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24 September 2014

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Withnail and I (1986)
Richard E Grant
Richard E Grant looking a lot better than he does as Withnail.

This film starring Richard E Grant and Paul McGann has achieved cult status.

Two struggling actors, running short on money and alcohol, decide to swap dreary London for a holiday cottage in the Lake District.


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Withnail and I Archive
Not for the easily offended, this site is a multimedia achive.

The BFI Top 100 films
Withnail and I is placed at Number 29

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Much of Withnail and I is filmed around Penrith, Shap and in the National Park. Withnail demands 'the finest wines available to humanity' at a Penrith café during the film.

In 1996, when the film celebrated its 10th anniversary, Penrith was offered a special re-launch preview screening - they said no because they thought film doesn't show the town in a good light!

About the film
The "I" of the title is Marwood - he and Withnail are out-of-work actors sharing a house in the sixties.  They decide to escape the cold, damp and washing-up of their Camden flat for Withnail's uncle's holiday cottage.

The film was written and directed by Bruce Robinson, based on experiences during his youth. The character traits seen in Withnail and I are taken from his own housemates and acquaintances at the time (roughly seven people rolled into two).

Richard E. Grant plays 'Withnail' (generally pronounced 'with-null').  The character smokes and drinks heavily and the role is widely regarded as a triumph of acting - Grant himself is teetotal and has never been drunk - he smoked herbal cigarettes during the film. Withnail enjoys all of life's vices - one scene shows him sharing the 'Camberwell carrot' - a huge cone-shaped spliff.

Paul McGann plays Marwood. The film follows his diary entries - the viewer never finds out his name in the film, he's always the first person, "I". He is the weaker character, always talked into mischief by Withnail. However, he always has a brighter outlook and is prepared to take a small acting part to get recognised. Withnail's attitude is 'all or nothing'. This difference in attitudes makes the ending of the film very poignant - giving the film an almost moralistic ending.

Montague Withnail ('Uncle Monty') is a very camp ex-thespian played by Richard Griffiths. He owns the cottage which Withnail and Marwood stay at in the film. He takes a shine to Marwood and follows them on their holiday. This comes to an hilarious if eventually touching conclusion at the cottage.
Film information supplied by Iain Nash, Ireleth.

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