Maurice Hatton (director)
BFI Film (studio)
26 June 2017 (released)
06 July 2017
A curious oddity that will be of particular interest to all those trying to pitch scripts and secure funding while at the same time the rest of us will find delight in the movie’s satirical tone, not to mention the many glimpses of Edinburgh in 1977.
Made on a shoestring budget and filmed in b/w, LONG SHOT is a deadpan observation of the possible pits and downfalls when trying to secure some hard cash for a planned movie project. Ambitious producer Charlie (Charles Gormley) and his scriptwriter buddy Neville (Neville Smith) gate-crash the 1977 Edinburgh Film Festival to hopefully hook up with their first choice/big-name director Sam Fuller in order to persuade him that their oil-boom adventure ‘Gulf and Western’ (set in Aberdeen!) is the perfect next project for Fuller and no mistake! Of course, the way to recognition and stardom – or even just the way to Fuller – is littered with all sorts of hurdles and obstacles: should we be amused or feel for our wannabe hotshots when they, somewhat bewildered, mingle with the glitterati guests at the festival’s opening gala?
Despite the frustrating fact that Mr. Fuller is nowhere to be seen both Neville and Charlie are not prepared to throw in the towel that easily, after all, they are promised some funding provided they manage to pull a bigwig director on board. Easier said than done but this is where the fun begins for us viewers, though not necessarily for Neville and Charlie!
If Fuller can’t be found among the festival VIP’s then why not try to persuade other directors such as Wim Wenders or even John Boorman to talk into considering a deal… The in-jokes are brilliant as are the sardonic inter-titles (example: On the dangers of not looking before you leap) and it gets even more deadpan when aspiring actress Annie (Anne Zelda) who joins the dynamic duo by default finds herself besieged by an aspiring filmmaker with no money but on the lookout for talented actors to join his project (and perhaps lend him a tenner or two…)
Of course, in real life both Gormley (who died in 2005) and Smith really did make it in real life and looking at back at the film theirs is a case of life imitating art – that said, the ending of LONG SHOT is pure Hollywood (and pure Technicolor) but it would be unfair to give it away. A film about film-making if ever there was one and to top it all it received a special screening at this year’s Edinburgh Film Festival!
Equally interesting are the Extras on this BFI-Flipside release, such as the 1982 promo film ‘Sean Connery’s Edinburgh’ and the 1986 ‘Hooray for Holyrood’ presented by Robbie Coltrane (acting as a chauffeur for the Edinburgh Film Festival).