Have you visited any of these Oscar-related places in Norfolk?
PUBLISHED: 17:01 25 February 2019 | UPDATED: 08:21 26 February 2019
Did you know that Out of Africa and Full Metal Jacket filmed scenes in the county?
Olivia Colman is Norfolk’s woman of the moment but last night’s Best Actress win is not Norfolk’s only connection with Hollywood’s famous statue. One of the most spectacular views of Norfolk graced the screen in 1998’s Best Picture winner Shakespeare in Love when Gwyneth Paltrow walked across the vast expanse of Holkham Beach towards the closing titles after she is shipwrecked on a lonely island and we presume walking straight into Twelfth Night.
It’s a beautiful airborne tracking shot which highlights East Anglia’s big skies and the unspoilt nature of Norfolk’s coastline.
Holkham is a favourite location for film-makers, and Holkham Hall was the primary location for the Keira Knightley-Ralph Fiennes- Hayley Atwell menage-a-trois in The Duchess. This steamy period film based on the true-life story of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire not only explored her unusual living arrangements with her increasingly distant husband (Fiennes) but her unheard of political influence with rising politician Charles Fox (Simon McBurney). The good-looking film won an Oscar for Best Costume Design and was nominated for Best Art Direction.
The Hall’s atmospheric architecture gave the film its cool, grandeur and heightened Georgiana’s sense of isolation both within her marriage and with connection to the outside world. The Hall, in effect, became another character in the film.
You would think that it would be a stretch for Norfolk to appear in Sydney Pollack’s multi-Oscar winning epic Out of Africa. It would be hard to persuade viewers that the water-filled reed beds of the Norfolk Broads belonged to the game parks of Kenya or that The Wash was really Lake Victoria but what Castle Rising and Kings Lynn could do was stand in for a wintery looking Denmark when Meryl Streep’s Danish aristocratic adventurer Karen Blixen returns home half way through the film.
There’s a chilly beauty to these scenes which emphasises the bleakness of the county’s northern shores and again creates images which provide viewers with a visual shorthand that communicates a sense of loss and regret without anyone having to put those feelings into words.
You wouldn’t have thought that Stanley Kubrick’s tough Vietnam movie Full Metal Jacket would have much use for the Norfolk Broads but as helicopters fly over Viet-Cong controlled rice fields sharp eyed viewers will see that the Oscar nominated film has saved its travel budget by swapping the Broads for Vietnam.
In 1971 Hollywood came to Norwich when art house director Joseph Losey filmed playwright Harold Pinter’s adaptation of the best-selling novel The Go-Between in the city. The film starred Julie Christie, Alan Bates and Margaret Leighton. Leighton won a Best-Supporting Actress Oscar nomination and the film spent months in Norwich and in various places around Norfolk making the most of atmospheric location shots.
Extensive shooting was conducted in Norwich Cathedral, along with further church scenes shot at Heydon in Norfolk. A bathing scene was captured at Hickling Broad, a cricket match was shot at Thornage, Norfolk and several sequences were recorded at Melton Constable Hall doubling as Brandham Hall. The film captured the splendour of timeless Norfolk in all its rural glory.
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