Film ID:
YFA 3299

GIRL FROM THE SOUTH

1988

Visitor Tabs

Description

Fiction feature about a naïve girl who applies romance-novel conventions to her real life with unfortunate results.

Title: 'It's the same the whole world over.
Isn't it a bleedin' shame,
It's the rich what gets the pleasure,
It's the poor what gets the blame.'

Beginning on blue sky, the camera tilts down to reveal Anne Thompson, a well-to-do fifteen-year-old sitting in a white wicker chair in an idyllic Sussex summer garden. Her voiceover introduces the scenario: 'Once upon a time, far away to the South, a girl sat on the lawn plaiting her hair. It was a perfect summers day with only the merest hint of a breeze in the air. But the young girl was not happy . . . She was going away to the North to stay with her Grandparents, not because she wanted to but because she always did at this time of year and because . . . Because she was bored. Nothing ever happened here, no excitement, no romance . . . Nothing . . . Except in books.' Anne buys a romance novel, 'Almost a Stranger,' and her parents drive her to her train. On the InterCity 125, Anne listens to her Walkman, reads her novel and does her best to ignore the boys with cans of bitter who lewdly taunt her with a pornographic newspaper. After several glimpses of landscapes and power plants outside the train window, Anne arrives in Leeds.

Titles:
Telltale Films / in Association with Spectre Productions / present
Michelle Mulvany / Mark Crowshaw / Rosamund Greenwood / Daphne Oxenford, Alan Thompson, Keith Winestein in
Girl from the South
Photographed by Janet Tovey
Art Director: Teresa Moore
Original Score composed by Adrian Rhodes
Produced by Jean Stewart
Written and Directed by Richard Woolley

Bored of reading in the conservatory of her grandparents' luxurious home in Roundhay, Anne decides to write her own romantic story and live it at the same time. She ventures into the city proper, searching for a tall, dark stranger. After passing a parade, Anne upsets an old woman's shopping and helps her into her house, inviting herself in for tea. Granny White has a penchant for love stories, a photograph of Clark Gable and a poster of Gone with the Wind on her wall, a stack of Penny Dreadfuls on her bookshelf, a VHS of 'Brief Encounter' and an attractive, dark-skinned grandson called Ralph, who mockingly names Anne 'Lady Di.' Determined that Ralph is meant to be the man of her dreams, Anne persistently pursues him in spite of his surprising passion for old paintings and architecture and the classical compositions of Elgar, which contrasts sharply with both Anne's own taste for Madonna and Duran Duran and the graceless sexual advances of Lance, a family friend with whom Anne plays tennis and backgammon and bobs for apples at a fete, and whom she rejects by claiming to be a lesbian. Anne searches for Ralph at his high-rise apartment building and at various unemployment offices in Leeds. She 'borrows' coal from her grandparents to build Granny White a fire, and she brings her a new teapot. She accompanies Ralph to an old manor house and a string quartet, and they take Granny White to the market and a gazebo in the park. Throughout the courtship, Woolley first shows Anne's flowery voiceover and her reactions to her environment before revealing the entire picture, which almost invariably renders Anne's thoughts and behaviour either impractical or inappropriate. Eventually, Anne's seduction works and she convinces Ralph to burgle her grandparents' house (their insurance will surely cover the loss) in order to pay for Granny White's hip operation - a plot development she has designed as a romantic, Robin Hood-like 'adventure.' The couple shares wine and Elgar and kisses and sleeps on the sofa, and, in the morning, they pack selected valuables into a guitar case for him to take away. However, 'that coloured boy' Anne has been seen with is naturally suspected of the crime, and he is arrested at the home of Granny White.

When Anne protests that she gave the valuables away, the police officer gives her three pieces of advice:
1. Don't make up silly stories to protect your friends.
2. Stick to your own kind.
3. Don't mix with coloureds.
But Anne walks to the police station to take responsibility for her actions. Romantic music swells but stops abruptly when Granny White switches off her tape of 'Brief Encounter.' Anne goes into the police station, and the camera pans down to reveal torn photo-booth pictures of Anne and Ralph clogging a drain along with a crumpled Coca-Cola can and other bits of rubbish.

Ending Titles:
Anne: Michelle Mulvany
Ralph: Mark Crowshaw
Granny White: Rosamund Greenwood
Grandmother: Daphne Oxenford
Grindle: Alan Thompson
Lance: Keith Winestein
Anne's Mother: Jean Gilpin
Anne's Father: James Woolley
Lance's Mother: Teresa Moore
Police Detective: Mike Kelley
Police Constable: Mare Seymour
Village Shopkeeper: Elizabeth Mansfield
Record Shop Owner: Nick Jensen
Boys on Train: Ben Housden, Chris Fitzclark
Camera Operator: Janet Tovey
Camera Assistants: Cinders Foreshaw, Christina Lloyd-Fitt, Anne Parisio
Grip: Neve Cunningham
Gaffer: Ossie Jung
Sound Recordist: Bruno Heller
Sound Assistants: Alf Bower, Fil Smith
Production Manager: Nick Emery
Editors: Anne Foreman, Richard Woolley
Assistant Editor: Melanie Perason
Sound Editor: Adrian Rhodes
Re-recording: Alf Bower, Adrian Rhodes
Dubbing Mixer: Paul Humblyn
Titles: Rank Film Laboratories (Denham)
Production Accounts: Mike Ash
Michelle Mulvany's Costumes by Sarah Coggles of York
Set Construction by R & D Scenery, Leeds
Lighting by Film & TV Lighting Services, London
Film Stock provided by Kodak (UK) Ltd.
Processing by Rank Film Laboratories Ltd., Leeds
Re-recording at Yorkshire Film and Video Centre
The producers would also like to thank: Paul Bingley, Birmingham Film Workshop, Di Carling, Rodney Clapson, Cori Films, The D'Amici Quartet, Nigel Forbes Adam, John Greenwood, Jonquil Hood, Martin Jackson, Leeds City Council, Caspar Lewis, B. and R. Midwinter, Judy Nixon, Judge James & Sheila Pickles, SOMH, and all those in Leeds, Halifax and York who so generously gave their help.
'This Girl' words and music by Richard Woolley, sung by Elizabeth Mansfield, Re-arranged for the film by Adrian Rhodes
'Enigma Variations' (Elgar) courtesy of De Wolfe Music
'Brief Encounter' excerpt courtesy of Rank Film Distributors
Shot on location in Yorkshire, Surrey and London, England
Copyright Richard Woolley 1988

 

Additional Information:  Script available as part of YFA background file.