Posts Tagged ‘film locations’

London — By Andrea Kirkby on November 24, 2009 at 4:55 am
Filed under: featuredarticle, film locations, movies

London in film

From 10, Rillington Place to Sherlock Holmes – James Bond to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels – London is a massive movie star.

Thamesmead looking brutal and modern and .... not bad, actually

Thamesmead looking brutal and modern and .... not bad, actually

It’s easy to recognise such shots as Westminster Bridge (28 Days Later) or that terrific helicopter shot of London Bridge and the Thames at the beginning of Hitchcock’s Frenzy.

And for me, Borough Market (in Lock, Stock) and the College of Arms (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) are old friends I’m glad to see taking a cameo role.

But some of the city’s most effective locations are much less celebrated. For instance one I’ve never seen – and I’m unlikely to, for obvious reasons – is the gents’ toilet in Bermondsey that appears in Prick Up Your Eyes, the Joe Orton bio-pic.

As an article in The Independent points out, London’s 1960s and 1970s architecture – far from the picturesque world of Sherlock Holmes or Bond – seems to crop up relentlessly often as a shorthand for urban decay and brutality. Thamesmead estate is the star of A Clockwork Orange; it’s also the scene for Beautiful Thing (1995).

Most recently, Heygate Estate in Southwark has provided the setting for Michael Caine’s new movie, Harry Brown. More 1970s architecture – great for film with its walkways, stairs and bridges all providing space for great cinematographic effects. I found this one through a great site, Film London. Not so much a movie buff site as a useful business place to go if you want to find a London location – but the Location of the Month is always worth reading.

As the Film London site points out, though, 1970s estates are in increasingly short supply – they’re being ‘regenerated’ at a rate of knots, and that means in many cases the atmospheric but unpopular towers and walkways have meetings scheduled with a limited quantity of gelignite.

Photo by Ewan Munro on flickr


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