Thursday, 6 May 2010

That Sinking Feeling

The most memorable evenings spent at the RBCs Monday night film club are those where someone involved with the film are present to introduce and answer questions following its screening. Previously actor Ian McCulloch introduced Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979) and when the horror film The Dead Outside (2008) was shown we had the director, the producer and the young star of the film Sandra Louise Douglas present.

Our latest guest was Rab Buchanan, the Glaswegian actor most famous for appearing in three films by director Bill Forsyth, Gregory’s Girl (1981) and Comfort and Joy (1984) and tonight’s film That Sinking Feeling (1980). This was Forsyth’s first feature film as a director. Set in a dilapidated looking Glasgow in 1978 this low budget comedy follows the misadventures of a group of bored, mainly unemployed, teenagers who one day hit upon the ides of robbing a warehouse containing hundreds of stainless steel sinks. The plan involves dressing up as girls to distract a security guard and a potion whose effects can induce endless sleep! Rab Buchanan, who plays the ‘criminal mastermind’ Ronnie, and the other young actors in the film came to the notice of the Scottish director via the former Glasgow Youth Theatre.

Following the movie Rab took part in an entertaining question and answer section with our very own Darren Conner. He told various amusing stories connected with the making of the film and the fun the young actors experienced working with Bill Forsyth. He then went on to explain how the complete project cost a little over £3000 which was mainly spent on Colin Tully’s film score commissioned especially for the film. It was revealed that if That Sinking Feeling had never have been made then the funding required for Gregory’s Girl would never have been available. In all, our guest spent 10 days working on the film with many of the scene’s that made the official release improvised by the cast. The 2009 DVD re-release of the movie has been described as outrageous because instead of using the original soundtrack it used the American re-dubbed version which used mainstream accents and a different musical soundtrack, changing the complete character of the film. Darren’s questions also covered the other two films Rab made with Forsyth both having a much improved budget, which allowed the actors to be paid.

Following Robert Buchanan short film career he went on to work on TV and theatre until his son was born when he reverted to work backstage as a technician at the Tolbooth Theatre in Stirling. His legacy will always be tied up with Bill Forsyth’s and these three films, all of which still have a certain charm and are not a difficult watch but at the same time demonstrate a realism that involves ordinary people with normal lives who we’ve all probably met at one time or another. Another landmark for the film club.

(Photo courtesy of Alec Barclay Film Maker)

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