Withnail and I
Director: Bruce Robinson
Cast: Richard E Grant , Paul McGann, Richard Griffiths
Richard E Grant stars in the lead role in Bruce Robinson’s 1986 film based on his life in London during the 1960s. Withnail and I was the first film role for Richard E Grant and launched what was to become a very successful career for the British actor.
The film was a huge cult success and has even been described as ‘One of Britain’s biggest cult films’. The success was due to the brilliant mix of tragedy and comedy achieved by director Bruce Robinson. The soundtrack is crammed full of period music including versions of ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’ (originally Procul Harum), and the Jimi Hendrix classics ‘All Along the Watchtower’ and ‘Voodoo Child’. Most of the music in the film is provided by David Dundas and Rick Wentworth. Lord David Dundas had a one hit wonder with ‘Jeans On’ in the mid 70s, a song that had originally been made as an advertisement jingle for Brutus Jeans.
The film centres on the lives of young men in London in the 1960s , for many a golden era of London’s fashion history. It was a time when British popular culture was even sweeping the United States and overtaking the American Rock and Roll based culture of the 1950s, a time when Brit Pop was first invented.
Although most of the film involves London, there is a part of the film which is shot in the beautiful rural county of Cumbria. Crow Cragg is filmed at Sleddale Hall near Penrith in Cumbria. Back to the nation’s capital, we are treated to some fashionable haunts in London such as Camden Town which is featured in the film. Camden has been a popular location for a few decades now, with the picturesque Camden Locks and the ever popular Camden Market. However, the bulk of the Camden scenes in the film were actually shot at another London location, Notting Hill , itself the subject of a very popular British film. The ‘Mother Black Cap’ in Camden is actually Crescent House in Notting Hill. This is a very popular area for ‘sixties’ movies with a number of others being filmed nearby, the Beatles used it for the filming of ‘A Hard Day’s Night’. The wolf enclosure seen in the film is at Regent’s Park Zoo in London, although the wolf enclosure is no longer at the zoo. Uncle Monty’s house is to be found at Glebe Place in the fashionable London district of Chelsea .
A Picture of Britain