The Long Good Friday
Every time I walk around whatever part of the Thames Path is available on the Peninsula at any one time (precious little at the moment) I’m reminds of The Long Good Friday, the movie that catapulted Bob Hoskins from adult literacy info-dramas to megastar. Perhaps less so now that the satanic old factories, warehouses and wharves are being razed to erect bland steel and glass apartments whose clones already adorn one-building’s depth along most of the Thames Path between Waterloo and Putney, but there are still one or two creepy places that bring John McKenzie’s terrifying 1980 East End gangster movie to the edge of my teeth.
I always thought it was just a feeling I got – that South East London dockside was much the same as North East London dockside and that it was coincidence that it reminded me of it so much.
But then I discovered something. Guess where Barrie Keeffe, the movie’s scriptwriter, was living when he wrote it? East Greenwich, that’s where. Admittedly, in a Guardian article he says he was a journalist in the ‘real’ East End, where he met a load of gangsters, and that from his place in Greenwich he could watch the new developments at Docklands, but surely no one could live that close to the docks in the Peninsula and not be just a tiny bit influenced by them?
He doesn’t mention in the article which pub he met the Irish Republican who gave him the idea for the terrorism-meets-mob story, but it could well have been any of the East Greenwich pubs, most of which have gone now, just as much as it could have been an East-End pub.
I’m not sure how cool it is to claim the Greenwich could have been the grubby inspiration for a film as gruesome as The Long Good Friday, but hey. I’ve just done it.
I don’t know exactly which house or street that Keeffe lived in, but it’s been done up since, as this article from the Guide last year explains.
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