Tag Archives: Alec Guinness

Caledonian Road on the Big Screen

11 Sep

Last Sunday, making the most of the glorious sunshine, we joined The Cally Festival festivities, by organising our first Cally Movie Tour.

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Departing from the West Library on Bridgeman Road, our Tour set to discover The Cally and its surroundings through some of the movies and TV series filmed there. A group of Islington residents and Londoners coming from slightly further afield walked from Thornhill Crescent to The Caledonian Market and its Clock Tower.

Icing on the cake, thanks to Islington’s Ecology Centre, the group was able to enter Barnsbury Wood. For most it was a first. Others recalled visiting friends living around the Wood and jumping the wall to play in it!

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Ready for Action in Barsnbury Wood!

Following the steps of David Suchet, Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers, Colin Farrell or ‘Joe of the Caledonian market’, and thanks to stills and clips of movies shot between 1933 and 2010, we saw Caledonian Road taking centre stage.

While on Frederica Street, talking about classic British dark comedy  The Ladykillers (1955) a local stopped by. Not only he did confirm we were in the right spot (phew!) but that his mum had managed to get an autograph from Alec Guinness!

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The Cally Market and its Clock Tower

Once the Closing Credits were over, we all made our way back to The Cally to enjoy the rest of the sunny afternoon.

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No plans yet but keep an eye on Lights, Camera…Islington! for future tours!

How to get there?

Buses to Caledonian Road

Caledonian Road Tube Station (Zone 2)

Caledonian Road and Barnsbury Overground (Zone 2)

Enjoyed the Cally Movie Tour? Feel free to comment and share it with your friends ! Don’t forget to send me your pictures.

And if you do know any Islington location used for Film, TV, photo shoot or have been involved in the process, drop me a line at LightsCameraIslington(at)gmail.com or via Twitter

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Copenhagen Tunnel: The Ladykillers Part 2

20 Mar

In Frederica Street: Sweet Old Lady in 60,000 bank robbery! I explained how Ealing Studios’ classic The Ladykillers (1955) was dear to me: One of the first movie I saw after landing in the UK, one that reminded me of a bygone era and that I was over the moon when I realised it had been partly filmed in Islington’s Frederica Street.

Sadly, we also saw how this excitement was short lived when I walked to Frederica Street and realised that shortly after the filming the area had undergone a major redevelopment to give way to the Nailour Estate: Nothing remained from 1954.

Nothing? Hummm, maybe not. Despite all the changes around Frederica Street, if you look carefully, you will find that 60 years on something is still here: The Copenhagen Tunnel. The bridge and the mouths of the tunnel that stood right at the back of Mrs Wilberforce’s house, so crucial in the final stages of the film, can still be seen today.

The LadyKillers - Federica Street - House and Bridge - FILM

The LadyKillers - Bridge - FILM 01

Alec Guinness (Professor Marcus) and Herbert Lom (Louis)

The LadyKillers - Bridge - FILM 02

The LadyKillers - Bridge - MRX

Yes I confess, it is particularly difficult to reach since Frederic Street is no more but…where there is a will, there is a mean. The long option will take you via York Way and then Yale Road through the industrial estate.

A shorter and maybe more comfortable route might be to simply catch the Overground from the Caledonian Road & Barnsbury Station towards Camden Road. Within seconds of departing, looking north, you’ll see it.

The mouths of Copenhagen Tunnel from the Overground

The mouths of Copenhagen Tunnel
from the Overground

A final option might be to know someone living in the Bunning Way flats (off the former Frederica St) and who may let you have a sneak peek from their window or car park… you know my email.

CALL OUT: In an interview available online Tom Pevsner, Assistant Director on The Ladykillers, recalls that in Frederica Street, the crew “used rooms in various houses as dressing rooms, rest rooms for the artists, make-up, hair and all that fitted in and we were there for quite a long time.” (…)  I should think probably 3 or 4 weeks and the people got quite used to us and enjoyed it (…) I think all the people in Frederica Street or a lot of them knew each other (…).

Pictures found online show a tea party organised by the producers and attended by the cast for the schoolchildren of Frederica Street as a thank you for their co-operation during the many weeks of location shooting.

Frederica Street - The Ladykillers - Tea Party

Do you know anyone who lived in Frederica Street or the area back then? Anyone who may have opened their doors to the crew? Attended the tea party? We would LOVE to hear from them!

Fade Out

Enjoyed this post? Feel free to comment, share it with your friends and come to Islington to discover our locations! Don’t forget to send me your pictures.

And if you do know any Islington location used for Film, TV, photo shoot or have been involved in the process, drop me a line at TheUnbelievableMrX(at)gmail.com or via Twitter

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Vale Royal, N7

Caledonian Road Tube Station (Zone 2)

Caledonian Road & Barnsbury Overground (Zone 2)

Many buses to Caledonian Road and York Way

Frederica Street: Sweet Old Lady in £60,000 bank robbery!

5 Dec

 More than ten years ago, a few months after landing on the shores of Dorset, the landlady I was renting a room from, recommended me to join her family for the evening. By then, I had spent quite a few hours with them talking movies and cinema. She knew I was keen on the subject. That evening, she said, I had to watch that movie, a “British classic” starring Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers amongst others. Indeed she was right.

Watching The Ladykillers (1955) I could see how this Ealing Studios black comedy had grown to be cherished and become a national treasure, and is still regarded today as one of the best British film of all time. In many ways, it reminded me of some movies I had grown up with, and my parents before me. Post war films that year after year TV channels keep scheduling and that, invariably, get top viewing figures. Everyone in the family has their favourite characters, their preferred scene, and know the dialogues inside out. A certain melancholy, nostalgia for a bygone era hangs around such films.

I doubt there is any point in summarising the story nor should I want to spoil it should you not – really? – have seen it. Make sure you do, you won’t regret it. I am as honest as Mrs Wilberforce here…

With all this in mind, I was surprised and excited to found out that Mrs Wilberforce’s house was in Frederica Street, Islington. Although the views from her house are actually Argyle Street with St Pancras in the background, her house had been built specially for the movie on an empty plot at the end of Frederica Street with the railway line leading to King’s Cross just behind it.

The LadyKillers - Federica Street - House and Bridge - FILM

Sadly, but understandably considering the year the movie was made, Frederica Street as it was then is no more. In the following years the area underwent a major redevelopment to give way to the Nailour Estate and only a very short part of it remains.

The LadyKillers - Federica Street - MRX 02

Nearly 60 years have passed and I wonder how many locals know about this. Maybe someone out there remembers…

CALL OUT: In an interview available online Tom Pevsner, Assistant Director on The Ladykillers, recalls that in Frederica Street, the crew “used rooms in various houses as dressing rooms, rest rooms for the artists, make-up, hair and all that fitted in and we were there for quite a long time.” (…)  I should think probably 3 or 4 weeks and the people got quite used to us and enjoyed it (…) I think all the people in Frederica Street or a lot of them knew each other (…).

Pictures found online show a tea party organised by the producers and attended by the cast for the schoolchildren of Frederica Street as a thank you for their co-operation during the many weeks of location shooting.

Frederica Street - The Ladykillers - Tea Party

Do you know anyone who lived in Frederica Street or the area back then? Anyone who may have opened their doors to the crew? Attended the tea party? We would LOVE to hear from them!

Fade Out

Enjoyed this post? Feel free to comment, share it with your friends and come to Islington to discover our locations! Don’t forget to send me your pictures.

And if you do know any Islington location used for Film, TV, photo shoot or have been involved in the process, drop me a line at TheUnbelievableMrX(at)gmail.com or via Twitter

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Frederica Street N7

Caledonian Road Tube Station (Zone 2)

Caledonian Road & Barnsbury Overground (Zone 2)

Many buses to Caledonian Road

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