From Hollywood blockbusters such as Star Wars and Snow White, the landscape of the Lake District has been used by countless film-makers who have been repeatedly drawn to Cumbria’s unique “sense of place”.
Now a film enthusiast has acknowledged this by compiling the first ever-comprehensive guide to the history of films shot in Cumbria and the Lakes since the early 20th century.
The new book includes a wide variety of films and genre’s ranging from family favourites like Miss Potter or Postman Pat, to the perennial classic Brief Encounter or the contemplative and poignant Raven on the Jetty, and each is treated to author David Banning’s highly informative and well-researched analysis.
David, who lives in Grasmere, is a self-confessed movie buff. He’s equally enthusiastic about the visionary director Ken Russell and up and coming Kerry Harrison, though he is quite clear about his personal favourite: Withnail and I.
He works part time at the Heaton Cooper Studio in Grasmere and also in the University of Cumbria library Lancaster campus, which provided him with a number of excellent resources to aid the considerable background research.
Formerly, David worked in marketing and promotions for an independent record label in London, gaining invaluable experience on high profile campaigns with bands such as Garbage and Muse. Eventually he moved on to study History of Art at Goldsmith’s College, University of London as a mature student.
It was while he watched the 2012 film Snow White and the Huntsman, and recognising the distinctive location of Cathedral Quarry in Little Langdale, that the idea for a book first emerged.
“It started with compiling a list, and grew into a book,” says David, whose work is introduced in a foreword by Sophie Neville, the actress who starred in the original 1974 version of Arthur Ransome’s classic story Swallows and Amazons. She remembers working in the Lake District with great affection. “If you want to make a film for the big screen, why would you not want the ever-changing backcloth provided by the regal landscapes of Cumbria?” says Neville.
David is now working on a project that aims to show how the Lake District has been depicted in art over many centuries to the present day.
An A-Z of Cumbria and the Lake District on Film is published by Hayloft, £12.