Friday 18 May 2012

Film of the day:
MELODY (1971)

I wasn't aware of this film until I was working on an interview with American director Wes Anderson. He cites it as one of the major influences on his new film 'Moonrise Kingdom'. Starring Jack Wild and Mark Lester, recapping their cocky urchin and sensitive angel roles from 'Oliver!' (1968), 'Melody' is a London-set puppy-love tale blending gritty urban locations with a lyrical, sun-dappled childhood innocence, written by Alan Parker and directed by Waris Hussein.

The kids are meant to be the stars, but for me it's the locations and the brilliant cast of adult character actors that makes it: Roy Kinnear, Sheila Steafel, Ken Jones, James Cossins, Keith Barron, Kate Williams, and John Gorman (of 'Tiswas' and Scaffold fame).

A winsome sunshine-pop soundtrack by the Bee Gees is an added attraction for some, as is the featured Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song, 'Teach Your Children'.

Apparently it was a big hit in Japan and South America, which explains why the versions you can check out on YouTube are mostly subtitled for those markets.

See it here. for instance.      


  1. It was mainly filmed in Nunhead cemetery which was the sister cemetery of Highgate where Mark was interned. When the filming took place Nunhead cemetery due to financial problems had long been closed and in a very dilapidated state. It was so bad around the time of the filming and after in the early mid seventies that black magic ceremonies and theft of the lead from the coffins in the two under ground crypts had eventually cause a local uproar and Southwark council was forced to intervene and pick up the tab for cleaning up and restoration of some sorts. Nunhead at the time of the film despite becoming the home of the Trotters in 'Fools and Horse' was a very run down primarily white working class area, its now of cause very much Guardian reader territory.

    Back to the black magic: An old work colleague of mine who's large family lived not far from the cemetery said as a kid her and her siblings on some nights could hear the chanting.

    Any on to 'enchanting' as the main song for the film written by the Bee Gees was the 'First of May', A beautiful song that will never fade.

    One last snippet : in 1968 Robin Gibb was involved in the Hither Green rail disaster which happened about three miles away. Small world eh?

  2. Watched it last week on TPTV Jan 2020