Saturday, March 2, 2013

Handcuff him Chief Inspector!

14.    Hitchock was reported to say, “What interests me in the drama of being handcuffed” as one of the major themes of the film.
    15.    There is no Mr Memory in the novel, but he is based on a real-life character.
    16.    Hitchhcock’s birthday was the 13 August
    17.    Hitchcock was a mean practical joker.  He handcuffed Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll together for their very first scene and then “lost” the key for over an hour.
    18.    During World War One, Buchan worked for the British War Propaganda Bureau and as a war correspondent for The Times, before joining the Intelligence Corps in France. It was during the first few months of the war that, whilst confined to a bed and recovering from illness, Buchan wrote his most famous novel, "The Thirty-Nine Steps", which was subsequently published in 1915.
    19.    In the spring of 1915, Buchan became one of five journalists attached to the British Army, responsible for writing articles for both The Times and the Daily News.
    20.    Buchan won the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.
    21.    Patrick Barlow appeared in the Rolo television commercial where a honeymooning couple are travelling on a train with a love heart drawn on the carriage window in the condensation. There is one last Rolo left in the wrapper and they are both smiling at each other all lovey-dovey. They go through a tunnel, he looks at the sweet, not there! He looks at his wife who is chewing the last sweet innocently; he angrily wipes the love heart from the window. He didn't love her enough to save her his last Rolo!
    22.    Patrick Barlow was Bridget Jones’s mother’s love interest in the film Bridget Jones’s Diary.
    23.    Barlow also starred in Notting Hill, and Shakespeare in Love as Will Kemp.
    24.    Another leading role of Barlow was as Toad in The Wind in The Willows at the National Theatre.
    25.    There are 686,000 entries with Patrick Barlow in them on Google.
    26.    There are 1,480,000 for Alfred Hitchcock.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

39 Facts: Step by Step

39 Facts & Figures about The 39 Steps

    1.    The 39 Steps was Peggy Ashcroft’s second film
    2.    Robert Donat was affectionately known as the Monte Cristo man
    3.    One of the film's major motifs is the confining, sexually-frustrating institution of marriage.
    4.    North by Northwest (1959) is widely considered Hitchcock’s "American Thirty-Nine Steps."
    5.    John Buchan’s official title was First Baron Tweedsmuir of Elsfield, Oxfordshire
    6.    Hitchcock’s film was remade twice both in the UK: The Thirty-Nine Steps (1959), d. Ralph Thomas and The Thirty-Nine Steps (1978), d. Don Sharp
    7.    The 1978 version starred Robert Powell as Hannay.
    8.    The 39 Steps is only one of Buchan’s several works that feature the character Richard Hannay.
    9.    Madeleine Carroll from the Hitchcock film was the first in a notorious line of Hitchcock's female stars that later included Grace Kelly and Tippi Hedren.
    10.    At the old Wembley Stadium, 39 steps needed to be climbed to reach the Royal Box and collect a winner’s trophy
    11.    The 1959 version of The 39 Steps has by far the most location filming of any of the three versions of the movie. Filming took place over a large portion of central Scotland albeit mostly in the Trossachs area.
    12.    The 39 Steps was Hitchcock’s first film with a classic theme that he modelled repeatedly for the remainder of his career.
    13.    Trains are a major theme in Hitchcock’s films: The Lady Vanishes, Strangers on a Train, Sabotage, North By Northwest and The 39 Steps.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Adapted by...

"One of the thrilling things about writing this (The 39 Steps) was the challenge of putting an entire movie on stage—complete with train chases, plane crashes, shadowy murders, beautiful spies, trillbied heavies, dastardly villains with little fingers missing, not to mention some of the most iconic moments in the history of cinema. There is much opportunity for comedy and satire here. But it's also a love story. A man and a woman who have never loved anyone, yet miraculously—through all the daredevil feats and derring- do—discover the beating of their own true hearts. That there's a reason to live and a reason to love. And above all a reason to look after each other and look after the world.
...Remember the story too. It's there behind the mayhem.

Barlow is the scriptwriter, as well as lead performer, in many National Theatre of Brent productions, in particular All the World's a Globe (1987), Desmond Olivier Dingle's Compleat Life and Works of William Shakespeare (1995) and The Arts and How They Was Done (2007). In non-Theatre of Brent performances, he wrote and played in the 4-part situation comedy for radio called The Patrick and Maureen Maybe Music Experience which ran for four weeks from January 1999.
He played the part of Om in the radio adaptation of Terry Pratchett's Small Gods (2006), which was adapted by Robin Brooks.


Barlow played Bob whose character was besotted with his co-star Imelda Staunton, having already overcome unrequited love for another character, called Sarah (initially mistaken as Jacinta) who delivered the sandwiches in Is it Legal? (1996–1998), and played the part of the vicar in Jam & Jerusalem. He has also written and directed his National Theatre of Brent material for television, and played the part of Max in series 2 and the 2004 special of Absolutely Fabulous.


Patrick Barlow wrote a stage adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps which premiered in June 2005 at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.[1] After revision, the play opened at London's Tricycle Theatre in August 2006,[2] and after a successful run transferred to the Criterion Theatre in Piccadilly in September 2006.[3] The play has also been performed on Broadway since early 2008, in Australia by the Melbourne Theatre Company in April 2008.[4] and in Wellington, New Zealand, by Circa Theatre in July/August 2009 and in Bancroft, Ontario by Blackfly Theatre in July 2011.

Selected filmography

Barlow wrote the script for The Young Visiters (sic) and had a cameo as the priest. His one-time Theatre of Brent partner Jim Broadbent co-starred with Hugh Laurie.
Most of his film work has been in small, cameo roles, for example:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It's my best Harris Tweed!

 For well over a century Harris Tweed has been woven with skill and care by CROFTERS in their own homes just as it is today. From the gentry of early 20th century high living to the catwalks and couturiers of today, Harris Tweed has long been the choice of the discerning.

The regions of  Lewis and Harris had long been known for the excellence of the weaving done there, but up to the middle of the nineteenth century, the cloth was produced mainly for home use or for local market.

Originally this handmade fabric was woven by crofters for familial use, ideal for protection against the colder climate of the North of Scotland. Surplus cloth was often traded or used as barter, eventually becoming a form of currency amongst the islanders. For example, it was not unusual for rents to be paid in blankets or lengths of cloth.

By the end of the 18th Century, the spinning of wool yarn from local raw materials was a staple industry for crofters. Finished handmade cloth was exported to the Scottish mainland and traded along with other commodities produced by the Islanders, such as dry hides, goat and deer skins.

The original name of the cloth was tweel, Scots for twill, it being woven in a twilled rather than a plain pattern. A traditional story has the name coming about almost by chance. Around 1830, a London merchant received a letter from a Hawick firm about some tweels. The London merchant misinterpreted the handwriting, understanding it to be a trade-name taken from the river Tweed that flows through the Scottish Borders. Subsequently the goods were advertised as Tweed, and the name has remained ever since.[3]

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Cor, Blimey!

Professor Jordan:

“I’m afraid I’ve been guilty of leading you down the garden path. Or should it be ‘up’?”

And so we go down that path with Hitchcock as he misleads us all the way.  Just when we expect one thing he delivers another. 

The nefarious British Professor is not who we expect him to be and we are led down another garden path.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Oh, Crikey!

The 1.5 mile Forth Railway Bridge, the world’s first major steel bridge, with its gigantic girder spans of 1710 ft. ranks as one of the great feats of civilization. It was begun in 1883 and formally completed on 4 March 1890 when HRH Edward Prince of Wales tapped into place a ‘golden’ rivet.

Tancred–Arrol, constructed the bridge, robustly designed in the aftermath of the Tay Bridge disaster by civil engineers Sir John Fowler and Benjamin Baker. The balanced cantilever principle was adopted. The main crossing comprises tubular struts and lattice-girder ties in three double-cantilevers each connected by 345 ft. ‘suspended’ girder spans resting on the cantilever ends and secured by man-sized pins. The outside double-cantilever shoreward ends carry weights of about 1000 tons to counter-balance half the weight of the suspended span and live load.

At its peak, approximately 4,600 workers were employed in its construction. Initially, it was recorded that 57 lives were lost; however, after extensive research by local historians, the figure was increased to 63. Eight men were saved from drowning by boats positioned in the river under the working areas. Hundreds of workers were left crippled by serious accidents, and one log book of accidents and sickness had 26,000 entries. In 2005, a project was set up by the Queensferry History Group to establish a memorial to those workers who died during the bridge's construction. In North Queensferry, a decision was also made to set up memorial benches to commemorate those who died during the construction of both the rail and the road bridges, and to seek support for this project from Fife Council.

Today, the bridge, Scotland’s biggest ‘listed’ building, continues to form a vital artery in Network Rail's East Coast railway system; it carries 180 - 200 train movements per day.