One of the delights of Lynn I have rediscovered recently is the Majestic cinema. Not only is it centrally located, but it is also great value, and so it was that I recently went along to see Quentin Tarantino’s new film, Django Unchained.
Even when lost in a world of escapism, a small portion of my brain is still rooted in the real world, so imagine my surprise when I noticed that in a scene set in a saloon in pre-civil war Texas our heroes were helping themselves to beer from hand pumps on the bar.
I have no idea if this is an authentic reconstruction – I suppose it is possible that hand pumps proliferated throughout the Confederate states and, like much of America’s brewing heritage, became victim to prohibition.
It is far from the first scene to feature on either the big screen or TV. Some of the more famous pubs are sets constructed especially for the show, the Rovers Return in Coronation Street and the Queen Vic in EastEnders being notable examples.
Many, however, use real locations, but care must be taken in sorting fact from fiction. As a child, the bar wife lived in the house in Swaffham used in the TV series Kingdom.
Unlike Stephen Fry, she could not see the sea when she looked out of the window. In the same way, a pub may be shown in a film from the outside, but the interior may be a studio set.
An example is the City Barge in Chiswick, the exterior of which features in the Beatles film Help, while the interior was a mock-up filmed at Twickenham Studios. One that was a real pub was the White Horse in Nottingham, scene of the drinking contest in the British new wave film, Saturday Night, Sunday Morning.
There are a large number of websites dedicated to film and TV locations, so I can reveal that The Angel Inn near Oldham was used in Life On Mars, the Wellington Inn in West Gorton in Manchester, which featured as The Jockey in Shameless closed in 2010 and the Vick and Comet in Newcastle from the film Get Carter is now an Irish theme bar called O’Neills.
Film location tourism pulls in the crowds for many years after the original production.
Parts of north Yorkshire are still Herriot Country, while apparently Holmfirth is known as Little Hollywood on account of it being the location for Last of the Summer Wine.
It is surprising that Lynn is not billed as the home of Revolution. I am told that many fans like to act out their favourite scenes. A visit to the café used in the film When Harry Met Sally could be an interesting experience if a coachload of fans were visiting at the time.
For pubs, you might just about get away with a re-creation of Albert Finney’s drinking contest if you could find a pub selling enough pints of mild, but there is not a lot I would like to imitate from Django.
Indeed, I don’t ever recall a scene set in a saloon in the old west that turned out well. I am surprised that they don’t have bouncers on the door, or at least display stickers advertising their membership of the Saloon Watch scheme.
Murder one surly varmit in cold blood and find yourself banned from all the saloons in Texas. That would teach you.