In yesterday’s Herald there was an excellent interview with John Byrne and Eddie Reader, which you can read here. The two were reminiscing with Russell Leadbetter about Your Cheatin’ Heart, a TV drama which Byrne wrote and directed, and in which Reader appeared, 23 years ago.
I wrote about the series back in 2010, and it remains one of the most visited and commented upon posts on the blog, (usually with people wondering where they can get their hands on a bootleg copy as I did. I bought it on eBay, since you ask). Well, if you’re free next weekend, you no longer have to search for an elusive copy as Your Cheatin’ Heart forms the spine of the Dunoon Film Festival, which runs from the 14th-16th June.
I’ve already got my tickets for the screening of all six episodes on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with Byrne and Reader introducing the first session, and I am stupidly excited about it. There are only a select few who write TV or drama as well as John Byrne, and while his classic Tutti Frutti is perhaps more fondly remembered, there is as much, if not more, quotable dialogue in Your Cheatin’ Heart. The man is a master of language and he knows how to use it.
The cast is also fantastic, including Tilda Swinton, John Gordon Sinclair, Kate Murphy, Ken Stott, Maggie Bell, Peter Mullan, Richard Jobson and Tom Watson in numerous roles, as well as Eddie Reader as Jolene, a part which was literally made for her. They even managed to get country legend Guy Mitchell to appear as Jim Bob O’May. If you are unfamiliar with the world of Byrne, which features pokey hats, guitars with resonator pans, Naugahyde cowboy boots, Soul food bars, knitted ponchos with reindeers, pancakes in Faifley, dozy half-breeds and psycopathic fishmongers, then you really should make time to spend time. It’s an unforgetable place to visit.
That may be my personal highlight, but there are lots of other treats for Scottish film fans, and fans of Scottish film, at the festival. You can read the full programme here, but a few events to note include showings of Venus Peter, Local Hero, The Maggie, the 1950 Disney version of Treasure Island with Robert Newton as the definitive Long John Silver, Margaret Tait’s wonderful short films, Alasdair Gray’s ‘A Life In Progress’, which sees the writer and painter interviewing himself, and Nic Higgins’ ambitious documentary We Are Northern Lights.
This festival is a wonderful idea, with real thought and inspiration having gone into the programming. If you’re one of those people who, like me, are always complaining that there isn’t enough of this sort of thing in Scotland then get yourself along and support it. It could be magical.
Here’s some clips to whet your appetite. The first is one I have posted before, but I make no apologies for that. It’s the scene from Your Cheatin’ Heart where Eddie Reader’s Jolene joins Guy Mitchell on stage to sing the Bellamy Brothers Let Your Love Grow, while Freddie Boardley’s Hell’s Angels, ‘The Loons O’ Lucifer’, boot scoot on the dance floor. It’s one of my all time favourite TV moments:
With The Maggie, Venus Peter, Local Hero, and even Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo, the festival is really playing on Dunoon’s geographical position and its relationship to the sea. Another watery classic is Treasure Island, and, perhaps with the exception of the Muppet’s version, this is the one to watch. Here’s the trailer:
Talking of Local Hero, it may only be Bill Forsyth’s second best film, but it’s still one of the best films ever made, and this is one of the most memorable scenes in it.
I can’t wait. See you doon the watter…