Michael Winner's first film gives no sign of the director to come
This short, currently available as a free treat on BFI Player, was the first film made by 22- year-old Michael Winner. According to the BFI, it was financed by Winner's father but never released. It's competent but gives no sign of the Winner whose work we know. But perhaps no other 22-year-old would have had the chutzpah to engage 87-year-old A.E. Matthews as his star. The sentimental story has Matthews facing eviction because his house is due to be demolished. However, the neighbours rally round. The film was shot entirely on location in London's King's Cross, which had recently been used for "The Ladykillers". As was common at the time for low budget films all the dialogue was post- synchronised. Winner was no writer. A scene in which youngsters dance to skiffle goes on for far too long. But the girl who gets Matthews to dance (yes!) is Geraldine Lynton. When they were both in their old age she and Winner married. The film is what we would now describe as a calling card. Probably it did the trick. Within three years Winner was directing features.
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