8/19/16

"LOOK AT LIFE" PRESENTS "GOODBYE PICCADILLY": A RANK JOINT (LITERALLY)



"Look At Life" was a series of ten-minute infotainment films produced by the J. Arthur Rank organization for showing in their theaters before the main feature, beginning in the late 1950s and continuing well into the following decade. (Television had usurped the need for newsreels, you see). Above is a very cool episode titled 'Goodbye Piccadilly'. It features wonderful mid-sixites views of the area and appears to have been intended as something of a nostalgic farewell as a massive new building project was about to decimate the square--a project that seems never to have taken place. The period is just on the cusp of the soon to be swinging London--a mite on the side of the previous era--with well-dressed young and middle-aged working folks predominating the landscape (although the occasional pre-mod swankster can be spotted). There are nice views of the underground (including the sub-subway--the guts of the system) and occasional marquees reference the hits of the day i.e. "Oliver", "Doctor Zhivago" etc. One of the Youtube posters makes a curious reference to the lack of obese people visible in the film and I have to say I see his/her point. Everyone seems quite fit and slender. It must be a combination of the then abominable English food, perhaps with a hangover habit of the previous decades need for rationing. Add to that the pints of Ale and packs of 'fags' and perhaps we've developed the newest and least healthy diet fad: the 'Piccadilly Diet'.

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