There aren’t many British film makers (any?) who can create such powerful visuals as Davies so it’s a (typical) scandal that he’s made very few films. I should’ve loved this: I was born in Ellesmere Port (an overflow town from Liverpool) in the ’60s so I could ‘recognise’ many of the images. Many of the old women looked like my gran I remember seeing parts of Liverpool as a bomb site but… where the hell did he get that accent from!?
I’ll admit to being an inverted snob but Davies’ almost-plummy tones worked against the working-class imagery. I also found the use of music problematic; much of it was brilliant but Mahler’s Second Symphony overwhelms, for me, even Davies’ often magnificent imagery But the film must be seen: the footage of torrents of people visiting New Brighton was astounding.
I thought it would be like the ‘city’ films of the 1920s and it didn’t quite fulfil this; possibly because most of it was archive footage. Also, Davies’ does display ‘fogey’ tendencies (football used to be better because players didn’t earn any money and he didn’t like the Beatles) which are not appealing.