The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie | 1969
Edinburgh provides most of the locations as Maggie Smith takes over from Vanessa Redgrave (who originally played Brodie on stage to great acclaim) in the film of Muriel Spark’s Thirties-set novel, and Rod McKuen growls possibly the least appropriate title song ever.
As charismatic teacher Miss Brodie leads her charges through the city, there’s a backdrop of real Edinburgh locations (minus TV aerials, which had to be physically removed in those distant pre-digital times), including the old Grassmarket; the Vennel (the narrow flight of steps leading up from Grassmarket); Edinburgh Castle itself; and Greyfriars Kirkyard – yes, where Bobby the terrier supposedly spent 14 years guarding his master’s grave.
Miss Brodie lives in the Victorian house at 5 Admiral Terrace, opposite Lothian Regional Council Office, south of Edinburgh’s Haymarket Station.
The studio of painter Teddy Lloyd (Robert Stephens) is the Mary Tudor house in the heart of the city at 1 Candlemaker Row, on the corner of Merchant Street – right opposite Greyfriars Kirkyard.
Although interiors were built in the studio, ‘Marcia Blaine School’ was the Donaldson School for Deaf and Dumb Children, which is now part of Edinburgh Academy, Henderson Row.
‘Cramond’, the estate to which Miss Brodie retreats at weekends, is Barnbougle Castle, just a few miles west of Edinburgh on the Firth of Forth. Part of the Dalmeny Estate, it’s home to the Earl and Countess of Roseberry.
One location outside Scotland is the library of ‘Marcia Blaine’, which was filmed in Grim’s Dyke House – now the Grim’s Dyke Hotel – former home of lyricist WS Gilbert (half of Gilbert & Sullivan), who drowned in the lake here, at Old Redding, Harrow Weald. The 1870 Norman Shaw-designed house used to be a screen regular, starring in films such as The Curse of the Crimson Altar, The Blood Beast Terror and the faux-documentary about the German occupation of the UK, It Happened Here.