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Withnail and I

Posted in Film with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 12 September, 2008 by Ally

Written and directed by Bruce Robinson, 1986

Withnail and I is the tragicomic story of two unemployed actors struggling to survive in the London of 1969. Their dilapidated surroundings and constant drug abuse sees them “drifting into the arena of the unwell.” Desperate for a change of scenery, they holiday in a Cumbrian cottage owned by Withnail’s uncle Monty, which turns out to be a site with fresher air but equal squalor. And unbeknown to Marwood, he has been promised to Monty in exchange for the cottage.

It is the very definition of a cult film. Its fans are not as numerous as those of the Stars (Wars and Trek) but they are just as dedicated, and able to recite screeds of the endlessly-quotable script. They are known to make pilgrimages to Penrith to find the grotty little cottage; to find potatoes in the mud, and see the front door now bearing a plaque reading “Here Hare Here”. Many have even died playing the drinking game in which viewers match either of the title characters drink-for-drink. Well perhaps not died, but wished they had. Either way it is not recommended to drink as Withnail, who at one point resorts to downing a canister of lighter fluid. Continue reading