Maurice Hatton’s 1978 film Long Shot is independent cinema at its most charming. As aspiring film producer Charlie (Charles Gormley) hawks his screenplay in Edinburgh, the film’s meandering, shaggy-dog plot does little to harm its overall warmth, wit and Lothian vibe.
Littered with cameos from a host of cinematic luminaries, including a great turn from Alan Bennett as an apathetic doctor, Long Shot is effectively an extended in-joke about the film industry, but one that never comes off as smug or self regarding. Much of the film’s credibility comes from its punkish cinematography, cobbled together from celluloid off-cuts and expired film stock, most of which has a wonderfully tactile grain. It lends the film a documentary feel, serving as a reminder that analogue film has a life that modern digital techniques simply cannot replicate. And it should be noted that the BFI’s restoration of Hatton’s largely forgotten film, part of their Flipside series, positively sings in high definition.
Long Shot is out now on DVD and Blu Ray on the BFI Flipside label. For the full review, head over to CineVue.