Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Withnail and I: the Screenplay by Bruce Robinson

I watched Withnail and I on Sunday on dvd and loved it so much I decided to read the screenplay in case I had missed any of the lines. In fact it was well worth reading because the directions in the screenplay reveal a lot about the characters' motivations.

Withnail and I is a cult British film made in the 1980s but set in London and the Lake District in 1969. It is a semi-autobiographical tale by the writer and director Bruce Robinson. It's beautifully constructed with many hilarious but also a few touching moments, as the drugged-up protagonists approach the end of their own particular era. A definite must-see and must-read. Here is what seems to be the definitive review of the film, explaining its appeal.

The screenplay was fairly short so I was also able to read "T N Foulis: the history and bibliography of an Edinburgh publishing house". Again this was fairly quick to read as much of the work consists of lists of books and of illustrators associated with the publishing house. They were in business from about 1903 to 1926 and produced many beautifully illustrated books, many intended to be given as presents. Jessie M King was one of the Scottish artists who illustrated their works. The books are still available from second-hand shops and websites, but some are extremely rare. The "Friendship Booklets" form a particularly attractive series. Here is an example for sale on Ebay - scroll down for the best image.

Day 111; Book 110