Friday, April 03, 2009

The Damned United

In the 1970s Leeds United were world famous - I remember being at a campsite in France once and a French lad asked where I came from, and I said Leeds. "Ah! Leeds United! Leeds United" he shouted and a little crowd gathered to ask me about what it was like to come from this iconic Footy City.

In the 1970s, too, when Leeds United's manager Don Revie left to become England manager (and that didn't work out too well) Brian Clough, the self-titled "Old Big 'Ead" became manager of Leeds and spent forty-four days here before getting sacked.

Much more recently, David Peace wrote a book about it which has now been filmed: here's the trailer:



One of the actors I work with, John Savage, has a small role as very tall Scottish footballer Gordon McQueen in the film.

I wanted to see the film as I remember that era so vividly - I could name just about all the Leeds players in those days - let's face it, just about everyone in Leeds could - and I remembered Brian Clough arriving and then departing again remarkably quickly. Luckily I had a good excuse because of John being in it!!

I don't know much about football, but I know a man who does: and Silverback kindly agreed to come with me to see the film. I have to say that it's a while since I saw a film in a cinema - why? I really don't know, I love films! - and it was great to sit there looking at the big screen and eating popcorn.

I enjoyed it tremendously, and I think Silverback did too. It captures perfectly the Leeds of the seventies - rather drab and always raining! (Of course, Leeds these days is very gentrified - Harvey Nichols and all - and the sun never stops shining. Honestly).

Michael Sheen is superb as Brian Clough and Timothy Spall is excellent too (mind you, have you ever read a review that said "Timothy Spall was terrible in this?" - - Me neither).

You don't need to be a football fan to enjoy this film - - it's a good story, well told. It may not be the best film I've seen this year, but it's in the top one.

4 Comments:

Blogger Silverback said...

The Clough Estate will be after you for that last remark I fear. Of course as they gave the movie a miss, they'd not know the quote.

Was lovely to be briefly taken back to the Leeds United of the early and mid 70's when tackles went in at knee height and elbows met faces on a regular basis. And then the game would start !

Thank you for asking me.

11:41 pm  
Blogger Michael said...

I also remember most of the Leeds side from the 70s but I never went to Elland Rd. The violence put me off.
Incidentally I am just watching the film of Peace's other books, the Red Riding Trilogy. An interesting trip back to 1974, which the film makes out to be much darker and more evil than I remember. I wonder what Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits would think of the portrayal of the Yorkshire Evening Post, where he was a reporter in the 70s? Journalists being bumped off by evil property developers? No wonder they smoked so much.

7:10 am  
Blogger Debby said...

If it was about rugby, I'd be in. I do so love watching those boys play! OK, so maybe I just like their thighs....

3:51 am  
Blogger Malc said...

The film's been described as Carry On Cloughie, much lighter than the book. I'm looking forward to it, even though I still give a little shudder every time I think of that Leeds team.

1:42 pm  

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