Sheffield: City On the Move... The Reel Monty
Remember at the beginning of The Full Monty, the opening titles of 'Sheffield: City On the Move'? It was a promotional film for our Steel City in the 1970s, and for its 40th anniversary in 2008 it's been re-released - as The Reel Monty.
1970s Sheffield: the Hole in the Road
:: October 2008
In 1969 Sheffield City Council took on its first ever publicity officer, a man called Peter Wigley. Peter can be credited with the idea for the 1970s film 'City On the Move' which documented Sheffield in its 'boom and bust' era with the steel industry at its forefront.
The Reel Monty cover
In October 2008, nearly 40 years after the original 'City On the Move' came out, it was re-released - this time as The Reel Monty (in reference to the global coverage it received after being used at the start of 1997 film The Full Monty).
The Hole in the Road
In the film, Sheffield is depicted as a swinging city of tourism and commerce. It boasts long-gone icons like the Hole in the Road (an award-winning subterranean, pedestrianised area with shops, tropical fish tank and all-weather escalators), The Fiesta nightclub (the biggest in Europe at the time), the Sheffield Show in its heydey, Millhouses Park lido and Park Hill's 'streets in the sky.'
At the time of writing (October 2008) Peter Wigley who was the Council's publicity officer in charge of the commissioning of the film, is now in his seventies and still lives in the city. When the film was launched, Peter spoke of what he hoped the film would achieve: "The viewers might learn that Sheffield is not in the middle of a barren wasteland but on the doorstep of the Peak District National Park.
Fiesta nightclub sign (1970s)
"They might learn that it has the cleanest atmosphere of any industrial city in Europe.
"They might be surprised at the extent and variety of the city's parks, at the housing developments, and progress in slum clearance."
The dole years
When the film was first released in the mid-70s, Sheffield WAS a city on the move, with the world in its sights.
But within a few years the booming steel industry ground almost to a halt, nearby pits closed down, and tens of thousands were on the dole.
Interestingly when the film was re-released in autumn 2008 Britain's booming economy was similarly grinding to a halt, and talk of unemployment and recession dominated our TVs and radios.
Scene from The Full Monty
Neil Anderson was involved in the re-release and he sees it as some happy escapism at a time when all we hear about is the Credit Crunch: "The Reel Monty looks like being a massive hit and it's the perfect way to forget the present economic doom and gloom, and reminisce about the happy times of the early seventies."
The Full Monty
But just how did the film make it out of the archives and on to our screens? Neil explains.
"The makers of the film were tracked down in 1997 after a long search, by a film company planning a low budget movie about a bunch of redundant steel workers who turn to stripping for a living.
"Jim and Marie-Luise Coulthard produced and directed the film for Peter Wigley at Sheffield City Council in the 1970s. They were pleased with the film company's interest in the film after all this time, and accepted their £400 offer for the rights to use some of the footage.
Sheaf Markets, Sheffield in the 1970s
"By the time The Full Monty received its fifth Oscar nomination, the couple had helped 20th Century Fox gross over £180 million!"
Also on the re-release DVD is a follow-up film made in the 1980s called 'Sheffield International City,' and a short film by Creative Sheffield called 'Sheffield 2008' which is about the multi-million pound regeneration schemes "making the Steel City a force to be reckoned with on the national and international stage."
In the 1970s it was Peter Wigley for Sheffield City Council... now it's Brendan Moffatt for the agency called 'Creative Sheffield' who is responsible for marketing the city's image:
Peter Wigley and Marie-Luise Culthard
"This was such a significant film when it was released and it's amazing how many of the messages still ring true 40 years later in 2008 - especially about lifestyle and liveability in the city. It's also true to say that Sheffield in 2008 faces many very different challenges within the global marketplace as it competes for investment."
:: You can buy the DVD direct at The Star shop on York Street, Sheffield, S1 1PU for £12.95, or via The Reel Monty website (link on the right of the page).
last updated: 06/07/2009 at 15:11
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