We are very lucky that our city has such a rich history and that is reflected on the shelves of Glasgow’s book stores – not every city in Britain or indeed Europe will have as many tomes devoted to its sporting achievements, its architecture, its musical heritage, its dialect, its public transport… But until fairly recently there’s not been a huge amount published about Glasgow’s significant place in the world of cinema. World Film Locations: Glasgow helps ensure that this important chapter in Glasgow’s history is recorded in book form and as a bonus its own recommended reading section has pointed me in the direction of some other books on the matter which I look forward to sourcing and reading.
The joy of the book is being reminded how many movies have been made in Glasgow – there are brilliant two-page features on 38 films, each consisting of concise and interesting summaries of the plots and locations, and illustrated with captures from those productions. The films featured span the decades from O Lucky Man! in 1973 to Perfect Sense in 2011 and in addition to these features many more films are referenced, such as 1996’s Small Faces and the recently released Cloud Atlas.
Alongside the individual movie features sits a series of essays, opening nicely with Paul Gallagher’s Glasgow: City of the Imagination and concluding with Nicola Balkind’s Glasgow: Hollywood’s Film Set, which itself concludes with a stirring opinion on the potential of Glasgow’s film-making future. The other essays are Cinema City: Glasgow’s Passion for Cinema by Neil Johnson-Symington; Glaswegian Comedy: A Distinct Sense of Humour by Keir Hind; The Gift of Constraint: Danish-Scottish Collaboration and the Advance Party by Pasquale Iannone; Glasgow’s Kitchen Sink: The Cinema of Ken Loach and Peter Mullan by David Archibald; Dear Green Shoots: Underground Film-Making In Glasgow by Sean Welsh. All essays both educate and entertain.
It was particularly nice to see the former Toledo cinema in Muirend discussed in Neil Johnson-Symington’s essay – as a child of the 1980s this was my local cinema as the Cannon initially and then taking on the ABC and Odeon names before its sad closure. This was where I made my first cinema visit aged five- to see Superman IV: The Quest For Peace!
World Film Locations: Glasgow is available to order on Amazon.