Following a foray into the salacious nightclub scene of 1920’s Piccadilly Circus in Piccadilly, for the second week of Reel Ale Film Club, we head down to Waterloo Bridge. Thanks to the magic of flashback, Waterloo Bridge is set during WWI and II, telling the tragic story of a ballerina and an army officer whose relationship is kindled and crushed on the eponymous bridge. If you are susceptible to the tear-jerk, be prepared: this one requires hankies.
The film stars Vivien Leigh, fresh from her most famous role as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind and Robert Taylor “The Man with the Perfect Profile”, who had starred alongside 30’s superstars Greta Garbo and Irene Dunne. Both actors received high praise for their performance on the film’s release, but Leigh’s in particular was lauded. The original trailer for the film quotes the N. Y. World Telegram description of Leigh: “Exciting…dazzling, inexhaustible, vibrant and vital – worthy of the superlatives lavished upon her.” Much of Leigh’s dazzle is in that beautiful, expressive face which director Mervyn Le Roy capitalises upon with long close-ups and gentle lighting. The film was well received by the Academy, earning nominations for Joseph Ruttenberg’s cinematography and Herbert Stothart’s musical score.
Made during Metro Goldwyn Mayer’s golden years, the film evidences the studio’s winning combination of talent in front of and behind the camera that made it the dominant Hollywood studio during the 1930’s and 40’s.
Reel Ale Film Club runs every Wednesday at 8pm in the Railway Tavern Ale House, Dalston/Islington. For more details and full programme see previous article.
London on Film – 25th April – 19th September:
25/4 - Silent London - Piccadilly (E.A. Dupont, 1929)
2/5 - Wartime London: Part 1 - Waterloo Bridge (Mervyn LeRoy, 1940)
9/5 - Wartime London: Part 2 - I Was a Fireman (Humphrey Jennings, 1943) + London Can Take It (Humphrey Jennings, 1940)
16/5 - Larceny in London: Part 1 - The Ladykillers (Alexander McKendrick, 1955)
23/5 - British New Wave - We Are The Lambeth Boys (Karel Reisz, 1959) + Momma Don’t Allow (Karel Reisz and Tony Richardson, 1956)
30/5 – ‘Its’s Wonderful to be Young’ - The Young Ones (Sidney J. Furie, 1961)
6/6 - Queer London: Part 1 - Victim (Basil Dearden, 1961)
13/6 - British Bands: Part 1 - A Hard Day’s Night (Richard Lester, 1965)
20/6 - Art House - Blow Up (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966)
27/6 - Terror on the Tube - Quartermass and The Pit (Roy Ward Baker, 1967)
4/7 - Hitchcock’s London - Frenzy (Alfred Hitchcock, 1972)
11/7 - DINOSAURS in London - One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing (Robert Stevenson, 1975)
18/7 - Gangster’s Paradise: Part 1 - The Long Good Friday (John Mackenzie, 1980)
25/7 - Horror - An American Werewolf in London (John Landis, 1981)
1/8 - Queer London: Part 2 - Prick Up Your Ears (Stephen Frears, 1987)
8/8 - Larceny in London: Part 2 - A Fish Called Wanda (Charles Crichton & John Cleese, 1988)
15/8 - Romantic Comedy - The Tall Guy (Mel Smith & Richard Curtis, 1989)
22/8 - Gangster’s Paradise: Part 2 - The Krays (Peter Medak, 1990)
29/8 - London Soul - Young Soul Rebels (Issac Julien, 1991)
5/9 - British Bands: Part 2 - SpiceWorld (Bob Spiers, 1997)
12/9 - Big Guns in the Big Smoke - Harry Brown (Daniel Barber, 2009)
19/9- Docu-dreams - Dreams of a Life (Carol Morley, 2012)