Saturday, November 08, 2008

South London Film Locations

The London Film Location Guide by Simon R.H. James (London: Batsford, 2007) features hundreds of locations in exhaustive detail – he has obviously spent years tracking down not just particular streets but exact house numbers.

In terms of our core area of New Cross, Deptford and Brockley there’s not much to report, with the films included mostly mentioned on Transpontine before, including Shaun of the Dead, Spider, Once a Jolly Swagman and Intimacy. In relation to the latter though, James has identified no.2 Alpha Road as the house used for a great deal of sex. The only film he mentions that I wasn’t aware of is Five Seconds to Spare (1999), where Ray Winstone has a recording studio in APT arts on Deptford Creekside – and ends up dead in the Creek.

Unsurprizingly there are numerous film locations listed for Greenwich, the area around the South Bank, Bankside and Borough Market (including all those Bridget Jones scenes).

I watched Mona Lisa (1986) recently so knew some of it was filmed in East Dulwich , but the author has done the legwork and notes that Bob Hoskins buys flowers at 286 Crystal Palace Road (on the corner of Goodrich Road) and then tries to visit his daughter at 16 Darrell Road. I wasn’t aware that in Last Orders (2001), the exterior of the pub is The Wishing Well Inn in Bellenden Road (the interior is the Larkhall Tavern in Clapham – now converted to flats), while Michael Caine’s butcher shop is 194 Bellenden Road – now Lucius and Richards.

I must rewatch the Children of the Damned (1964) now that I know it features the Bermondsey Street tunnel. And I was delighted to discover that in the original Italian Job (1966), Michael Caine delivers the famous line 'You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off' in Crystal Palace park (you can see the TV transmitter behind him).

But things are never as they seem in the movies. A car chase in ‘Lewisham’ in I Believe in You (1952) was actually filmed in Latchmere Road in Battersea, while in Janice Beard 45 wpm (1998) a ‘Rotherhithe’ scene is actually Pensbury Place in Vauxhall.

Equally South London locations can double up for other places. The back streets of ‘Soho’ in an An American Werewolf in London (1981) are actually around Clink Street, SE1 (the scene where Jenny Agutter pushes through the police cordon is on the corner of Clink Street and Stoney Street). Passport to Pimlico was not filmed in Pimlico, but in a street built for the purpose on a bombsite in north Lambeth –where Copeland House and Ferrybridge House estates now stand. Most far fetched, at least in terms of geographical distance, Reese Witherspoon’s ‘Harvard’ speech in Legally Blonde was actually filmed in the Great Hall of Dulwich College! Oh and the door to The Leaky Cauldron in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is under the railway bridge at 7 Stoney Street, SE1.

Then there are the continuity distortions, where areas several miles apart are made to look adjacent. The book gives many examples, including The Sandwich Man (1966) with Michael Bentine, where Dulwich Park SE21 is apparently sandwiched between SW1 and Green Park, W1.

No book of this kind can ever be really comprehensive. In terms of New Cross and Deptford for instance, he hasn’t picked up on some locations featured previously at Transpontine, such as Interview with a Vampire and the Quatermass Xperiment. He documents the Thamesmead locations for A Clockwork Orange and the concrete subway at Wandsworth gyratory, SW18, where a tramp gets beaten up in the same film. But he doesn’t include Nettlefold Hall in West Norwood, also used in the film.

Still there’s more than enough here to fuel a thousand conversations in the pub or round the water cooler.


Anonymous said...

They are always filming on the road behind the Horniman Museum junction of Westwood Park Road and Tewkesbury Ave...anyone know what

Anonymous said...

also filming in big house Eliot Vale Blackheath ???? circa 1998

Monkeyboy said...

I remember stumbling across 'The Bill' having a drink in the Cutty Sark they were filming in what remained of the shabby cargo related businesses around there I think. Not exactly Hollywood I know.

Transpontine said...

I tend to assume, whenever I see filming going on, that it's the Bill or similar TV crime caper. I did stumble across filming for Life in Mars in Bermondsey last year.

Monkeyboy said...

Was any of 'The Long Good Friday' filmed around here? I suspect not but I hope yes. One of my favourite films - if only to see Charlie the annoying male nurse off Casualty, be stabbed to death by Bob Hoskins using a broken whiskey bottle.

Anonymous said...

St Paul's Church, Deptford - Interview with the vampire.

Loads of Mike Leigh's 'All or Nothing' was filmed around Greenwich. The old Haddo estate, just across the creek featuring heavily before it was knocked down.

Transpontine said...

I have heard about Interview with the Vampire being partly filmed in Deptford, but never worked out which bit of the film it was or whereabouts exactly (was it the crypt in St Pauls?). Anybody know?

Anonymous said...

I think it was external shots of the church, big gothic columns and the like. Not sure if Cruise, Pitt, Dunst, Slater et al were present.

Anonymous said...

get him to the greek has made an appearnce (or, thats what it said on the van parked near all the gear!)

Anonymous said...

St.Pauls is in the UB40 video Many Rivers To Cross