A season of films about London reveals how fog, rain and gloom of all kinds add to the mystique of the capital
I've been told that London's reputation for fog is not only due to the fact that it used to be foggy. It was also because cash-strapped postwar film-makers found it convenient to shroud their scenes in mist because they wouldn't have to build so much of the set – just one or two house fronts instead of a street. If this story is an urban myth, no matter, as it tells a truth about London on film. The city's greatest gift to the movie camera is its atmospherics, its fog, rain and darkness.
In ordinary daylight it is obstinately factual. If cinema likes to make cities into dream versions of themselves, London doesn't join in. The brick terraces, the railings, pavements, bollards and postboxes remain themselves. They