Sunday, November 27, 2016

Nine, Dalmuir West (1962)

Two years ago I fell in love with The Elephant Will Never Forget - John Krish's ridiculously moving account of the last day of London's trams in 1952.

Nine, Dalmuir West, made by Kevin Brownlow, shows the last day of Glasgow's trams 10 years later. (Click on the still above to view it on the British Film Institute website.)

Brownlow was obviously inspired by Krish: in fact he gets a mention in the opening titles.

The BFI site says:
Kevin Brownlow's portrait of the last days of Glasgow's tram system centres on the last tram to run in 1962, accentuating the mood of the final journey by contrasting shots of the event to the funky sounds of Joe Meek and The Tornados' Telstar, a symbol of the modern world to which the tram no longer belongs. 
As with his feature Winstanley, Brownlow tempers the elegiac qualities of the film with brutal reality. There is no nostalgia in this portrait. Regret at the passing of this form of transport is balanced by the description of the city it served: a harsh, poverty-stricken environment in which a tram was one of the more available pleasures.
Glasgow was the last British city to lose its trams - the Blackpool system continued as a tourist attraction. Trolleybuses lasted in Bradford until as late as 1972.

The following year saw massive increases in the price of oil. If these systems had survived only a few more years, they might never have closed.

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