Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels | 1998
Before his laddishness became overwhelmingly irritating, Guy Ritchie assembled this enjoyable darkish comedy from bits of Performance, The Long Good Friday, Pulp Fiction and The Italian Job among scores of other films.
It's set, of course, around the seedier-looking parts of London, starting off in the east of the city, just off Brick Lane.
Eddie (Nick Moran) and Bacon (Jason Statham) leg it down the rather intimidating steps to the railway bridge at the end of the tunnel on Pedley Street after the law descends on their street stall scam at the opening.
The stretch of cobbled street in front of the arch is serious testosterone territory. It’s not only where the Young Gangster (Paul Bettany) drops a taxi onto the recalcitrant debtor in Gangster No. 1, but where the gang gives Dave (Ray Winstone) a serious going-over in Antonia Bird’s tough heist film Face. Theo (Clive Owen) meets the mysteriously pregnant Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey) at Fleet Street Hill after following Julian (Julianne Moore) from the bus in Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men.
The gang’s hang-out, also used in that other slice of seedy London low life, Howards End, is 15 Park Street, Borough, SE1, a wonderfully undeveloped street opposite Borough Market. Dog’s place, next door, is 13 Park Street.
As well as the Merchant-Ivory Henry James adaptation, you can see the same street in the Sean Connery-Catherine Zeta-Jones thriller Entrapment and in 102 Dalmatians. The photogenic neighbourhood, still surviving some gentrification, is featured in The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
‘JD’s’, the bar owned by Eddie’s dad (Sting), was Vic Naylor's. No longer a bar, it now houses the offices of advertising company Media Monks at 40 St John Street, Smithfield, EC1. Incidentally, it's just next door to the Farmiloe building, used as 'Gotham' police station in Christopher Nolan's three Batman... films and as Armin Mueller Stahl’s Russian restaurant in David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises).
To the heart of tourist-packed Camden, where Winston (Steven Mackintosh) runs a sadly low-security dope business in Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, Camden, NW1. Just inside the Chalk Farm Road entrance, on the left, you can see the metal staircase up to the dope den (it now leads up to the toilets of bar Cuban), where the lads take an unfortunate traffic warden along for the ride. The den itself is inside another warehouse, just opposite.
The Royal Oak, 73 Columbia Road at Ezra Street in the East End, and in the heart of the famous Columbia Road Flower Market, became ‘Samoan Jo’s’, the South Seas theme pub where Bacon is served, not a refreshing drink, but “a bleedin’ rainforest”.
The Oak was also the pub belonging to the Maltese boys, which gets shot up by the terrible twins in Peter Medak’s The Krays. In Brian Helgeland's 2015 version of the same story, Legend, with Tom Hardy as both brothers, the pub is upgraded to become 'The Blind Beggar', where Ronnie Kray puts a bullet in George Cornell’s head.
The Royal Oak was also the time-warping local in UK TV sitcom Goodnight Sweetheart, as well as the local ‘East End’ boozer in David A Stewart’s legendary turkey Honest.
Just across the railway from the Pedley Street Steps, Repton Boxing Club, Cheshire Street at Ramsey Street, where the boxing-mad Kray twins once worked out (though it’s not seen in The Krays), is the site of the catastrophic 3-card-brag game (as well as Terence Rigby’s boxing club, where he’s quizzed by US cop Harvey Keitel in Danny Cannon’s 1993 The Young Americans).
Only a few hundred yards away, Blackman’s Shoes, 42-44 Cheshire Street, on the corner of Grimsby Street, is the exterior of ‘Hatchet’ Harry’s office (“Harry Lonsdale: Porn King”). The wood-panelled interior, though, is Bethnal Green Town Hall, Cambridge Heath Road at Patriot Square.
The same office became Benicio Del Toro’s tailor’s in another Guy Ritchie film, Snatch. With a bit of dressing, it was transformed into the glamorous deco office of ‘Bijou’ record company supremo Eddie Izzard in Velvet Goldmine. You can see the wood panels again in Julian Simpson’s 1999 conspiracy thriller The Criminal – which also features the Town Hall’s austerely deco entrance hall and exterior, as do Anthony Minghella’s Breaking and Entering (the hall becomes the courthouse in which Jude Law faces up to his responsibilities to give Juliette Binoche and her son a second chance in life) and Run Fatboy Run (where it’s the London marathon office) .
The hall has since been seen as the ‘Lyon’s Corner House’ tea room in which Robbie Turner (James McAvoy) meets up with Cecilia Tallis (Keira Knightley) after joining the army to escape prison in Atonement. Conveniently, this busy location used to house the London Film Office.
It was also seen onscreen as the home of the Earl of Arundel in Shekhar Kapur’s Elizabeth, with Cate Blanchett as the Virgin Queen, and then as the home of Sir Walter Raleigh in the same director’s follow-up Elizabeth, The Golden Age, as well appearing in the 2007 film of The Other Boleyn Girl, with Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman. It's also the interior of a 'Scottish' castle in Made Of Honor, the house of explorer John Speke in Bob Rafelson’s 1989 Mountains of the Moon, and the country estate where Amanda Donohue is (apparently) murdered by John Hannah in Rob Walker’s 2000 Circus.