There have been Tottenham links or mentions to a number of motion pictures over the years, many of which were mentioned in the old Talking Tottenham. Now with the long summer looming ahead here for the first time I’ve gathered them together for your perusal and added a few more.
We have to start with the best footie based films ever made. So pleased it was based around Tottenham. The wonderful “Those Glory Glory Days”.
A TV film from the 1980’s and set in the Double season more than twenty years earlier. It follows four schoolgirls and their love of Tottenham. Some of the scenes were filmed in and around White Hart Lane with the full blessing of the club. It will give you a good idea of what the ground was like a few years back and it really captures the feel of the times. There’s even a cameo appearance from the great Danny Blanchflower. Moving between funny and moving, one scene has the girls hiding in the school toilets listening to the FA Cup draw on a radio. Something we all did at the time. One of the best footie films around it was written by Julie Welch, Spurs fan author of several books about the club. The producer (and Spurs Fan) was David Putnam (Chariots of Fire).
My favourite scene is the four girls sitting on the pitch wearing cockerel headgear and they chant “We kiss this ground, for the love of Spurs. Till death. Break this code and disaster will strike! Arsenal will win the league.
Left - Julia (Zoe Nathenson) with her cut out Danny Blanchflower
“84 Charing Cross Road.” Recalls the true events around an American writer, Helene Hanff and her correspondence with a book shop in London. Over the years the letters contain more and more personal details. At one point she asked her London contact Frank P. Doel if he will root for the New York Dodgers baseball team. Frank agrees as long as she in turn will think of Tottenham Hotspur (who are not doing too well this season). This dialogue takes place over some footage of the Dodgers and then the Spurs crowd and the East Stand. The shop isn’t there anymore if you’re looking.
“Escape to Victory.” Will be well known to Spurs fans as it was shot in the summer break and one of the players is our own Ossie Ardiles. Set in World War 2, Ossie plays one of a number of footballers from Eastern Europe imprisoned by the Germans. The plot, involves Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone (an American goalkeeper) who as prisoners of war are forced to play a German side.
Of course this doesn’t go to plan and the title should give you a clue to how it turns out. Other players include - Pele and Bobby Moore.
The film is loosely based on a true story that occurred in Kiev when the Nazi's played a local team and lost. Sadly the real events did not end as well as a number of the local population involved died before they could be liberated. Some of them for various crimes committed against the occupying forces.
Another film to watch out for on TV is Disney’s 1971 film “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” as it actually has two Tottenham connections. The first comes when Disney veteran David Tomlinson is involved with the animals about to play a football match (yes it’s a cartoon / live mix) and he delivers the line “ I will be referee I use to play for Tottenham Hotspur you know“. The second connection is the part of Swinburne. The character who is played by Bruce Forsyth. Who was born in Tottenham and in his autobiography he talks about going to watch Spurs play with his dad.
Tottenham have certainly featured in film newsreels over the years and before TV this was often one of the main ways of fans keeping up with the action. In the early 60’s they were the subject of , ‘Look at Life’, a 20 minute documentary series shown before the main film.
Next film up is “KES.” The 1969 film by Director Ken Loach is the story of a young boy growing up. At one point his games teacher, played by the wonderful Brian Glover who gives a terrifyingly accurate portrayal of a teacher of that period, starts a football match with the line “Right we will be Manchester United you lot can be Tottenham Hotspur”. The on-screen game ends in a win for Spurs, something that would never be allowed by the teacher in real life and this has over the years fed the rumour that Loach is actually a Spurs fan. Sad to say I checked with his office he is a shareholder with Bath FC and when he lived in London he use to watch Fulham ! So clearly he doesn’t like large crowds.
Next we have the real life story of the actress and the Chairman. In October 1959 a woman sat in the Directors Box for the first time (in fact the first woman to sit in any Directors Box in England), and it was Hollywood star Jayne Mansfield.
Spurs beat Wolves 5-1 and after the game the players were invited up to the Directors lounge and were surprised to find Jayne sitting on Fred Bearman’s lap, he was our Chairman at the time. It’s alright her husband the then Mr. Universe was present. Jayne sat on the edge of the Directors box at half time much to the pleasure of the fans in the West Side Paddock below.
Coming to a theatre near you soon - a film (I believe) that is still in production is “Tull.” Based on Walter Tull's life (http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/hotspur-towers-walter-tull)
It sounds like it takes place during his time in the war and there are flashbacks across his life including his time at Tottenham. The cast includes David Morrissey, Tom Chapman, Noel Clarke and Vinnie Jones.
Short film! - I can’t let the chance pass without reminding our new readers in case they missed it that Marina Siritis did an exclusive q/a just for us here at India Spurs.
The names Greaves, Jimmy Greaves, back in 1966 the England team visited Pinewood Studios in the build up to the World Cup. Where they met Yul Brynner, Sean Connelly who was filming a James Bond epic and comic Norman Wisdom (1) here seen getting heading coaching.
Another story with not such a happy ending was when Dave Mackay was portrayed in the film ‘Dammed United.’ The film about Brian Clough. Dave's character was so inaccurately portrayed (he wasn’t even at the club at the time, let alone acted as he was shown), he took the film company to court and won.
Here is one that sounds like a future Tottenham Mysteries; there is a story that our forward Les Bennett had a small cameo role in one of the most famous films of the time (1935), when he would have been 17 years old), Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The 39 Steps.’ He is not included in the credits but they were much shorter in those days. The film was filmed partly in North London where Les lived and also the films Art Director's surname was Bennett, so who knows?
And now back to the main feature- The film, “In Bruges” has one of the characters looking at a painting in an art gallery, when he comes out with the wonderful line “It’s not really bad and it’s not really good, (pause) it’s a bit like watching Tottenham really.”
I will leave you where we started with Danny Blanchflower. If you saw “The Sting” with Paul Newman and Robert Redford where Robert Shaw plays the heavy, Shaw (right) said he based his Irish accent on listening to Danny Blanchflower.
While Danny referenced a film to his own life once when he wrote that when he moved from Barnsley to Villa he did not realize that it ’was another step along the Yellow Brick Road towards glory,' the old romantic fool. Mind you The Wizard Oz does have more of a ring to it than The Wizard of N17 I suppose.
If you know of any more film links to Spurs let me know I’ll start work on the sequel. The plan is that the companion piece Tottenham on the Telly will be with in the foreseeable future but in the mean time don’t forget to visit our two Celebrity fan boxes for more ‘movie people.’
Link – http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/talking-tottenham-first-celebrity-fan-box
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume)
My archive and Bio can be found at - View Full Bio
Notes -1 - There is another image of Jimmy at Pinewood in Jimmy Greaves – The Gallery.
Link - http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/the-gallery-jimmy-greaves
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