Tuesday, June 21, 2022

West 11: Another early Michael Winner film

Last time I praised an early Michael Winner film the post was quoted in a book. So here goes again with one he made when he was only 28..

If it had no other virtues, the street scenes of Notting Hill would make West 11 interesting. When the film was made in 1963, this was an area of poverty and racketeering landlords.

And beneath the opening titles we see Alfred Lynch walking past 25 Powis Square, where Performance was to be filmed a few years later..

For me the glory of West 11 is its cast, which might have been chosen with me in mind. Not the leads, Alfred Lynch and Kathleen Breck, who are a little underpowered, but the supporting players. Eric Portman. Freda Jackson. Even David Hemmings in a bit part.

There are other faces to look for: Diana Dors in her best era, Kathleen Harrison, Patrick Wymark. The Mosleyite agitator at the street meeting is the unlikely figure of Brian Wilde.

The cast could have been even more impressive. According to Flashbak, the film's producer Danny Angel turned down the idea of casting Julie Christie, Sean Connery and Oliver Reed because they were "nothing more than B-picture artists".

West 11 is available cheaply on DVD, and Talking Pictures TV has shown it too. There's plenty in it to enjoy, notably Eric Portman's turn as a seedy confidence trickster who leads Alfred Lynch astray,

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