Last night I was in Covent Garden at the London Film School, where I had chosen the film ‘Witchfinder General’ for the Speakeasy Cinema Club, an event that hosts a guest speaker, a favourite film, dinner and discussions afterwards. I can’t say what we talked about because it operates under Chatham House Rules, but the interesting thing for me was that I’m so used to conversing on the internet, by text or by phone that I’d forgotten the pleasure of barneying with like-minded people – actors, directors, writers, film geeks.
English pubs operate in this way, of course – neutral territory where you go for a good talk – but it’s also a great idea to sit among people with equal knowledge to you and thrash through your thoughts and plans. By the end of the evening, people were exchanging numbers and discussing projects together. It’s also a great way to get feedback on your work.
I came away with a new perspective on the film and a thirst to find out more on subjects raised. The film – the only British western, a virtually forgotten B movie made by the 24 year-old Michael Reeves just before he tragically died – has dated a little but remains powerful and haunting, not least because of its wonderful ‘Greensleeves’-like score. In the US the score was stripped off and the film hacked up to fit with Vincent Price’s Poe films, but the original is happily on DVD. Sadly, the score was never released, except for one track on a compilation album.