Tag Archives: Plaza

Just Henry

That was a nice film, featuring postwar Britain and cinemas and some family shenanigans. But it wasn’t Just Henry as I know it. Having blogged on Bookwitch earlier today about the difficulties of adapting books to screen or stage, and having to cut viciously, this ITV production proved it.

Characters went missing to the point of confusion and had to double up, also to the point of confusion. But it’s a necessary evil, so is OK. Simplifying the plot is also necessary, cutting subplots you can do without. I’m just wondering if Just Henry could have done with being 30 minutes longer? If you hadn’t read the book, did it seem like a complete and understandable story?

I was sitting there thinking, ‘oops, there went more part of the plot,’ and ‘oh, dear, there we lost another…’

But, as I said, it was a nice enough period film. This time with both my green teacups as well as their yellow sister teacups.

The movies aspect of Michelle Magorian’s book was almost totally gone. They went to see a few films – someone likes The Third Man a little bit too much – and the cinema was a glorious venue in which to meet, but the movies and the school project were severely lacking. And  I missed the marvellous sisterhood development between all the mothers.

Sheila Hancock, Josh Bolt, Dean Andrews and Elaine Cassidy in Just Henry, ITV

So it was mainly the messy family situation left, with dead father, remarried mother, new stepfather, nasty grandmother (Sheila Hancock certainly knew what she was doing there! She was magnificent! I daresay she had to make up for John Thaw’s kind old man in Goodnight Mister Tom…) and the not so dead father after all. That’s enough plot for any film, albeit confusing for us book-readers. (I spoke to Daughter who had slight problems getting to grips with the abridgedness of the tale.)

Cutting bits out is OK, when time is at a premium. So why add new things that weren’t in the book? Mrs Beaumont and the belt was a very unpleasant addition. What good did it do?

Stockport Plaza

Finally, the Plaza cinema felt awfully familiar. And that would be because it was ‘our’ Plaza. Filmed on location in Leeds, it is clear that Leeds has grown a lot and now incorporates Stockport as well as some sea or other. And on that basis I have to agree with Grace when she tells Henry that Manchester isn’t so very far away.

The Plaza café

How long to get to the Plaza for a cup of tea? Pot of tea, even. I reckon it was in the vicinity of 49 weeks, and I only live half an hour’s walk away. Last Christmas I asked Son if he’d come with me to try out the recently restored Plaza theatre’s café, once a normal January commenced.

It never happened. Somehow nobody seemed to be free to just go out for elevenses or afternoon tea for no particular reason. And in case it was bad, I didn’t want to go alone. And in case it was good, I didn’t want to be on my own.

Then Borås Girl happened to mention that she had heard that Stockport has a nice cinema or something. We needed to meet up, so we decided to make it the Plaza, which is the ‘nice cinema’.

It was freezing out, but us Swedes are hardy. Borås Girl and I ventured upstairs, but they could do with a sign. It’s a lovely large room filled with pale green Lloyd Loom furniture, making it look very Art Deco.

Plaza café, Stockport

We sat by the window (with a view of the buses outside). I was so cold I was tempted by the toasted teacakes, but my standard test of a new place is the quality of the scones, so we ordered scones.

They were of that perfect homemade type, and large enough to satisfy even me. We ate slowly – sorry about that! –  and lingered for almost two hours, gossiping about the ins and outs of the church of Sweden (as you do). When it looked like people were filling the place up for lunch we departed and decided we’d be back. Sooner rather than later.

And if Son is not up for it, I’ll take Daughter.

(Photo borrowed from ‘stagedoor’, as I forgot my own camera…)