Movie London: Exploring The City Film-By-Film is an interesting mix of travelogue and movie trivia bible. Well written and very accessible, the guide takes you around London area by area, pointing out the movie connections in each street. From London landmarks to innocuous back streets, everywhere seems to have a movie story to tell. There’s many a surprise too. Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge doubled for an entrance to Wembley stadium in Nuns On The Run. In The Ladykillers the lopsided home of Mrs Wilberforce suggested its location was close to St Pancras Station, whereas it was specially constructed at the end of a (now demolished) cul-de-sac near Caledonian Road, the same area providing the retro fifties vista of Vera Drake. The guide also points out blue plaques denoting the homes of the famous. Arthur Lowe and Kenneth Williams are amongst many featured in the book. Williams’ flat was recently demolished to make way for a modern office construction on the Euston Road, a fact missing from this apparently up-to-date guide.
The central colour section is arranged by film genre.: Bond, Rom-coms, Gangsters, Scary, Sixties, Hitchcock, Literary and Poptastic. The information is very much at-a-glance on these pages to accompany recent snapshots of the locations in question. At the back of the book there is a section on hotels for the more committed location buff who may wish to stay in London. There is a brief guide to the capital’s bars and restaurants, major cinemas, movie festivals and historic sites. An index and list of alternative titles makes cross-referencing easy.
Although the research and trivia makes the book good value for its price a few more pages in colour would have been welcome. Whilst the guide is clearly meant to be carried around the streets, the number of pages for notes is a little excessive. Essentially 16 blank pages out of the overall 200 page count! Although there are area maps, a tube map or bus routefinder would have added to the book’s value and saved those less familiar with London carrying additional travel guides. To be fair, although a reasonable travel guide the book’s forte is its film information and as such is a useful addition to a any moviegoer’s shelf.