Thursday 22 March 2018

Local heroes get their big movie break

Cillian Murphy
Cillian Murphy

Hollywood in Eirinn (TG4) is such a good idea that you wonder why no one thought of it before - take an international movie that was filmed in Ireland and explore how its making affected the local community in which it was shot.

Last week's opener concerned Ken Loach's The Wind that Shakes the Barley and presenter Denis Conway elicited engrossing stories from the people in West Cork who had been involved in the production, whether as musical advisers, bit-part actors, extras or tailors - almost all of them deeming Loach to be a "lovely man".

And one local man employed as an extra heard that "a busload of women came out from Cork" to gawk at Cillian Murphy, though. "Jaysus, I didn't know who he was, to be honest".

In this week's second instalment, the chosen film was Barry Lyndon, with one Waterford woman recalling Stanley Kubrick as a "nice little man" - a description that you won't encounter in most biographies of the famously difficult director.

There were intriguing stories here, too, though it wasn't as engaging as the previous week's half-hour, possibly because the movie was made more than 30 years earlier and people's memories weren't as vivid. Still, I enjoyed George Hook's recollections of being hired as the movie's caterer. "The cash registers in your head started to tinkle," he said, "though as the worst businessman ever to set up in Ireland I didn't make a bob." Thankfully, he's made a few since then.

And it was interesting to be reminded that IRA threats forced Kubrick to hurriedly relocate to England, where he completed the movie that turned out to be one of his flattest.

I'll happily watch the rest of this series, while hoping it gets round to the making of Ryan's Daughter on the Dingle peninsula and that daft piece of 1970s paddywhackery, Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx, starring Gene Wilder as the unlikeliest Irishman you'll ever encounter. Dublin in the rare oul times indeed.

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