Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Cinema gris

The North has its own version of Cinema Noir, best summed up by Beryl Bainbridge's remark, when filming a documentary on Tyneside, that only a TV crew would choose to go to the beach at Whitley Bay in December. Rain, mist, all continues up to the present day, vide the recent exciting but grimissimo TV adaption of the Red Riding trilogy by David Peace. I have a bash at all this in True North and I have been helped by many books which explore the wider and much benign overall tradition of films about, and made in the three regions.Talking Pictures, The Popular Experience of the Cinema, edited by Colin Harding and Brian Lewis (Yorkshire Art Circus 1993) was one of the first, excellent publications to come out of the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television (now the National Media Museum) in Bradford - a brilliant location for such a place, with many of the locations used in the film of Keith Waterhouse's wonderfully celebratory Billy Liar nearby. Sorry about the blue line on the cover; that's my incompetence with Adobe Photoshop.

An even better look back is contained in the 324 pages of Movie-Makers and Picture Palaces by G.J.Mellor (Bradford Libraries 1996). A treasure trove.

Finally Dorothy Newlyn's Theatre Connections (Newlyn 1995) is an autobiography by a woman who was instrumental with her husband Walter in getting us the fine West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds. Apart from telling the story of that campaign, she is also enjoyable and interesting on the theatre and cinema of her Yorkshire youth.

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