Gregory’s Girl creator to attend special screening of film in Bo’ness

Scotland's top film director Bill Forsyth will be chatting about one of his best loved films Gregory's Girl at the Hippodrome next week
Scotland's top film director Bill Forsyth will be chatting about one of his best loved films Gregory's Girl at the Hippodrome next week

The man who created three of Scotland’s best loved films of the 1980s is coming to the historic Hippodrome to talk about a lanky young lad called Gregory.

When film director Bill Forsyth released Gregory’s Girl for an unsuspecting public back in 1981 it spawned a ton of lesser American imitations focusing on the trials and tribulations of teenagers and their quest for true love – or at least a date for the prom.

None of those subsequent motion pictures had the charm, dry wit and sheer quirkiness of Gregory’s Girl – just why was there a giant penguin walking around the school corridors?

Perhaps people can ask the man himself when Bill attends a special screening of the film at Bo’ness Hippodrome from 7.30pm on Thursday, October 11.

At the end of the film there will be a conversation about all things Gregory chaired by Diane Henderson, deputy artistic director of Edinburgh International Film Festival.

The early promise shown in the talented Glaswegian director’s critically acclaimed 1979 short film That Sinking Feeling paved the way for pure cinematic genius with a run of three movies which are just about as good as film making gets – Gregory’s Girl (1981), Local Hero (1983) and Comfort and Joy (1984).

Gregory’s Girl featured fresh faced young actors like John Gordon Sinclair, who had been in That Sinking Feeling, Clare Grogan and Dee Hepburn along with Scottish comedy royalty, the one and only Tall Droll himself Chic Murray.

It’s full of unforgettable moments and lines which are probably quoted and misquoted more than Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs by Scots of a certain age.

Filmed in Cumbernauld’s Abronhill High School, which was demolished in 2014, the tale is almost as old as humanity itself as shy and awkward Gregory and his equally gormless pals attempt to attract, or at least talk to, the opposite sex.

The opposite sex in this case takes the fine form of Dorothy – a Scottish soccer superstar years before English lassies were bending it like Beckham – who in turn gives way to the slightly smaller form of soon to be Altered Images singer Clare Grogan, who it turns out has been admiring Gregory from afar all along.

The story might be a well worn one, but it’s Bill Forsyth’s handling of the subject matter which makes it stand out – the aforementioned penguin wandering in and out of shot with no one batting an eyelid, Gregory’s ultra mature younger sister, Gregory and Susan dancing in the park while lying down to prevent them falling off the world, head teacher Chic Murray having a rare old time playing the old Joanna and a pre-Taggart Alex Norton bumping bums with Dorothy in a bizarre piece of dance choreography which grows out of her asking how she can develop better ball control.

And for all we know Andy and Charlie are still hitchhiking to Caracas.

The film will also be screened at 4.15pm on Sunday, October 7.

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