A Retake Please

BookA Retake Please

A Retake Please

Filming Western Approaches


July 1st, 1999

Access Token




This fascinating memoir is a unique contribution to the history of film and cinema. At its centre is the story of the making of the British film classic Western Approaches, the first story documentary in Technicolor, totally enacted by amateurs. It was nominated for an Oscar in the category ‘Best Film from any Source’ and has influenced and inspired film-making to this day. It was acclaimed a masterpiece when it was released in December 1944 and fifty years later Philip French wrote in The Observer: ‘It remains a milestone in our cinema and an exciting, vibrant cinematic experience.’

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Title Page3
1: Faltering steps9
2: Dog’s body20
3: Night Mail31
4: Bernard Shaw exposed43
5: Harry Watt challenged by the Savings Bank47
6: ‘In loco parentis’54
7: Rungs of the ladder57
8: The G.P.O. becomes the Crown Film Unit74
9: A Passenger of the Ancient and Tattered Airmen85
10: No escape from a dreary chore95
11: Not a remake of Drifters but all at sea98
12: Blank despair116
13: We walk the course139
14: ‘Tally Ho.’ The hunt is on142
15: ‘Testing . . . Testing’153
16: Faltering steps, again175
17: A non-starter for a start186
18: ‘Dead slow ahead’206
19: S.O.S. to the C. in C.217
20: The Temeraire to the rescue223
21: The White Swan from Norway245
22: How to round up the remnants254
23: So, this is Hollywood!265
24: An assignment, at last!286
25: John Sullivan and Pinewood to the rescue308