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The romance of grime- the vanishing world of cinematic Manchester.

11 Sep

Tom Courtenay and Julie Christie in John Schlesinger’s “Billy Liar” (1963)

The modern world puts great emphasis on the rejuvenation of formerly run down areas of our cities. Money and modernity is applied to the problem and old buildings and streets are often cleared out of the way to make room for the new vision. Having been raised in the North West of England I’m aware of the changes that have happened even in my lifetime, going back over thirty years. However, Britain’s celluloid past gives us a glimpse into a romantic world where the streets may have been grimier and the architecture more austere, but combined with the black and white photography of the time, gave us a romantic vision of Lancashire and Manchester. The cobbled streets, spiked iron railings, worn steps and grand athenaeums sometimes still survive; dinosaurs from a lost world. In the timeless world of film, however, this world still remains untouched. As our cityscapes become ever more generic, it’s almost refreshing to watch films from our post-war film boom. Continue reading