E.C.1, one of my favourite places in London, but the sequence filmed there is so nauseating, with its big stupid emoting faces and its stupid dialogue, that I consider the film's presence in Bunhill Fields to be location abuse:
Moreover - though I would have to care more about the film before I tested this - I think the sequence shows the protagonists coming into the main walkway through Bunhill Fields from a direction that is unfeasible. I'll post again on this topic if I find out I'm wrong.
What's good about Bunhill Fields has nothing to do with films. Three great non-conformist writers are buried here: Bunyan, Defoe and Blake - and the greatest of these is Blake.
Better still is the proximity of the Artilliery Arms, a pub that serves the best beer in the world (Fuller's ESB) and where you can drink while contemplating a cemetery full of illustrious corpses.
Baudelaire, who wrote 'Le Tir et le Cimetière', would have liked the Artillery Arms:
'The Shooting-Range and the Cemetery'
'Cemetery View Inn'—'A queer sign', said our traveller to himself; "but it raises a thirst! Certainly the keeper of this inn appreciates Horace and the poet pupils of Epicurus. Perhaps he even apprehends the profound philosophy of those old Egyptians who had no feast without its skeleton, or some emblem of life's brevity."
He entered: drank a glass of beer in presence of the tombs; and slowly smoked a cigar. Then, his phantasy driving him, he went down into the cemetery, where the grass was so tall and inviting; so brilliant in the sunshine.
The light and heat, indeed, were so furiously intense that one had said the drunken sun wallowed upon a carpet of flowers that had fattened upon the corruption beneath.
The air was heavy with vivid rumours of life—the life of things infinitely small—and broken at intervals by the crackling of shots from a neighbouring shooting-range, that exploded with a sound as of champagne corks to the burden of a hollow symphony.
And then, beneath a sun which scorched the brain, and in that atmosphere charged with the ardent perfume of death, he heard a voice whispering out of the tomb where he sat. And this voice said:
'Accursed be your rifles and targets, you turbulent living ones, who care so little for the dead in their divine repose! Accursed be your ambitions and calculations, importunate mortals who study the arts of slaughter near the sanctuary of Death himself! Did you but know how easy the prize to win, how facile the end to reach, and how all save Death is naught, not so greatly would you fatigue yourselves, O ye laborious alive; nor would you so often vex the slumber of them that long ago reached the End—the only true end of life detestable!'
(From James Huneker's 1919 edition, here.)
'Le Tir et le Cimetière'
- A la vue du cimetière, Estaminet. - "Singulière enseigne, - se dit notre promeneur, - mais bien faite pour donner soif! A coup sûr, le maître de ce cabaret sait apprécier Horace et les poètes élèves d'Epicure. Peut-être même connaît-il le raffinement profond des anciens Egyptiens, pour qui il n'y avait pas de bon festin sans squelette, ou sans un emblème quelconque de la brièveté de la vie."
Et il entra, but un verre de bière en face des tombes, et fuma lentement un cigare. Puis, la fantaisie le prit de descendre dans ce cimetière, dont l'herbe était si haute et si invitante, et où régnait un si riche soleil.
En effet, la lumière et la chaleur y faisaient rage, et l'on eût dit que le soleil ivre se vautrait tout de son long sur un tapis de fleurs magnifiques engraissées par la destruction. Un immense bruissement de vie remplissait l'air, - la vie des infiniment petits, - coupé à intervalles réguliers par la crépitation des coups de feu d'un tir voisin, qui éclataient comme l'explosion des bouchons de champagne dans le bourdonnement d'une symphonie en sourdine.
Alors, sous le soleil qui lui chauffait le cerveau et dans l'atmosphère des ardents parfums de la Mort, il entendit une voix chuchoter sous la tombe où il s'était assis. Et cette voix disait: "Maudites soient vos cibles et vos carabines, turbulents vivants, qui vous souciez si peu des défunts et de leur divin repos! Maudites soient vos ambitions, maudits soient vos calculs, mortels impatients, qui venez étudier l'art de tuer auprès du sanctuaire de la Mort! Si vous saviez comme le prix est facile à gagner, comme le but est facile à toucher, et combien tout est néant, excepté la Mort, vous ne vous fatigueriez pas tant, laborieux vivants, et vous troubleriez moins souvent le sommeil de ceux qui depuis longtemps ont mis dans le But, dans le seul vrai but de la détestable vie!"
For more on the Artillery Arms, see the excellent Tales of Ales and More blog, here.
'What about the lollipop man?', asks Regan, observing the scene from the footbridge that crosses the railway lines from South Worple Way to North Worple Way.
'Got in the way', replies Carter.
From the balcony of a flat in Roebuck House, Steven looks out over London and down onto Stag Place:
We see five of the other buildings that form this precinct. Most prominent is Portland House:
To the left, below, is Glen House:
To the right, below, is Eland House:
To the right of Eland House is Watney House:
The arrangement of these buildings can be seen on this plan:
This plan is from a 1964 issue of Concrete Quarterly, the journal of the Cement and Concrete Association (available online here). Here are two more illustrations from this journal:
Concrete Quarterly lists the architects for each building:
Roebuck House and Carrier House (not visible in Privilege): W.H Rogers, H.D. Krall, R.S. Fleming and W.H.G. Keal;
Portland House, Eland House and Glen House: Howard, Fairbairn and partners;
Watney House and The Stag public house (not visible in Privilege): Trehearne and Norman, Preston and partners;
Esso House (not visible in Privilege): T.P. Bennett and Son.
The precinct was completely redeveloped in the 2000s, and Stag Place has been renamed Cardinal Place. Of the eight buildings, only two survive:
Roebuck House has been refurbished and renamed The View:
These photographs are from the current owner's website, which has a section on the building's history, here, listing several cinema personalities who lived at Roebuck House. The site also mentions that the building featured in the opening credits of the TV series The Prisoner (1967):
Depending on which particular Google Street View you happen upon, The Stag pub is either still there at 15 Bressenden Place or has already been demolished:
Six years before Privilege the opening sequence of Victim showed the Stag Place precinct under construction:
Claire leaves the house at 2 Alpha Road and turns left into New Cross Road, followed by Jay:
After the bridge over the railway at New Cross station, they are straightway at the market on Deptford High Street:
This is in the wrong direction. To get here from Alpha Road they would have had to turn right into New Cross Road, not left:
Joanna goes to life-drawing classes at the Royal College of Art:
She arrives at the Darwin Building, which dates from 1962 (see here):
A demonstration is coming down Friern Barnet Road from New Southgate Station towards Britannia Hospital:
Britannia Hospital is of course Friern Barnet Hospital, which before that had been the Colney Hatch Asylum. Or at least the principal exteriors are Friern Barnet Hospital. The interiors and some parts of the periphery were filmed at University College London:
The address where Van Meer is being held is given as 242 Charlotte Street, but there is no such address - the numbers only go up to around 90. Of course this is not the real Charlotte Street, but an impression of it built in Hollywood:
On this re-imagining of Charlotte Street there is tobacconist called 'Edward Bates & Co.', a French bookshop and a restaurant called Maison Rouge. The restaruant and the 'Librarie française' give an impression of the street as a European enclave, a motif linked to the film's theme.
We have already seen the real Charlotte Street at the end of Smashing Time:
For the maps in Foreign Correspondent, see here.
A confession of failure: a shot of a woman painting graffiti onto the pavement in front of a pre-fab looks to me like it was filmed on the Excalibur Estate in Catford, but I have not found an exact match to the building we see. This looks very similar, but the windows aren't right and there aren't any houses behind like those we can see in the image above:
You can find out more about the Excalibur Estate on Jim Blackender's blog, here. (Jim tells me he would be 99% confident that the location in the film is the Excalibur Estate.) You can see his wonderful collection of photographs of the Estate here. Below are some samples:
The Garnetts have been moved from Wapping to a town outside of London, represented by Hemel Hempstead (see Reel Streets, here, for a full set of identifications).
Actually the high-rise block where they live is still in London. The John Walsh Tower is one of a pair built in 1966 (see here). The other is called the Fred Wigg Tower:
The pre-credit sequence shows views of the London they have left behind, and performs a neat visual trick to mark the move from old to new. We see a terrace of houses in Wapping, due for demolition:
Then that view is flipped on its side and has superimposed upon it a view of the tower block:
This is probably the best thing in what is a mediocre film, but I also like the credit sequence that immediately follows, in which to the façade of the building are added panels upon which the credits are displayed:
The Alf Garnett Saga picks up the story from the end of Till Death Us Do Part (1969), but if the Wapping they left behind in that film is similar to the Wapping we see three years later, the high-rise building to which they are moved is not the same one:
This is the 1950s-built Alton Estate in Roehampton, S.W.15, seen two years earlier in Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451:
Several of the gasometers of the St Pancras Works still survived when Julien embedded them in his Harlem scenario:
Julien used this location for a performance based on the film:
from Rob La Frenais's Weblog
Here are the gasometers in Derek Jarman's 1989 film for the Pet Shop Boys' 'King's Cross':
The destruction Julien describes has come about. Only one of the gasometers survives, after being dismantled, restored and relocated (see here). Here it is, seen from Pancras Road:
Here are the gasometers in the 1960s:
According to the catalogue description this performance, recorded by Lumière operator Charles Moisson, took place in front of the Solferino restaurant at 7 Rupert Street:
Whichever archivist researched these catalogue entries had a very fine eye, because they noticed this same troupe of minstrels (and I have not the competence to know if they are black musicians or black-face musicians) passing in front of the Empire Theatre in the Lumière film Entrée du cinématographe. You can just about make them out if you watch the film, here:
a different street
in a different film