Scotland in Film

Scotland in Film

Scotland in Film

Scotland in Film

Excerpt

Forsyth Hardy is the only person who could have written Scotland in Film. Others could have collected the facts, looked up reviews and formed retrospective opinions. But he alone can give us a first-hand account of the circumstances surrounding almost every film made in Scotland over a span of some 50 years.

He was often a principal in their production, first as the representative of the Scottish Office at the Films Division of the Ministry of Information (later the C.O.I.) when it was his duty to initiate and bring to life each film, then to shepherd it through the English bureaucracy, who had no special interest in things Scottish. I can recall seeing him wince at the mispronunciation of simple place names such as Kirkcudbright or Ecclefechan. He was again a prime mover in the setting up and in the direction of Films of Scotland and his account of this period in his career is by any standard far too modest. One could truthfully say that Forsyth Hardy, as well as being the standard bearer for the Scottish documentary, was also both the staff officer and the field commander who fought them through to the screen. Certainly he has instigated more Scottish films than any other living Scotsman.

Along with Norman Wilson he was the author and organiser of the Edinburgh Film Festival which provided an ideal showcase in which Scottish-made films could be seen by an international audience. The festival itself attracted films from all over the globe and therefore film makers as illustrious as Orson Welles, Robert Flaherty, Max Ophuls and John Grierson were drawn to Edinburgh, but it did not escape my notice that despite the competition from international celebrities and their films no Scottish-made film was ever denied a place in the sun.

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