You, dear reader, ‘like film’. Your family are aware of this. You also have some sort of tenuous connection to the Lake District and/or Cumbria: you live, work or study there; you have passed through on the M6 over Shap on the way to somewhere else.
If you have even the remotest passing interest in the locations used in your favourite movies, it would be foolish to dismiss this book. It is astoundingly thorough. Some of the entries develop into short essays, such is the depth of detail contained within them – not merely about the locations used for filming, but about a film’s bigger place in the context of entertainment or even social history. All the well-known and expected favourites are here: Withnail and I, Miss Potter, Brief Encounter. So far, so mostly not genre. But this book covers a lot of ground; from Alien Blood, to the aforementioned Withnail via 28 Days Later and a quintet of Ken Russell films. Even included is a mention of Star Wars: The Force Awakens: apparently X-Wings fly very low over Thirlmere in one of the action sequences.
Included are Ordnance Survey Grid references, cited at the end of each film’s article, should you wish to visit the sites for yourself, and plainly the idea of this book is to encourage the reader to get to the area. There are hand-drawn maps, drawing your attention to the locations used to film several of the author’s particular favourite films.
After the A-Z section come entries on ‘Selected Cumbrian Cinemas’. This mentions most of the independent cinemas still operating in the area. All of them are gorgeous, small, intimate spaces, somehow still surviving against the onslaught of the chains. Finally, there is a run-down of Film Festivals running throughout the area. The content concludes with a list of Websites for more information. It is these last two sections that are going to be most subject to the ravages of time, and indeed the whole book has been written with something of a ‘right here, right now’ feel – mention is made of Star Wars Celebration happening in July 2016 – an event which has now come and gone.
Overall however, the main content of this book is so well researched that there is sure to be something here you will find interesting – the problem being that unless your tastes are very eclectic, there will be much you skim past. This then, is your 2016 Christmas present from your well-meaning Aunt Elsie. Merry Christmas.
AN A-Z OF CUMBRIA AND THE LAKE DISTRICT ON FILM / AUTHOR: DAVID BANNING / PUBLISHER: HAYLOFT PUBLISHING / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW