ASSET REGISTER ENTRY: 31-7-18
It would take a book – and a pretty long one at that – to tell anything like the full story of the making of NIGHTHAWKS. Over several years, it took the most tremendous effort to realize this film and I’m not sure Paul Hallam and I ever fully got over it.
Uniquely, the process of developing and producing the film took us into every possible corner of the film industry at that time, involving at certain moments filmmakers as different as Michael Powell and Tony Garnett, John Schlesinger and Chantal Akerman, the painter David Hockney, and singers Elton John and Freddie Mercury. It involved meetings with Sir Joseph Lockwood, the head of EMI, and film pornographers in France, state film agencies in the UK and trade unions, TV stations in France and Germany, independent film associations, distributors, mainstream production companies, political groups of all kinds, the Association of Independent Producers (AIP), the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE), a gay teachers group, and a gay commune in Brixton. There was contact with, and sometimes support from, Robin Maugham, Michael Tippett and Benjamin Britten, critics Dilys Powell and Robin Wood and many others from the cultural world. But above all it involved literally hundreds of ‘ordinary’ gay people (mostly men) who gave inordinate amounts of time, raised money, offered their homes as locations, their skills as set builders, musicians, etc. and, above all, their moral (and in some cases financial) support over a long period.
A strong group coalesced out of all these people, who helped run the production office, leaflet clubs and rallies, who became actors in improvisation workshops, took photographs, wrote letters on behalf of the production. And behind this group was the foundation group, Four Corners, which gave its own sustained support, skills, a space to work from, time and critical engagement, and ultimately the technical crew to make the film.
Everyone had their own opinions of what this film should aim to be and the development and production of it was an endless engagement in dialogues with these often very conflicting viewpoints, something we encouraged and welcomed. There was a vacuum of any kind of realistic representation of gay life in the mid-1970s and as a consequence there was a widespread hunger to rush in and contribute something, a need in people to express and assert themselves.
By rights the film should never have been made at all. Everything was against it. It had to fight for its own space, its right to exist. The effort took around 5 years in all and at different times Paul and I very occasionally almost gave up, but luckily not at the same time. When one was down, the other kept going. The film came out of this genuine creative partnership at the centre, backed up by so very many people. It is hard to convey just how exhausting and wearing the struggle to make the film was, especially when there was so very little money around and so much industry opposition, but it was made in the end and when it was selected as a British entry for the Cannes Film Festival in 1978, we felt at least validated.
I said it would take a book to give justice to describing the fight to make it. Sadly, that book has never been written. Perhaps, before it’s too late, it still can be, whilst some of those who worked on it are still around. If not, there are some extensive accounts included in the archive, written soon after the film was completed (Production File No.1) and the notes that follow here can at least give a skeleton guide to what happened and help make sense of the archive of material deposited at the Bishopsgate Institute. There are also two films about the making of NIGHTHAWKS which will be mentioned in the account here in due course.
Where did it begin and what drove it into existence?
NIGHTHAWKS, from the very start, had the aim of portraying a realistic picture of what it was like to live as part of the emerging gay scene of the mid-seventies in Britain. It was a scene I knew myself very well, it was rapidly expanding, and yet no one had yet made a film about it.
Initially, in thinking about a possible project, I was simply trying to understand this world, its separation from the world at large, its ‘underground’ character, the lifestyle it seemed to dictate. Many people, including myself for a long time, were leading split lives between these two worlds and the central drama of most people’s lives was that of ‘coming out’, which was a way of unifying these worlds into one life, free of contradictions.
There were occasional representations of gay characters in film and on television but they were generally grotesque, monstrous, exotic or tragic.
By total contrast what had struck me most from my own lived experience was the sheer ‘ordinariness’ of most of the other men I met in what was called then the ‘gayworld’. They were people from every possible walk of life and nothing in particular identified most of them as gay. The people I met were carpenters, waiters, British Telecom workers, teachers, actors, professional footballers, policemen, shop assistants, oil rig workers… and they were nothing like the cliché of what a homosexual was supposed to be like as depicted in the mass media. It would be different now. People are more self-assertive. But back then most people were largely happy just to get by quietly. The anger came later.
The gay clubs and bars were vital social meeting places then. In the early seventies there seemed to be very few of them, though they were always packed, but over the next few years this ‘scene’ grew exponentially and already by 1977 had spawned huge West End ultra-discos, became mainstream, attracting huge mixed crowds of thousands.
The very first notes I wrote that led to the initial NIGHTHAWKS outlines were reflections on my own confused, excited and often alienated experiences and records of other people’s experiences as they were recounted to me. The more people I met and spoke to, the bigger and more varied and sometimes contradictory the picture of gay life seemed to get. But there were also constants for most people: the issue of whether to ‘come out’ or not was absolutely central, and the search for a partner, whether for a night or for a lifetime, was what everyone seemed to be obsessed by.
The gay spaces then were concentrated, in every sense, and everyone entered them, I believe, with hopes and expectations. They were usually noisy places, often overwhelmed by disco music, not exactly conducive to conversations. Drink and drugs and pounding rhythms charged up everybody’s energy. They were highly sexualized spaces, escapes from the mundanity of the everyday world. Cruising was the name of the game in these clubs and bars: seeking out partners, making eye contact, ‘chatting up’, dancing, touching, beating hasty exits with a ‘pick-up’ to an apartment, house or a bedsitter somewhere further out from the centre of the city. Multiple encounters over time became an introduction to all parts of London and all parts of society. The clientele in these clubs was very mixed and international. You never knew who you were going to meet or where you might end up. There was a thrill to that and it was also a genuine education.
My preliminary notes on the scene and on a project about it go back to somewhere around 1972 when I had returned to London, after time at universities in Swansea and Brighton, to take up a place at the London Film School. ITS UGLY HEAD (1974), my ‘studio exercise’ at the Film School, was a tentative first step in trying to represent a homosexual character but it was a very repressed and rather nervous start. It did at least address the issue of the double life even if it didn’t actually show anything of the gay scene. Significantly, its main character was a teacher and this idea stayed when NIGHTHAWKS itself was developed. I had briefly been a teacher myself so it gave me a kind of hook to start from. School and club also offered a concrete and visual dramatization of a life lived in two worlds.
The following is the best chronology thereafter I can come up with at the moment but should be pretty accurate.
ITS UGLY HEAD was completed at the London Film School (LFS) in March. The two year course was almost over and three other students and I, who had worked together on different film exercises and who had become close friends, decided to set up a group, Four Corner Films, in the hope that it might enable us to continue working on films together after we left the school that summer. The group was made up of Joanna Davis, Wilfried Thust, Mary Pat Leece and myself and further extant archive notes about the work we did together will be written at a later date to accompany archive materials on that early work.
This same year I shot some Super-8mm material for MOTORWAY, an essay film which was never completed, though material survives, and it fed into NIGHTHAWKS ultimately. My father had told me at around this time that, increasingly estranged from my mother prior to their actual divorce, he would drive alone up and down the M1 motorway at night, sometimes not caring if he crashed, feeling like a man with nowhere to go. This naturally made a very strong impression on me. I was also fascinated by motorways visually, these roads that went on and on, snaking out of the city, so many people on the move (to where? for what private reasons?), and there was the hypnotic repetition of those passing lights… The motorway ultimately found its way into the script and later the film as a kind of ‘blind run’…
After Film School, to make a living, I started full-time work at The Other Cinema, a film distribution company that specialized in radical, political and mostly overseas cinema. Through this work I encountered many new filmmakers and had my ideas about cinema thoroughly shaken up. Mary Pat Leece at the same time worked at the London Filmmakers Coop and these two involvements brought in other perspectives on cinema and film into our Four Corner meetings and discussions.
It was a great period of discussion, ferment and dissent: in the arts, in sexual politics, in pretty much everything. Nothing could be taken for granted any more. It felt like a period where everything was taken apart, looked at from different angles and analysed. So far as film was concerned, it meant debates about distribution, the role of the cinema space itself, the meaning of a camera movement, aesthetics, different approaches to acting, to film construction, to the roles of crew members, to the very organization of the film industry itself. It was an exciting and lively period endlessly generating new ideas.
All this affected my thinking about the film that was to become NIGHTHAWKS. But then so did the work of journals like Movie, which, following on from the French journal Cahiers Du Cinema, re-examined Hollywood narrative cinema, finding it far richer and nuanced in meaning than before. These journals discovered and introduced more European cinema, and experimental independent cinema. And every week it seemed there were extraordinary new films coming into the country from all over the world that challenged the mostly staid and moribund mainstream British cinema.
In December of this year (it may have been one year earlier) I met Gabrielle Stubbs (we were both working on the Christmas Post), who identified some pictures I had cut out of a magazine as paintings by Edward Hopper, one of which was Nighthawks. I subsequently explored the work of Hopper very fully. This too fed into thinking about the new film.
A draft BFI Production Board application for developing and producing the new project was circulated for comment, including within Four Corners and the Gay Left group, which I was, for a short time, a member of.
I placed a piece about the proposed project in Gay News to attract support and perhaps create a group specifically to work together on it. The article described the kind of film I hoped to make and asked anyone interested to contact me.
There was an incredible response. In February and March, assisted by Philip Fink, I interviewed around 200 people who wrote back offering help of all kinds, sometimes telling their life stories along the way. One of those who wrote in was Paul Hallam.
I also visited schools at this time, with Mary Pat Leece, and made the first video-recording connected to the project at a Wimbledon Area Gay Society (WAGS) disco. I remember that Clive Peters came along to that and we recorded him dancing. Sound interviews were also made with teachers and with the author of Deschooling, Ian Lister, a radical thinker on education.
I met with John Warburton, a teacher fired for talking with his pupils about homosexuality in 1974, and with Mr. Rushworth, headmaster at the Holland Park Comprehensive School, who had offered John Warburton a teaching post. Another Geography teacher at Holland Park, Raymond Pask, made notes on a possible curriculum, school duties, etc. for a fictional Geography teacher in the film.
An application for finance is put to the BFI Production Board, following discussions with the Board’s head, Peter Sainsbury.
NIGHTHAWKS and Wilfried Thust’s Brixton Scenes are both rejected by the BFI Production Board. The BFI could only then finance one low-budget feature a year and opted instead for Riddles of the Sphinx. Projected budget of NIGHTHAWKS at this stage: £23,113.
Undaunted, a booklet was produced to try and raise money for the film in another way, more independently, Paul Hallam now assisting me pretty much full time. The first ‘Nighthawks’ bar image, paying homage to Edward Hopper, is improvised at 4 Corners for a photo to go on the booklet’s cover, Wilfried lighting. By now a small group of volunteers was working together on the project, including Paul, Stuart Turton, Clive Peters and Frank Dilbert.
Working already with an enlarged group, the first improvisation-based video sessions exploring scenes and situations that could be in the film are shot at the ‘Downstairs’ club in Soho (also known as ‘The Paintbox’). Alan Jones (a model with aspirations to act) and Bernard Hanson (one of the people who had responded to the Gay News article) are both tried out as Jim, proposed as the central character of the fiction. It is hard to get access to video equipment (Sony Rover Portapaks) and they endlessly break down but nonetheless we keep going.
An acting group and office support had by now formed out of those who had written in and others who had joined the effort since. Fund-raising pieces were placed in Time Out and Gay News as part of a huge effort by RLP, PH and the others to raise finance privately. Keith Cavanagh and Richard Taylor were now also part of this group. Richard at a certain point buys the project a Sony Portapak System to make the video work easier.
Small cheques arrive from all kinds of people and from gay groups to keep the operation going.
1st Draft Script is completed. The basic template, which is never really deviated from subsequently, is laid down: the storyline, hard-focused on one teacher, swings back and forth between his ‘straight’ life as a schoolteacher and his ‘secret’ life encountering different men in a gay club, repeatedly returned to. The ritual of cruising is put dead centre, expressed as a kind of choreographed ritual. It promised an exciting visual dimension to the actual filming. The ending in this first version broke up into a number of short documentaries independent of the main story, juxtaposed with it, to show wider aspects of the gay world beyond the knowledge of the central character. This ‘radical interrogation’ of the story was dropped from subsequent script drafts.
Comments are invited on every script draft from anyone interested throughout the script development period. It was open to all to read.
Ongoing practical help continues from Four Corners, Richard Craven and AIP, Richard Krupp, Keith Cavanagh, Stuart Turton, Richard Taylor and others, all giving time outside their regular jobs.
2nd Draft Script (undated but completed between 1-6-76 & 4-10-76) is written immediately after Draft 1 comments and critiques have been absorbed.
3rd Draft Script completed.
The script increasingly tried to show the variety of contact possible in the gayworld, with different scenarios written around each man met. Was the teacher happy with this life or did he want a more stable and permanent relationship? Was that possible within the gay scene? In his school life, the teacher does have stable relationships and with one young female supply teacher particularly. This divided life is shown as one full of tensions but also one which has its pleasures. The teacher’s family begins to figure briefly in the story, developed until the end but sadly cut just prior to shooting to keep the film on schedule and within budget. Similarly, a more social life for the teacher is imagined, much of which is shot, but then discarded from the final cut of the film to sharpen the dramatic conflict of the split life.
Colour stills for integrating into the new script are made at the Arabian Pub, Bethnal Green, again taking Hopper’s Nighthawks as an inspiration. Wilfried lights (Jo helping) and playing the ‘nighthawks’ at the bar are Bernard Hanson, Paul Hallam, Keith Cavanagh, Jon Angel and Derek Chandler.
An application is made to the National Film Finance Corporation with this new illustrated script. The application is jeopardized when Bill Borrows at the ACTT film union lobbies the NFFC on behalf of the project but on the basis that he will provide an ACTT crew, which would prevent Four Corners from making the film. To wriggle out of this I have to suggest the film is more a documentary than a feature film.
Projected budget increases to £35,203 and then £50,000.
NFFC turns down the application as ‘non-commercial’ even though there is evidence that films with gay subjects are beginning to break through into the more independent distribution circuit, namely Fox & His Friends, A Bigger Splash and Saturday Night at the Baths.
There follows an emergency meeting at Four Corners, a very emotional meeting of 20 or so people; options are discussed, including giving up the project altogether or shooting the whole film on video using the Sony Portapak. The decision is made instead to accept a loan of something like £1,200 (from Sara Maitland I think) and to make a Pilot film of the opening sequence of the script on 16mm film and to use it to attract investment.
4 Corners publicly screens RAILMAN, finally completed, and ON ALLOTMENTS, at the new Scala Cinema (later known as ‘The Other Cinema’).
Lawyer Michael Oliver (who is at the screening), John Schlesinger and Don Boyd pledge some finance and resources for NIGHTHAWKS soon afterwards, having been impressed by the films and keen on the basic NIGHTHAWKS idea.
Troubles begin with Bernard Hanson, who was set to play Jim. As part of a ‘Primal Therapy’ commune in Villa Road, Brixton, he begins to insist on more emotional engagement from RLP. It all gets very tricky and there are some nasty shouting sessions.
Shooting of the Pilot with Bernard nonetheless goes ahead – at the London Film School (where a disco is built, modelled on The Catacombs at Earls Court), at the Electric Cinema and Bob Murray’s apartment in the Gloucester Road area. 70 minutes is shot on 16mm. Joanna operates the camera. Wilfried lights. Ron directs, assisted by Paul Hallam. The main concentration is on the opening of the film, with Bernard Hanson and Frank Dilbert. Deborah Dyer played a small part as a friend of the teacher. The plan is to open the Pilot with Bernard and Deborah watching the final moments of Nicholas Ray’s In A Lonely Place, followed by Bernard going off to a gay club, where he meets Frank.
Editing of the Pilot by RLP and Mary Pat Leece. Tim Horrocks composes title music working with a string quartet. The dance music used during the shoot is all popular club music from the time, including tracks by Donna Summer.
John Reid, a client of Michael Oliver’s, agrees to finance 8 weeks of further work on the script (I think after seeing the Pilot). Apart from Don Boyd, the potential and actual financial support that might make the production possible comes mainly from rich gay men.
The Pilot is screened at the London Film School for cast and crew. Tim Horrocks, a teacher there, is now being considered to play Jim instead of Bernard.
Script work gets fully underway with RLP and PH working together through day and night.
Tony Garnett gives ongoing moral support, speaks to people on the project’s behalf.
Robert Merrick (one of the original people who’d written in response to the Gay News piece) and Alan Pope (an actor with Gay Sweatshop) now also being considered to play Jim. Video tests are made with both.
4th Draft Script completed. This, apart from the shooting script, is the final version.
First major pledges of production investment are offered if the film can raise the full budget, but RLP and PH are completely broke and have to take on jobs outside; RLP works as Denis Lemon’s assistant at Gay News, PH at John Menzies.
Projected Budget now £93,300.
Alongside scriptwriting and discussion of all the issues running through the script, there are endless meetings with further potential financiers. Every possible lead is followed up. One of the most bizarre is a meeting with a man in South London who claims to own a string of hotels on the continent and says he can finance the whole film. We end up on a council estate where it turns out the man is a complete fantasist, pretending to make phonecalls to Elizabeth Taylor and Warren Beatty while we are there…
More seriously, John Schlesinger hosts a fund-raising dinner. Those also present, apart from myself, include Elton John, John Reid, David Hockney, Michael Oliver, Sir Joseph Lockwood (EMI) and William Cavendish; RLP has to make the case for financing the film. An additional visit to Freddie Mercury is made the day after but he is arguing with his boyfriend over some missing jewellery and not very responsive.
More, and substantial, offers of investment follow… including from Elton John, John Reid and David Hockney. We seem to be getting somewhere but still do not have enough commitments to go ahead on the production. We worry that the time this is all taking will mean we will lose the interest of the group keeping it going, but most continue to give full support.
Nashburgh Limited is set up, a company vehicle through which a production can be properly financed and audited.
The National Film Theatre holds its first ever Gay Film Season, put together by Richard Dyer. Mary Whitehouse’s Festival of Light strongly opposes it but it goes ahead.
RLP & PH jointly write an article about it, ‘Images of Homosexuality’ for Gay Left 5, Winter 1977.
August 21– September 13 1977
RLP goes to Paris to see people at the TV station INA and other potential French investors, including a pornographic film producer. There is real help from Martine Cabare and Chantal Akerman.
Jo Davis, scheduled to be camera operator, announces she is pregnant. This now puts real pressure on fixing a start date for shooting.
Pilot screened by Francois Theault in Paris to some of the rich and famous, including Karl Lagerfeld. No commitments to finance come out of it
A formal application is made to INA, which expresses definite interest in putting in finance in return for French rights. At the same time Peter Sainsbury at the BFI talks to ZDF (a German TV channel) about the project.
ZDF agrees to invest.
Richard Dyer, NFT programmer, now being seriously considered for the central part of Jim; after some encouraging video tests, he pulls out as his partner (an actor?) is extremely jealous.
Nashburgh Limited now set up properly as a production vehicle, with RLP and PH as directors.
Serious preparation now for an actual and what seems a possibly imminent shoot.
Martin Haymes and Ken Robertson are considered for Jim; Ken, a professional actor, is ultimately cast. Everyone seems happy with this decision.
Also at the last minute, a very substantial Spanish hotel worker section of the script has to be replaced by new scenes for a new Tony Westrope character, Mike, and his flatmates, as the Spanish ‘actors’ suddenly fear being seen by friends, family and employers in a gay film, a reminder, should we have forgotten, that the film is dealing with controversial material.
Patsy Nightingale comes formally on board as Production Manager at around this time though she has had a loose arrangement with the project from the beginning. RLP had worked with her at the Other Cinema after Film School and since then she had worked as a production supervisor on several films, including Radio On.
We begin to build up a potential crew. It includes all of the Four Corner group, Richard Taylor and also Francois Theault, who is now studying at the London Film School.
INA offers investment but it’s seen as too little; the existing investors up their own stakes instead. With this, on a reduced budget, we can just about make the film. Economies have to be made everywhere. We cut at least £20,000 from the budget. We will have about £60,000 to make the film – the budget, Richard Taylor tells us, of a 2-minute Martini commercial he just worked on.
Serious contracting of production finance gets underway, Michael Oliver acting as lawyer for the film and for the investors. Michael himself invests in the film.
The set of the ‘Back Streets’ disco is built at the London Film School studio, supervised by Jan Sendor, a professional theatre designer who is a friend of Paul’s.
Final casting and fixing of locations.
3-4 days before shooting is due to begin on the scheduled first scenes (all of them in the disco), Tim Horrocks, who was to have been the composer, announces he cannot do the music. This is a major disaster as the budget cannot possibly stretch to actual hits of the day. Paul approaches old friend David Graham Ellis, a classical composer. David takes on the whole music side of the production, with some assistance from Stuart Turton, and miraculously composes and records most of the music in 3 very long days and nights.
Other major problems pre-shoot: finding a school location, avoiding any further delays given the pregnancy of Joanna.
Investments are finally contracted. Principal investors are Elton John, John Reid (his manager), John Schlesinger, David Hockney, Michael Oliver, Don Boyd & ZDF.
2-1-78 to 19-2-78
Main Shoot goes ahead, with further re-shoots (including the motorway sequence much more fully scripted) in April. The shoot involves incredibly long hours; the process is exhausting but it’s also exciting to be making the film at last. There is now a big group behind it, helping it. The Production Office is run from Four Corners and completely takes over.
Essentially a documentary size crew shoots a feature film, pulling out all the stops. There is no overtime provision but we work very long days and nights. Everyone earns £60 a week (to be supplemented later by an additional £40 a week from first revenues at the box office, though at this stage the only offer of a possible distribution is from the Other Cinema).
The shooting schedule, after the first disco scenes, often involves several location changes within a single day, which means transportation and further exhaustion.
The cast is huge as it involves so many extras. Colm Clifford works closely with Patsy in coordinating the finding of people. In the final scene at Heaven there are around 600 people and the shooting is pretty chaotic. A track by David Ellis, specially written for this final scene (‘Space Drive’), proves impossible for people to dance to and we have to fall back on tracks used before in the earlier disco scenes (parts of ‘Space Drive’ were later used in STRIP JACK NAKED).
There are mishaps, problems with radio microphones, the weather is bitterly cold and tempers sometimes fray but somehow we get through it. Ken Robertson, who appears in every scene, proves wholly dependable and a real strength to both the other actors and the crew. A major location is lost at the last minute when Amelia Landor decides she can’t handle after all a film crew and many extras in a party scene in her Victoria mansion block apartment. Derek Jarman, a featured extra in the earlier disco scenes, offers his warehouse studio in Butler’s Wharf by Tower Bridge instead.
One casualty was the loss of William Lawrence, who was to have played Robert Merrick’s ex-partner, an art dealer, in the Butler’s Wharf scene. The Production office had forgotten to call him; he lived in Brighton and couldn’t be reached. We hastily improvise with creating a new character altogether, just one hour before shooting, played by artist Peter Radmall, the partner of Maureen Dolan who played a teacher in the school scenes.
We called on many friends for the film. Judy, the main female character, was played by Rachel Nicholas James, a teacher RLP had met in 1972 when teaching English as a Second Language at an evening class in Wood Green. Her husband was initially to be played by George Peck, a university friend of Paul’s. Jo’s mother played the headmaster’s wife. Peter Thomas, who RLP knew from his own time on the gay scene, played Ken Robertson’s sidekick in the fictional club scenes. Dorrit Einersen, a visiting Danish friend of RLP’s, ends up in the Butler’s Wharf scene. On the dance floors and in the cruising corridors of the clubs and bars were writers, future academics and politicians, teachers, ex-lovers, friends and familiar faces from the actual gay scene. Missing though were many of those ‘ordinary’ club goers for whom appearing as gay in a film was one step too far.
The film was edited at Don Boyd’s company facility in Berwick Street, by Richard Taylor and Mary Pat Leece. The material threw up immediate problems: it hadn’t been shot with conventional ‘coverage’ but mostly as a series of very long sequence takes; there were no ‘cutaways’ to help abbreviate scenes; as every scene was improvised and every take of even the same scenes was different, there were no obvious cutting points; and when first put together, as a full narrative, the film ran to something like 4 hours. It was not an easy cutting job. As a professional assistant editor (he had just worked on Midnight Express), Richard had extraordinary organizational skills and this proved exceptionally important in keeping to schedule.
There were clearly many scenes that hadn’t worked and some weak performances; the central character met so many other characters it was bewildering and so several of them were cut, including Frank Honore, Leo Madigan, Chris Heaume, Colm Clifford, much of Maureen Dolan and the whole of the Brixton commune sequence. Other scenes were reduced: Tony Westrope’s flatmates were cut. Most of the staffroom scenes were cut and the school material further reduced. An extended Hampstead Heath sequence was cut. Much of Robert Merrick’s role was cut. A sequence shot in the Barbican was cut. Scenes with Rachel Nicholas James were cut. And so it went on. Some of this material I reprised in STRIP JACK NAKED, 12 years later, which told part of the story of making the film.
Lack of experience and a certain unbridled ambition to somehow ‘catch it all’ meant, in retrospect, that too much was shot perhaps, that time might have been better spent on refining further the more important scenes, but at the time of shooting we wanted the film to have a panoramic character, to give as wide a picture as possible of gay life.
In the end the decision was made to cut the film around the essentials and the visually and dramatically strongest material, especially the disco scenes.
At a roughcut screening, when the film still ran about two-and-a-half hours, most of the investors don’t like how the film is shaping up; they want the Brixton and the Hampstead Heath scenes cut. But the investors prove very divided between themselves – while Schlesinger attacks much of it, Don Boyd and ZDF are very supportive of it and moved by it. David Hockney confesses he prefers watching California boys.
The cutting went on for something like 4 months I think and I believe we got the best out of the material and retained its very different, even radical approach, to telling a story.
Peter Rann supervises an excellent sound mix after several weeks of laying tracks for the film. Titles are cheaply added (we could not afford rolling titles as planned). It was finally done. Finished. But the job for Paul and I was far from over.
The Sun publishes a scare article re-children ‘starring in a gay film’ (on Page 3, next to the nude pin-up). The kids themselves reply and give The Sun writer a lambasting.
First screening of completed film at a cast and crew screening at the Scala Cinema. Mixed reactions.
Total Cost of Production? Approximately £60,000 [check].
Summary of investments:
ZDF 63,000 DM?
John Reid 27.9% £13,082.20
John Schlesinger 13.4% £ 6,266.80
Circle Land 8.9% £ 4,178.20
William A. Bong 25.5% £11,935.80
Tradhart Ltd 7.6% £ 3,580.00
Kendon Films 16.7% £ 7,804.60
Richard Krupp 200.00
Francois Theault 1,000.00
Richard Taylor 1,600.00
I believe the last three investments were repaid out of first receipts from the film. Richard’s investment covered the cost of buying the Sony Portapak Video kit.
The main investors got back only about 25% of their original investments. The film was never to recover its cost. Distribution costs, marketing, accountancy and legal fees swallowed up just about everything the film brought in.
ZDF’s investment is covered by its license fee in perpetuity in those German-speaking territories serviced by ZDF broadcasting.
First Festival screening at Edinburgh gets mostly good reviews and alerts distributors to its existence. First press reviews appear and are good.
ZDF transmission (first of several by ZDF). Huge national press coverage in Germany (see Press Files with translations by Johann Schmidt); they are mostly excellent.
Several UK art house distributors compete for the film, including the Other Cinema, the Screen On the Hill and Cinegate.
We go with Cinegate as the UK distributor; Cinegate advances moneys to blow the film up from 16mm to 35mm to maximize theatrical distribution and to overcome the sound limitations of 16mm optical prints. 4-5 prints are checked and graded at Technicolor.
Chicago Film Festival screening at the cinema where Dillinger was shot dead. 900 or so people attend. There are queues around the block and people sitting in the aisles. Reaction is mixed, divided, extreme, which was to become a pattern. One young man in the audience, Patrick Gourley, says it’s one of the best films he’s ever seen.
London Film Festival Screening.
Osprey takes on the film as world sales agent. Our main daily contact there, Geraldine Hersey, was previously Robert Aldrich’s assistant.
The film begins its first commercial theatrical run at the Gate Cinema, Notting Hill, where it runs for 10 weeks before transferring to the Cinecentre off Leicester Square for another 3 weeks… There are pretty good box office returns and generally good reviews.
The Icebreakers group demonstrates against the film, handing out leaflets outside the Gate Cinema, attacking its picture of gay life, which it continues in the alternative press. There is a later, very rowdy and crowded post-screening discussion following a showing at the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton. Very strong arguments are made for and against the film. Paul and Colm Clifford are heroic in the film’s defence.
Cannes Film Festival screening in the Director’s Fortnight. The film misses winning the top prize by one vote (winner is an American independent film, Northern Lights).
There is considerable press coverage of the Cannes Festival screening, again good. National and global distribution and many film festival screenings follow because of the Cannes exposure and continue right up to present time (2018).
By the end of 1979 the film has generated a lot of press and got very divided reactions, but this creates lively debate and the film remains a talking point.
The Greek military government bans the film in Greece on the grounds it will corrupt Greek youth. Letters are martialled protesting it, including from critics Dilys Powell and Alexander Walker, and Ken Loach. But the ban sticks for years.
Around this time we tried to get support for writing a book about the making of the film. The BFI turns it down. Dave Hopkins in Bristol tries to find a way to publish it himself independently. This, too, founders.
The film’s US distributor makes a deal to keep the film out of cinemas for a year as Sylvester Stallone is releasing his own very different Nighthawks. There is much legal back and forth over this and over the settlement money the US distributor keeps for himself. But we can’t contest it as we are advised that just going to court, win or lose, will cost $100,000+.
C4 is attacked by the Daily Star for buying films like NIGHTHAWKS and Sebastiane for transmission; its front page main headline – ‘Channel 4 Shockers’.
The Channel 4 TV transmission goes ahead, introduced by Times film critic David Robinson, amidst much controversy, press attacks and even death threats. As of now (2018) the film has not been shown on UK TV since.
BFI is contracted for UK distribution, following the demise of Cinegate. BFI takes over the Cinegate library.
BFI production produces NIGHTHAWKS 2: STRIP JACK NAKED, a reflection by RLP on growing up gay in Britain and on the making of NIGHTHAWKS. 30 minutes of cut material and parts of the Pilot are included in the film. [See separate Asset Register entry on this]
VHS release (BFI/Connoisseur).
BFI contracted for global sales (seconded to Hanway Films).
First DVD release (through SecondRunDVD), instigated by Matt Lucas, who is involved in the company with Mehelli Modi. SecondRun also releases STRIP JACK NAKED simultaneously in excellent editions.
To accompany the DVD releases Paula Nightingale makes NIGHTHAWKS REFLECTED, a documentary about the making of the film, with Matt Lucas interviewing some of the crew and cast, including RLP and Paul Hallam, Richard Taylor, Ken Robertson, Maureen Dolan and Stuart Turton, plus Don Boyd. Wilfried Thust and Patsy Nightingale are also interviewed but cut by SecondRun from the final film. Joanna Davis was sadly out of the country at the time and we cannot trace Rachel Nicholas James.
BFI renewal of UK distribution.
New DVD/BLU-RAY release (BFI), complete with a generous array of extras (including STRIP JACK NAKED). It also includes a 74 page booklet with new essays on all of the films + additional personal pieces, inc:
Nighthawks & 1970s British realist cinema – James Leggott
Nighthawks II: Strip Jack Naked – Stephen Thrower
How not to disappear from that choice: Four Corners 1972-1985 – Carla Mitchell
Nighthawks: A few reflections – Ron Peck
Lindsay Anderson letter
In the Shadow of the Mosque – Paul Hallam
Cahiers Du Cinema review October 1979
Sight & Sound review of Strip Jack Naked
Michael Brooke on Its Ugly Head
Ian Christie MFB piece on On Allotments, July 1977
MFB review of Edward Hopper, April 1981
Mark Finch MFB piece on What Can I Do With A Male Nude?
Paul Hallam on The Last Biscuit, February 2009
Autobiographical piece by Ron Peck
Biographical piece on Paul Hallam
Autobiographical piece by Joanna Davis
Autobiographical piece by Wilfried Thust
Biographical piece on Andrea Luka Zimmerman
Revival and reissue screenings are simultaneously organized by the BFI to mark the 30th anniversary since film’s initial release; Matt Lucas & PH present a restored version of the film at the NFT 27-3-09 (RLP unable to attend due to recording commitment at boxing event in Purfleet). The film then had a national reissue, showing in 40 venues around the country.
Andrew Asibong organizes a special screening of the film at Birkbeck College. RLP and PH make a rare appearance together to discuss the film with the audience. It is recorded on video and put out onto YouTube. Richard Taylor also attends, as does Rachel Nicholas, who has finally been tracked down.
Nashburgh Limited is closed and outstanding investment repayments written off on the advice of lawyer and accountant. RLP Projects Limited takes on the rights of the film.
Screenings in about 20 UK cinemas as part of a BFI-organised programme marking 50 years since homosexuality was decriminalized in Britain.
Two documentaries made for British TV’s own commemoration of the change in the law use extracts from NIGHTHAWKS: Epidemic (C4 9-7-17) & Queerama (BBC-4 31-7-13), the latter co-produced with the BFI.
Over the whole period since the film was completed (40 years ago) the film has entered general cinema repertory, especially gay contextualised screenings; controversy still follows it everywhere, all of the time.
By now the film has shown worldwide in those countries at least with a liberal attitude to homosexuality. In late May 2018 it had its first Ukraine screening at the Molodost Kiev Film Festival. It is soon to show in a film festival in India.
Also in 2017 Matt Lucas published his autobiography Little Me,which included an appreciation of NIGHTHAWKS. He had already written about it in Time Out & The Guardian.
Huge volumes of material have now been written on the film over the years in published articles and in books and now online, too much any longer to keep track of, though a book on the making of the film has still not been written despite earlier attempts by RLP and PH to secure some support for it.
The film has shown in all major cities in Britain and very many times in London. It has shown, to my knowledge, in Ireland, in cities all over the USA, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, Ankarah, Istanbul, Paris, Greece (finally), Italy, France, German TV, Berlin (where it was shown in the open air), Spain, Portugal, HongKong, India, Australia, Ukraine, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Switzerland, Israel, South Africa, Canada, Portugal.
It is interesting to note where it hasn’t shown: China, the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, most of South America… with possibly one exception:
Peter Radmall, who plays the artist at Butler’s Wharf in the film, told the following story some years after its initial release: he was drinking in a pub in Leytonstone when a stranger approached him and said he recognized him from having seen him in a film. Peter said he had only ever appeared in one film: NIGHTHAWKS. It transpired the man had seen it in a village hall in Kenya. This was pre-video release. How it got there or was allowed to be shown there is a complete mystery.
40 years on, for many the film is now a ‘classic’, ‘a cult film’, and seems to have its place secure in film history, though there remain other critics and commentators who still greatly dislike it and continue to attack it on every ground possible. This endless debate, built into the very ethos of its production method, plus the film increasingly being seen from new perspectives, seems to keep it alive and kicking and its continuing ‘relevance’, or ‘timelessness’ is repeatedly attested to, even now. It seems to have transcended the actual time of its production even though it records a specific time and place.
It’s worth remembering finally that this was a film made for incredibly little money, perhaps 10% of the average British feature then, on 16mm, and by people who had never made a feature film before. It was improvised by a cast largely made up of non-professionals who also had never acted before. It was shot in a way that ignored many of the rules of conventional film construction here – in long sequence takes without cutaways. There were a lot of tracking shots but they were done with a hospital wheelchair as we couldn’t afford a professional dolly. And the camera operator was 5 months pregnant during the shoot.
It is incredible but true that the film involved around at least a thousand people (600 in the last scene alone), all of whom contributed something. There are many names I find I want to mention: Bill Thornycroft, Norman Bateson, Raymond Pooley, Kris Watson, Chris Cooper, Allan Stafford and many many others, but there are just too many.
The production was an extraordinary experience that I think could not easily be repeated.
I believe copyright was vested in Nashburgh Limited, the production company, rather than in Four Corner Films
The film was certainly until recently owned by Nashburgh Limited, but on trust for the investors, who still contractually held all rights ultimately.
On advice from lawyers Peter Armstrong and Jonathan Berger, and accountant Raj Malde, the outstanding unrepaid investment was written off, some 35 years years after the film’s initial release, on the grounds that the film would never now fully recover its original costs and keeping the film in distribution was seen to be now the main priority.
Again, on similar advice, and to keep the film’s distribution on a viable economic basis, with the agreement of Paul Hallam, Nashburgh Ltd was closed down in 2014 and in 2013 rights transferred to RLP Projects Ltd, which currently holds all rights to the film and all elements connected with it.
All paperwork, stills, film and video elements are now with RLP Projects or with the National Film Archive (as indicated below), though Paul Hallam has donated all his personal material on the film to the Bishopsgate Institute.
In the next week or so, RLP will also donate most of the materials connected to the project to the Bishopsgate Institute. The ‘location of materials’ indicators below now give Bishopsgate Institute as the archive home for these materials.
By the end of 2018, when RLP hopes to have archived all past projects, all remaining NIGHTHAWKS materials, other than current distribution agreements, will be archived at Bishopsgate. Scans of stills that will remain useful to future distribution will be kept on RLP’s computer desktop (see breakdown below). Press files on the film will be the final project materials to be deposited at Bishopsgate (expected to be late 2018) as these need to be more carefully catalogued and extracted first.
Rights were originally held by Nashburgh Ltd, the production company specifically set up for the film, but with arrangements in place with Michael Oliver as investors’ representative, for whom the company held rights in trust.
Don Boyd’s rights passed on to EuroLondon/Tigon.
Nashburgh Limited was closed down in 2014 and all rights held by the company transferred to RLP Projects Limited in 2013.
Agreement for UK distribution signed with Cinegate
Around 1987 Cinegate (known also as Cinegate/Trekgrange at this point) goes out of business.
BFI takes over the Cinegate catalogue of films.
Nashburgh Limited formally contracts with BFI for UK Theatrical & Non-Theatrical rights, Video, VOD, and TV Broadcast (signed 17-9-88 and subsequently renewed). This agreement remains current as of this date (31-7-18).
Agreement for World Sales signed with Osprey, which then licensed sales with the following overseas distributors:
Videoscope Australia Pty Ltd Australia & NZ (Video)
Valhalla Films Pty Ltd Australia & NZ (Theatrical)
Hamilton Int. Cinema Ltd Canada
Obel Films Denmark, Iceland
NEF Diffusion S.A. France & French Territories
Z. Panagiotides & Co. O.E. Greece, Cyprus
Film International Netherlands, Belgium,
Le Centre D’Animation
All above Agreements have long since expired.
EuroLondon (John Henderson) acquires control of Osprey (by 15-5-06 EuroLondon becomes Tigon, acquiring also all of Don Boyd’s films and interests).
ZDF retains unlimited broadcasting rights in perpetuity (terrestrial, cable, satellite) for Germany, Austria & Switzerland (but had cable & satellite only for former GDR).
Video Distribution Agreement made with BFI/Connoisseur label (now expired).
VHS Release around this time (date to be confirmed).
Agreement with EuroLondon (Tigon) cancelled due to broken agreements re-accounting.
Sales Agency Agreement with BFI, which later subcontracted world sales to Hanway Films (indefinitely renewable).
Hanway made one sale only to:
Waterbearer Films USA
Matt Lucas calls inquiring about availability of UK DVD rights for a new company he is involved in with Mehelli Modi, SecondRunDVD.
DVD agreement made with SecondRunDVD (now expired).
SecondRun shoots documentary with Matt Lucas (director, Paula Nightingale) at Heaven Nightclub in Charing Cross. Matt interviews Ron Peck, Paul Hallam, Ken Robertson, Stuart Turton, Richard Taylor, Maureen Dolan and Don Boyd. Also interviewed but cut from final film were Wilfried Thust and Patsy Nightingale. Joanna Davis was out of the country and Rachel Nicholas could not be found.
At the same time Ron Peck records a piece to camera on improvisation, to be another DVD extra; it includes an alternative take of a scene between Ken Robertson and Tony Westrope. Gregory Maillot shoots this piece in Ron’s office.
SecondRun DVD release date? 2005?
By late 2008, it was becoming impossible to get proper accounting from SecondRun and there was zero revenue coming back to Nashburgh Limited. As the agreement comes close to expiry, BFI inquires about releasing a new ‘super-edition’ (30th Anniversary) both as DVD & as Blu-Ray and offers a £5,000 advance. As Nashburgh owes a huge amount in accountancy bills and as RLP has ended up personally subsiding the company, the offer is accepted.
BFI DVD/Blu-Ray release date? 2008?
UK Distribution Agreement with BFI, including TV sales, DVD & related rights, online distribution, etc. i.e. current
10 years (till 2018)
To RLP Projects (previously to Nashburgh Limited):
50% net theatrical/non-theatrical
15% receipts video sales
25% receipts video rental
40% of VOD
70% of TV rights sales
BFI World Sales Agreement renewed (7 years, till 2018), subcontracted to Hanway Films ie. Current
25% commission to BFI/Hanway + expenses deductible
As of today (31-7-18), this agreement is being renewed with a reorganized BFI Distribution Dept. and is unlikely any longer to involve Hanway.
Essentially, all distribution rights (UK & world), all media, are now licensed to the BFI.
Current Agreements (‘NIGHTHAWKS/Distribution’) still in force are kept with:
Almost all film elements (16mm & 35mm) are permanently deposited with the National Film Archive (see Cabinet File ‘NIGHTHAWKS/Archive’), including:
Pilot Film (‘NIGHTHAWKS PILOT)
16mm optical print
delivered to James White, BFI, 14-1-09
then from him to National Film Archive NFA
16mm Cutting Copy w/sound dub NFA
16mm negative should have been sent to Archive with film
negative of film proper from Kay Laboratories July 1984 NFA
Past problems in locating some of these Pilot materials may
be because the Pilot is now stored with all the other
Film Proper (NIGHTHAWKS)
16mm Cutting Copy + Sound Edit Reels NFA
Master Dub NFA
Copymaster Dub NFA
2″ Music Master Tape NFA
2 x mag stripe prints were made as the 16mm optical sound
was so bad
Copy 1 NFA
Copy 2 Richard
Richard may have since stored his copy at the East Anglia
There is a note in the Distribution File (‘N Production
History Vol. 14′) that 2 x 16mm prints went to BFI May 1987
when BFI took over Cinegate’s library; these must be optical
16mm original negative + optical sound negative
inc. all material not used in the final film
sent to Archive July 1984 by Kay Laboratories NFA
35mm CRI NFA
Previously with Metrocolor (formerly Kays Labs)
35mm prints NFA
Unsure how many exist, but includes 1 x low
contrast print that was held by Osprey
Note in ‘N Production File Vol. 13’ that 4 x 35mm prints
went from Cinegate/Trekgrange to BFI (March/April
1988), following Cinegate bankruptcy and BFI takeover
of Cinegate library May 1987;
also that RLP/Team sent to BFI 2 x 35mm prints
All detailed paperwork on elements in the NFA (inc.
correspondence) filed in NIGHTHAWKS Cabinet File
(‘NIGHTHAWKS/Archive’). No formal signed agreement
with the Archive can be found here but there is considerable
correspondence on the donations.
A 26-7-93 BFI letter confirms that the negative will be insured
by the BFI.
Some 29 reel-to-reel videotapes covering extant improvisation tests and locations shot in 1975/77 were lost by BFI Production after the making of STRIP JACK NAKED and closure of BFI Production that followed soon after (c.1991). No trace has ever been found of them since, tragically.
Listings and analysis of these tapes in Shelf File ‘NIGHTHAWKS/History of Production Vol. 3′
Pilot (‘NIGHTHAWKS PILOT’)
HD Master (Restored) BFI
1 x submaster from BFI Digitally Restored Master RLP Projects
Copy of Pilot + deleted elements from NIGHTHAWKS Bishopsgate Inst
on OUT-TAKES 1 & 2 (2 tapes)* Box File N-1
Copied from BFI BetaSP (BetaSP since lost by BFI)
1 x copy on Outtakes-1 DVD Bishopsgate Inst
from BFI VHS dub from BetaSP Box File N-3
Additional DVD copies of same RLP Projects
1 x DVD of Pilot only w/flat sequence added RLP Projects
Film Proper (‘NIGHTHAWKS’)
2″ Video Master Osprey, then Euro London
EuroLondon paid to covert this to 1″ helical scan (21-5-90)
and held this; BFI may have had access to it for early VHS
2″ was held at Kays Lab (later Metrocolor)/EuroLondon,
reference 19-4-88. It appears the 2″ was then held by Rank
Video Services which later merged with TVi
1″ Video Masters (x3) Euro London (1)
C4 TV Security/
ZDF TV (3)/
‘Submaster 1’ RLP Projects
1 x Submaster dubbed from C4 Transmission Copy RLP Projects
Should be additional submasters held by BFI (for Connoisseur
Video VHS release) & Waterbearer Films (US Distributor) BFI
Made by SecondRunDVD for DVD release SecondRunDVD
Digitally Restored Master (HD)
Made by BFI for DVD/Blu-Ray release
(taken from original neg I think) BFI
1 x Submaster from Digibeta RLP Projects
1 x Submaster from BFI Digitally Restored Master RLP Projects
Release version (BFI/Connoisseur) RLP Projects
Release version (Waterbearer) RLP Projects
C4 transmission off-air recording (25-10-85) Bishopsgate Inst
w/David Robinson Introduction * Box File/N-3
Out-Takes Material (2 x VHS tapes)
Dubbed from BFI BetaSP Telecine made by TVi 1-8-90 * Bishopsgate Inst
BFI have made an SD Digibeta copy of these tapes/
22-1-09 email from James White confirms this
(mail filed in Shelf File ‘NIGHTHAWKS Production History
Vol. 14′) BFI
NIGHTHAWKS Out-Takes & PILOT FILM *
- Colm & Ken at Bar
- Brixton Commune – group scene
- Brixton Commune – bedroom scene
- Ken gets door slammed in his face
- Ken and Chris Heaume at the Champion; talk about ‘coming on too strong or not’ with someone
- Staff Party tableaux: Ken joins the group
- Ken waits in pub for Rachel; she arrives, apologising for being late; he leaves her to get her a drink, then rejoins her
- Disco Scene: wide shot narrowing down on Stuart Turton (alternative take); with voiceovers: mixed conversations re-men, pick-ups, late buses, etc (voices include those of Colm Clifford, John Warburton, Robert Merrick, Stuart Turton, Bill Thornycroft, Alan Ellaway, William Lawrence, Mark Wilson and others)
- Disco Scene: Calm Seas track behind Clive Peters dancing & montage of discovery of gay places + Ken at bar with Leo Madigan, Chris Heaume, Tony Westrope, Colm Clifford, Paul Walentowicz
- Staffroom Scene: Crossword Puzzle + Rachel introduced to the staff; gossip about her after she’s left
- Staffroom Scene: everyone sleepy, talking about the weekend
- Disco Scene: Ken & ‘Eisenstein’ group watch Clive Peters (seen VCU)
- Rachel’s Party: opening pans & chatter (sync track), then dance (Bill Thornycroft V/O); bedroom row; Rachel returning to dance
- Teachers in pub after ‘Coming Out’ scene
- Long Montage: Prince Albert (Paul Walentowicz, Ken, Peter Thomas); cruising corridor at length; Ken, Peter Thomas, Julian Howes, Jean-Marc Prouveur, Derek Jarman and others (inc’s V/O of missing the last train home); Hampstead Heath (very long version); club montage (Ken, Frank Honore, Piers Headley, Tony Westrope, Jon Angel); Frank’s flat; Robert Merrick and coffee (talk of running a bath); Tony Westrope at bar; Clive Peters dancing; Clive and Alan Ellaway and Ken’s leavetaking; club; Stuart dancing; Paul Walentowicz and Ken at Prince Albert; Ken at mirror getting dressed to go out; Ken eyeing up Frank Dilbert (zoom-in); Ken at typewriter
Parts of this montage are quite different to what’s in STRIP JACK NAKED
- Allan Stafford at piano in restaurant
- Rachel and Ken with children at Rachel’s home
- Staff Dance – various shots (CUs, alternative takes)
- Ken in front of the class (unused take)
- Disco Scene: Ken and Alex Billeter (wide shot)(V/O of Billy Brown and Raymond Pooley) – sync track & extended
- Rape scene: Ken and Alex Billeter
- Ken and Richard Krupp at bar (longer version)
- Ken gets ready for bed (‘Japanese’ shot)(longer version)
- VCU Piers Headley’s eyes (David Ellis ‘Space Drive’ music)
Pilot Film Bishopsgate Inst
Car Drive to Disco (original soundtrack by Tim Box file/ N-1
NIGHTHAWKS Out-Takes + PILOT FLAT SCENE + ITS UGLY HEAD *
- Barbican photography sequence with Ken
- Barbican slides w/dialogue of Ken & Robert Merrick
- Ken & Robert Merrick on couch, Ken’s flat; talk about photography and Hong Kong, opera – a date out arranged
- Ken & Robert on cushions, Robert’s flat; arrangements to meet again
- Ken meets Tony Westrope’s flatmates
- Ken & Tony Westrope on bed, Tony’s flat; Ken wants to stay overnight, is allowed to (opposite of what’s in film)
- Alan Ellaway, Clive Peters & Ken; Alan describes his night before
- Clive Peters dancing
- Ken at bar (as behind credits)
- Ken & Paul Walentowicz at table, Prince Albert (not used before)
- Ken & Rachel at motorway café; long, very depressed version
- Ken & Rachel meet head and staff at school dance
- Ken & Rachel in pub; talk about clothes and school dance
- Dance floor at Heaven; John Warburton dancing with Bill Thornycroft, people on steps
- In A Lonely Place; Bernard & Deborah in Electric Cinema (PILOT)
- Frank Dilbert & Bernard enter Frank’s flat (PILOT)
Flat Scene only (as edited down)
+ Bishopsgate Inst.
ITS UGLY HEAD Box File/N-1
Additional sound elements listed in Asset Register under
‘NIGHTHAWKS 2/Box File/N-2′, including all sound takes of
coming out scene with kids & wildtrack club chat;
see Asset Register entry on N2/STRIP JACK NAKED for
All asterisked items above have been copied to DVD
Out-Takes 1 & 2 (from VHS) Bishopsgate Inst
Additional Copies of both also with Paul Hallam
& RLP Projects
PILOT Film with Flat Sequence added RLP Projects
C4 off-air recording (25-10-85)
with David Robinson Introduction Bishopsgate Inst
BFI Release version (DVD & Blu-Ray) RLP Projects
NIGHTHAWKS REFLECTED Bishopsgate Inst
SecondRun documentary by Paula Nightingale, with Matt Box File/N-3
Lucas , cast & crew
Sound Tape Elements
All stored in Box Files N1 & N2 Bishopsgate Inst.
Quarter Inch Sound Tapes
6 x edited compilation tapes taken from original film shoot
recordings (Jan – Feb 1978), both sync and wildtrack. Box File/N-1
- Wildtrack Chat for Club Scenes, which includes
conversations about money, cruising, pick-up
Derek Jarman talking about a woman with
Ken Robertson and Peter Thomas; used in first
scene in NIGHTHAWKS but much more extended
Julian Howes talking to Cloakroom Attendant;
used in opening club scene in NIGHTHAWKS but
more extended here
Derek Jarman tries to pick up Jean-Marc Prouveur
Ken Robertson and Cloakroom Attendant (Jeff)
Raymond Pooley talks about clubs; used in N2:
STRIP JACK NAKED but more extended here
Bar group talks about Amsterdam and straight men
Ken Robertson and Jon Angel; not used in either film
Ken Robertson and Leo Madigan; not used in either
Alan Ellaway monologue; alternative and more
extended take than version used in N2: STRIP
Ken Robertson and Richard Krupp
Ken Robertson & Chris Heaume
Ken Robertson & Colm Clifford
- Music & specific conversations (unused scenes shot):
Music Track: ‘Waltz’
Ken Robertson and Rachel Nicholas James; he shows her
around his flat
Ken Robertson and Robert Merrick; cameras and
Ken Robertson and Rachel Nicholas James; getting a car
Allan Stafford plays the piano (extended)
Ken Robertson and Chris Heaume; Ken in a bad temper
- Wildtrack Chat & specific conversations (unused scenes):
Ken Robertson and Frank Honore
Anon Bar Conversation; socks and non-conformity (rec’d
at The Salisbury pub?)
Ken Robertson and Maureen Dolan; Sunday pottering
Ken Robertson and Robert Merrick; a take in the car drive
that went wrong
Ken Robertson and Tony Westrope’s flatmates; holidays
and interior decoration
Party at Judy’s; general party chat
- Richard Taylor & Mary Pat Leece on Richard’s forthcoming
motorbike trip across Asia (recorded as part of the
background chat for Judy’s party scene or warehouse party
scene but not used)
- Research Discussion with Teaching Group (c.1976)
I think teachers include Raymond Pask, a Geography
teacher from Holland Park Comprehensive, who helped
more generally in research for the whole school side of the
- Ron Peck research interview with Ian Lister (author
of Deschooling) (c.1976), which includes his response
to Tape 5
All above tapes at
NIGHTHAWKS Bishopsgate Inst.
Transcription Tapes x 2 reels Box File/N-2
Ron Peck interviews Ian Lister (Deschooling author)(c.1976)(Copy 1)
Teachers Discussion (Part 1)(c.1976)
Teachers Discussion (Part 2)(c.1976) + Ian Lister Interview (Copy 2)
NIGHTHAWKS music soundtrack (David Graham Ellis):
Title Track (in full)
Hampstead Heath (not used)
Motorway (very extended)
Bishopsgate Inst. Box File/N-1
CD copies of Quarter Inch Tapes:
1,2,3,4,5 (2 copies), 6
CD copy of Quarter Inch tape
for STIMULATING ENGLISH project
Paul Hallam may also have CD copies of 1-4
Shelf Files/’PRODUCTION HISTORY’
All Shelf Files archived at
Materials filed approximately chronologically, charting history of the project.
Abbreviations: RLP = Ron Peck, PH = Paul Hallam
Pre-Draft 1 Notes by RLP/Autobiographical Notes (undated, 1972-76?)
Summary Accounts of the Production History, inc:
Nighthawks – A Diary of Events, Roughly Recalled (undated;
Nighthawks: A History of the Production (Jan 1974 – Aug 1978)
Nighthawks: Production Story (undated; 1978?)
Nighthawks: A Brief Production History (undated; 1978?)
Nighthawks: Production History (Jan 74 – Sept 1979)(40 pages)
It’s Ugly Head
1 x still of Judy Liebert
Actor Publicity Sheet for Walter McMonagle
BFI Application & Early Discussion Papers (by RLP), inc’s
Notes towards an understanding of the Cinema, via the work of
Nicholas Ray (undated)
Notes towards an understanding of the Cinema, via Nicholas Ray’s
Rebel With A Cause, en route to Night Hawks (undated)
Narrative Summary of Events in the Film (marked up by someone)
A Suggested Opening Sequence & Its Structural Function Within
the Film (September 1975)
Night Hawks: Some Notes Towards a Script… (undated)
Nighthawks: Preamble to a Film Script… (undated)
BFI Production Board Correspondence (Peter Sainsbury)(4-11-75
to 3-5-76), inc. Proposal
Letters & Comments:
Robin Wood, Patsy Nightingale, Bob Murray (?)
Budget (by Patsy Nightingale?): £23,113
Gay News Article (GN 87, Jan 29/Feb 11 1976) & Response
Correspondence with Denis Lemon and Keith Howes (1974-1976)
Notes on the Letters & Interviews which followed…
by RLP & PH
Letters in response to Gay News article (No.87, Jan 29 – Feb 11,
RLP Summary of Letters Received
Quotes from Letters typed up by PH
Chart Summary of Responses by PH
Remarks on Follow-Up Interviews by RLP & Philip Fink
Letters & photos received in response to 1976 Gay News article
(c.150 in all?), inc. Paul Hallam’s
Letters of Support
4 Corners ‘office’ & decision to try to press on regardless
Peter Radmall drawings of RLP in ‘office’
Notes from Production Files (PH?)
Contact Sheet (B&W): PH & Clive Peters at ‘Bar’ (4 Corners)
Nighthawks Appeal (Summary of people Booklet went to &
Fundraising Letters & Replies, inc. from
Don Boyd, Michael Oliver, John Schlesinger
Info Sheets on the Film
Notes on Video Recordings made Feb/March 1976 (some 24 +
tapes recorded but now lost)
Log of Videotape Content
Responses to a Screenings of the Tapes
Pursuing Finance & Support/Keeping office going
Letters of Support & Donations
NFT Gay Season (July 1977)
Correspondence w/programmer Richard Dyer
Gay Bristol Festival Programme (1977)
Letters relating to Gay Week & Gay News pieces
Notes Prior to writing Draft 1
All kinds of notes and summaries (RLP)
Draft 1 Script (registered 1-6-76)(57 pages)(heavily marked up)
Draft 1 Script: Comments & Thoughts
Photo of Tim Horrocks at 4 Corners
Notes & Reflections on Script by RLP + Notes by Bob Cant
Notes on group Script Meeting 3-6-76
Notes on group Script Meeting 11-7-76
Notes on 4 Corner Meeting: 12-7-76
Draft 2 Script (undated but must be between 1/6 & 4/10/76)(129
Draft 2 Script: Comments & Thoughts
inc. from Jo Davis, Stuart Turton, Colm, ‘Petal’, Maureen, Rachel,
Raymond Pask & others
Draft 1 (or 2) Script: RLP Reflections & Notes
Draft 3 Script (undated)(153 pages)(heavily marked up)
Draft 3 Comments & responses, inc from
Michael Powell, Richard Krupp, Bernard Hanson, Bob Cant, Allan
Notes from a Script Meeting between RLP, Jo Davis, Maureen & Rachel
NFFC (National Film Finance Corporation) Application:
Photos & Drawings to be placed inside NFFC Script copy
Correspondence with NFFC (Budget given as £35,203-50, revised to just
Postcards from Michael Powell
Project rejection 6-10-76
Notes on Emergency Meeting at 4 Corners + list of those present
Correspondence with Tony Garnett
Finance for the Pilot
Don Boyd, John Schlesinger, Michael Oliver, Gerald Chapman
In A Lonely Place
List of attendees at meeting to decide on Pilot or other solution
Stills (B&W) x 18 from Pilot Shoot
Correspondence with Investors
Responses to Pilot
Nighthawks: The Stages by Which the Project Grew
(RLP)(undated, but ‘written after completing Pilot Film’)
Script Finance: John Reid
Teacher’s Booklet from Bishop Douglas School, 1972
(extensive defining of teacher’s daily work)
Transcript of Sound Cassette recorded with: Mike, Roger, Janet,
Martin, Jo, Wilf & Ron (no surnames given)(undated)
Chat with ‘Mr Rushworth’ (headmaster, Holland Park?)
Teachers’ meeting: Ray, Anna, John, Gerard, Richard, Paul, Ron
Article: ‘Scruffy teachers forfeit respect of children’ (Daily
Letter from a teacher with his comments on coming out (extracts)
Many notes by RLP on school routines, etc
Teacher’s Timetable for a School Week (Raymond Pask?)
Tony Garnett Correspondence
Script Draft 4 (March 1977)
Not filed here
See ‘Cabinet Files/Script‘
All kinds of notes, including on Jim and Photography
More Correspondence with Investors
Script Draft 4: Comments & Responses
Inc. from Michael Powell, Raymond Pask (?), John Schlesinger,
Lots of Notes by RLP (February 1977)
Pursuing Finance for Production + Survival
Various letters, inc. Bill Thornycroft on bust-up with Bernard
Hanson, Lindsay Anderson, Hardy Amies, actual investors &
Budget Summary March 1977 (£93,302,22)
Notes (RLP): ‘Paris Chapter August 21st – September 13th 1977
(covers Jean-Pierre Massias, INA, Chantal Akerman, Karl
Lagerfeld, Jean Marais, Jean-Louis Bory, Pierre Kalfon, Peter
Sainsbury, INA Application)
Budgets (& Schedules)
Various versions (undated), shifting total: £35,203-50 to
Contracting & Finalising Finance
The argument for going ahead
Correspondence with all investors
Selected pages from Office Diary (Oct 27 – Dec 22 1977)
Crewing & Casting
Tim Horrocks’ resignation letter, ACTT, Equity, character & cast
lists, photos from actors inc. Vladek Sheybal & Ken Roberston
Comments on improvisations with Ken
Flyers given out during shooting
Forms for people to describe the skills they could bring
Lists of extras needed for scenes
Proposed Improvisation/Rehearsal Sessions
Correspondence, Budgets, etc. on music production
Letters from people wanting recordings post-ZDF transmission
Production: Shooting Schedules
Schedules & Contact Lists
Shooting Script & Storyboard:
full of notes, additional dialogue ideas from PH, etc.
Continuity Sheets for the Shoot (2 sets):
Insurance Claims for damage done to one location
Derek Jarman’s signed release form (and others)
Production: The Shoot
Telegrams from Michael Oliver & John Schlesinger
Last Minute Script Notes & Thoughts (?)
Costumes & Props
Ron’s lighting notes & sketches from visiting clubs with Wilf
Wilf’s Notes & Lighting Sketches/Plans
BFI Project on Comprehensive Education (& very many letters
relating to schools, ILEA, etc. and many other locations)
Stills (B&W) from the Shoot + Polaroids (w/idents listing)
Proposed Reshooting (& new Sequences)
Post-Production: The Edit
All kinds of scribbled notes probably made in dark during a
Letters from investors following screening
Post-Production: The Sound Mix
Some Notes on the Soundtrack + other loose notes
Weekly Report Sheets
31 Reports by Patsy, from 28-12-77 to ?
Newsletters to Investors
From July 26th 1978 to 26-2-81
Investment Notes & record of moneys paid back
Correspondence with Investors
The Sun articles
Scala Preview (12-8-78) & Response to Film – Immediate
Letters & Comments inc. Lindsay Anderson, Tim Horrocks,
Response to ZDF Transmission
Many letters forwarded by ZDF + Reports from Sybille Rahn
The Book about Making the Film
ICM Plans to publish
NIGHTHAWKS 2 & BFI (1978)(very early thoughts)
Print of Poster Still
V. little filed here (mostly in Cabinet & Press Files)
(correspondence in alphabetical order – needs better sorting):
De Andere Film, Antwerp
London Opening & Responses
(rather confused section/needs re-sorting)
Investors Correspondence (& note that came with flowers
from Michael Oliver when RLP went to hospital with a
Icebreakers & Leveller controversies
Deciding on Distributors
C4 Transmission controversies
UK Distribution Statements
UK & Ireland Distribution (& Screenings):
Responses (various), inc.
(Responses should maybe be filed elsewhere)
Global Distribution: Osprey
Michael Oliver (issues with Osprey, Stallone’s Nighthawks)
Osprey Film Distribution Limited
Osprey Correspondence & Statements
Overseas Distributor Statements (& Correspondence)
inc’s row with Nu-Image (USA)
V. little filed here
Responses & Misc. letters, inc. Ken Robertson
BFI – General & Theatrical Distribution
Correspondence w/BFI re-General Distribution
BFI VHS Release via Connoisseur (material here also on
NIGHTHAWKS 2:STRIP JACK NAKED)
BFI DVD Release (Proposals Only)(some materials info
Russia SP Company
USA CineVista, Waterbearer
Correspondence, Minutes of Meetings, making of
NIGHTHAWKS REFLECTED, SOHO, KINGS CROSS, 149,
RLP To Camera (covers STRIP JACK NAKED also)
BFI DVD Release
Correspondence, Notes on Contents, etc. & Legal
Impt. pieces at end on donations to Archive (check file for
all Archive info, dates items delivered, etc.)
(STRIP JACK NAKED covered also)
Slovakia only (rest filed in Press Files?)
Responses to DVD (again most material filed in Press Files)
Book References (v.incomplete)
There is a separate file for NIGHTHAWKS 2: STRIP JACK NAKED
Current licensing agreements held by RLP Projects/
Except where indicated all Cabinet Files are now archived at:
Correspondence & Listings re-donations to National Film Archive,
inc. notes on negative insurance cover and donor access
Correspondence on original reel-to-reel rehearsal & research tapes
that went missing
C4 Duty Log
Audience response to C4 transmission 25-10-85
Credits Lists as they appear in the film
Ken Robertson Biographical Note
Nashburgh Ltd & Cinegate Ltd (UK Distribution)(2-1-79)
Nashburgh Ltd & Osprey Film Distribution Ltd (Sales Agent)
Summary of Overseas Agreements made by Osprey
Correspondence w/Nu-Image re-Stallone’s Nighthawks
Nashburgh & Euro London Films Ltd (Sales Agent)(1-8-88)
Nashburgh & BFI/Connoisseur Video (July 1991)
Nashburgh & BFI (UK Distribution Rights)(15-7-88 to 30-6-93)
Nashburgh & BFI (Sales Agency Agreement)(22-4-93)(5 years)
BFI & Water Bearer Films (US) Agreement (12-11-97)
Distribution/Current RLP Projects
Nashburgh & BFI Deal memo (July 2005)
Nashburgh & BFI (UK rights)(9-12-08)
Nashburgh & BFI (Memorandum of Agreement)(10-12-08)
Nashburgh & BFI (Extensions)(31-8-11)
RLP Projects & BFI (Long Form Agreement)(10-2-15)
Festivals & Screenings/Programmes
Due to bulk, some are just pulled pages from the brochures; most
of the more recent screening references and programme entries
are now filed in Press Files
Hong Kong (& Press) 1980
Los Angeles 1979?
Rio De Janeiro (+ Press) 1991?
Cine Phanton Moscow 2010
Lesbian & Gay Film Festival New Jersey 1991
ICA London 1980
Glasgow Film Theatre Glasgow 1979
Lewisham CHE Screening London 1980
NFT Season: British Directors
of the 70s London 1980
Museum of Modern Art New York 1988
Kriterion Amsterdam ?
Rio London 1980
Nashburgh Limited & John Reid Presentations Limited, William A.
Bong Limited, John Schlesinger Limited, Tradhart Limited,
Kendon Films Limited, Just Management Limited
(19-1-78)(mostly unsigned)(photocopies only)
Nashburgh Limited & Michael Oliver (Legal Charge)(1978)(only
part-signed)(photocopies only/2 kept as signed one is fading)
Nashburgh Limited & Richard Krupp, Richard Taylor, Francois
Theault (19-1-78)(2 copies kept as signed copy is fading)
Nashburgh Limited & ZDF (undated & unsigned)
Boyd’s Company & Tigon (22-6-06)
Assignment of Don Boyd’s interest in NIGHTHAWKS
Correspondence with John Schlesinger & John Reid Enterprises
with records of payments made
Correspondence with Michael Oliver re-writing off investments
Transfer of Rights Letter (Nashburgh to RLP Projects): 27-3-13
Agreement between Nashburgh Limited & David Graham Ellis (19-
Agreement between Nashburgh Limited & Stuart Craig Turton (23-
Letter Agreements between David Ellis & Stuart Turton (23-2-78)
Correspondence & Draft Agreement with Rocket Music (never
Nashburgh-PRS Agreement (9-3-78)
Booklets explaining what PRS is
Music Cue Sheet
Nashburgh Limited & Ron Peck, Paul Hallam (19-1-78)
Nashburgh Limited & Ken Robertson (20-1-78)
Legal Correspondence (Roger Selby)
For Distribution and Marketing
Press Clippings /Originals)
Mostly outsize originals too large for Press Files + extra
copies of some of the most important pieces
Gay Week Top Producer Backs Gay Film 1976?
Gay News Terrible Secrets (Robin Wood) GN 101
The Sun (Northern) Child-Porn Row Looms On Gay
The Sun (Southern) Children to Star in a Gay Film 9-7-78
Danish Magazine Interview & Article by Lise
Svane-Mikkelsen Oct 78
Sunday Times Shooting Stars of the Cinema 12-11-78
Gay News Nighthawks Diary Log GN 149
(2 copies of this)
Gay News Role Player/Interview with
Ken Robertson GN 161
Gay News Every Night Fever (Jack
Babuscio) GN 162
Guardian How the word came out (Derek
Evening Standard Gay cruise for singles (Walker) 8-3-79
Body Politic Doing Cannes, 1979 July 79
Books & Arts
Fortnighly Images of Homosexuals in Film 28-9-79
The Advocate Fledgling Filmmakers Peck &
Fledgling Star Stuart Turton 4-10-79
Daily Star More Channel 4 Shockers 30-12-82
The Pink Paper Where are they now? 27-10-88
Moscow Interview w/RLP on Nighthawks 4-4-10
Unknown/ Images of Homosexuals On Film
US by Stephen Harvey 28-9-79
Press Files – Summary of Contents (goes up to 11-5-15)
Osprey Catalogue & NIGHTHAWKS Press Pack
BFI Sales Catalogue 2000
NCCL Report No.8: Homosexuality & the Teaching Profession
(undated, but early-mid 1970s)
John Warburton: The Case So Far – John Warburton Dossier,
Open & Positive: An Account of How John Warburton Came Out at
School & the Consequences – Gay Teachers Group Publication,
This booklet was an important source for the script and
the film and RLP talked with John Warburton about the issues raised as early as 1976. John Warburton appears briefly in both the pilot and in the final film.
Greek Gays Under Attack: A Short History of the Greek Gay
Liberation Movement, Amfi/Blackrose Press, 1979
Includes references to the Greek Government’s banning
Spartacus International Gay Guide 1980
Jackarandy – Leo Madigan, Quartet Books, 1972
Leo was a guide and a great help on the production; he played the part of a disillusioned teacher in the film but almost all his scenes were cut when the film had to be reduced to reasonable length – they included scenes in the club, in school and in Regents Park. Some of his shots
were reprised in STRIP JACK NAKED.
NIGHTHAWKS by Ronald L Peck & Paul Hallam (March 1977)
(184 pages double-spaced)
I believe this was the Final Draft prior to shooting (Draft 4) other
than the storyboarded Shooting Script
See listing under Stills below
Also has Technical Spec on Length
Filed with Company Files in Cabinet File RLP Projects
Memorandum of Association 23-9-77
Certificate of Registration 28-11-77
Nashburgh Limited Certificate of VAT Registration
(many amended copies) but no paperwork for
de-registration (find & print)
[Need to find and file here paperwork re-closure of the company]
Filed on Desktop under ‘RLP Projects Current/Completed Projects/NIGHTHAWKS’ & under ASSET REGISTER
Asset Register Entry
National Film Archive
Archive Listings (BFI)
Music Cue Sheet
Scanned Photos from Internet, Facebook, etc.
BFI Distribution, inc.
BFI Sales Agency Agreement (Long Form): 9-2-15
Cover & Site Artwork
inc. images from NIGHTHAWKS REFLECTED
BFI N/Booklet (complete pdf)
BFI RLP Text (‘Nighthawks: A Few Reflections’)
Covers & Blurbs
BFI Site Entry
Info on all post-2008 screenings (inc catalogue entries, comments, articles, re-reviews, stills) up to 2018 (some sorting and printing to do here):
NFT/London April 2009
Community Channel 2013?
BFI Screen Online
BFI Southbank 28-4-15
Freeze-Frames, Scans, Contact Sheet Blow-Ups, Release Stills, etc.
NFDF App Pix
Shooting the Pilot
Shooting the Film
NIGHTHAWKS Slides (Idents Listing)
FTO on NIGHTHAWKS
Lise Grarup Interview
N/French review (unknown source)
Food & Footage
N/SecondRun DVD Review (source unknown)
N/Second Run DVD Review ARO Video
N/New City Net
N/Big Gay Picture Show
N/2015 Out review
N/New Statesman 29-4-15
Rich Kline N & N2 Reviews
Dictionary of World Cinema
N/Time Out Film Guide
All Movie Guide
N Reviews April 2015 (Links)
Other (an endlessly growing list)
Freeze-Frame: RLP & Matt Lucas
All original stills (black and white prints and colour
transparencies) are now archived with
Stored in Kodak Stills Box (x1), Shelf Files, & Cabinet
RLP retains scans in Computer Files;
filed on Desktop under ‘RLP Projects Current/
Main surviving 35mm black and white negatives kept
for the moment with
but will ultimately form part of the Bishopsgate archive
once all projects have been catalogued
Many negatives and key original colour transparencies
were lost by Cinegate, BFI/Connoisseur & Osprey,
though a few large format negs and copy negs were later
retrieved at Quickprint (Cinegate’s stills processing lab).
The Poster Image (Colour 35mm Transparency) was also
lost by Cinegate.
It may be worth investigating whether BFI, which took
over Cinegate/Trekgrange, also took over and recovered
any of the original lost negatives or transparencies
Stills Box (Kodak Photo Box)
Large Format Negatives:
Set-A (B & W)
Dupes from original 35mm negatives (includes poster image) x 11
Set-B (B & W)
Frame Blow-Ups x 12
10 x 8 Black and White prints
Scenes from film x 47 (some duplicates)
Production/Crew stills x 26 (some duplicates)
10 x 8 Colour Prints x 4
Colour Contact Sheets x 2 (frame blow-ups)
These remain for the moment with RLP Projects
Additional Negatives (B&W & Colour):
Test Shots of Ken Robertson (3 x sheets) at Barbican Neg File 1
Bar shots for early illustrated script (Arabian Pub) Neg File 1
Location Shots (Motorway Café) Neg File 1
Test Photos for Fund-Raising Booklet Neg File 1
Portraits of Actors in Pilot Neg File 1
Cannes Film Festival Neg File 2
(Prints in Ron Peck Personal Diaries)
Shelf Files/ ‘History Of Production’
As already detailed, stills are also integrated in the Production History Shelf Files:
Fundraising Booklet stills
Contact Sheet Vol. 3
NFFC illustrated script with colour stills Vol. 5
PILOT film shoot
Large format B&W prints Vol. 6
Test shots of Ken Robertson at Barbican Vol. 7
Stills from the main shoot Vol. 10
B&W print version Vol. 11
RLP & PH at Cannes Vol. 11
Film can with Colour Test Negs for
Pilot Lighting Bishopsgate Inst.
Frames from cut up 35mm film copy for frame
Filed under ‘NIGHTHAWKS/Stills’:
Contact Sheets of early Screen Tests (shot in RLP’s room
at 4 Corners), made at the time of the Pilot Film [Negs in
RLP Neg File 1]
Contact Sheet: shooting the Pilot Film (1 sheet)
[Negs for same in RLP Neg File 1 (2 sheets)
Contact Sheet of Screen Tests of Ken Robertson [Negs in
RLP Neg File 1]
Contact Sheets (B & W) of Main Shoot: 313 frames
All the negatives are missing and so all these contact sheet
frames have now been scanned;
the entire set is filed in the Computer Files under:
‘RLP Projects Current/Projects Completed/
Useful handwritten listing of all the NIGHTHAWKS colour
transparencies which are all in the Cabinet Files
Colour Transparencies/Slides (by Sheet No):
A 1-21 Early Tests, c.1975-1976
B 22-45 Early Location Slides & Tests for Pilot Film
C 46-62 Shooting Pilot Film; 62A-62E + Martin Haymes Test Shots
D 63-83 Location Research: Moorgate, Scratchwood, Barbican
E 84-99 Location Research: Docklands, East End, Covent Garden
F-R 100-389 Record of the Main Shoot (Scene Order)
R 2 shots of Gate Cinema front of house billing NIGHTHAWKS
Indexed Listing of all colour slides with actor identifications
Negatives as listed above stored in RLP Negative Files 1 & 2
Filed on Desktop: ‘RLP Projects/Current/NIGHTHAWKS/Stills’:
Freeze-Frames, Scans, Contact Sheet Blow-Ups, release Stills, etc.
Shooting the Pilot
Shooting the Film
1 x copy of original poster used for initial London Release
(original 35mm transparency from which it was taken was lost by
1 x copy of original poster for initial Danish Release (Re-titled I LIKE MEN)
For the moment these remain archived with
These will go to Bishopsgate once all other project materials have been archived and deposited there.
Press Files have been indexed and the listings of articles (up to 2015) are filed in the Cabinet File under:
Unfortunately, these are not chronologically filed except at the start and later volumes contain anything discovered from past or present. Also, NIGHTHAWKS and NIGHTHAWKS 2: STRIP JACK NAKED were increasingly written about together so there is a lot of crossover between NIGHTHAWKS and NIGHTHAWKS 2 in the Press Clippings Files.
A very rough guide is as follows:
Earliest pieces re-setting up of film, Sun articles, initial reactions from
Edinburgh & London Film Festivals & ZDF TV Screening
More ZDF reactions, London & Edinburgh Film Festival pieces, production history accounts, London opening reviews
London opening reviews, UK regional press reviews
Cannes, Chicago & Los Angeles Film Festival reviews, US release reviews
French release reviews
US regional press reviews, French & UK reviews, ‘C4 Shockers’ piece
from Daily Star
Hong Kong reviews
Vol. N-9, N2-1, MN-1
General pieces; new reviews following second ZDF transmission
Vol. N-10, N2-3
Book extracts, more reviews (general), SecondRun DVD reviews,
Waterbearer VHS release (US) reviews & publicity materials, 2009 reissue and subsequent screenings, BFI DVD/Blu-Ray release reviews
Vol. N-11, N2-4
Lincoln Centre (NY) screening pieces (2015), reappraisals, revival screenings
Vol. N-12, N2-5
Reappraisals, film guide entries, more book extracts
Additional Related Materials
A lot of press articles on issues related broadly to NIGHTHAWKS and to media images of homosexuality were kept before, during and immediately after the production.
Box File N-3
Contents listed below:
An Ill Wind for Gays – Chris Reed, Guardian 19-9-78
Teacher Against Born Again Backlash – Chris Reed, Guardian 19-9-78
Ad for Zipper magazine
Liberal Club in Sex Inquiry – Robert Strange, 7-9-78
Programme for Dear Love of Comrades (Gay Sweatshop)
Picture of Christopher Street, New York
Not Guilty… a Moral Tale – Gay News 162
Ad for Heaven UltraDisco
Ad for Scandals
Flyer for Heaven UltraDisco New Year’s Eve night
David of Heaven – source unknown
Secret Survey – Michael Mason, Gay News (undated)
Heaven News Sheet
Review of John Rechy’s City of Night & of Gerald Walker’s Cruising – Peter
Burton, Gay News (undated)
Article on Tennessee Williams – Gay News 150
Facts at your Fingertips – Gay News 120
Piece on Not in Norwich – Gay News 120
Bang’s New Look (undated)
Review of BBC’s Life Histories
Gay News & Editor Guilty – Nicholas de Jongh, Guardian 12-7-77
The Inadmissable Evidence at the Old Bailey Trial – Guardian 13-7-77
Wanna Go to Heaven? (undated)
Gay News Editor Advised to Go – Nicholas de Jongh, Guardian (undated)
No Place for the Outcasts – David Hencke, Guardian (undated)
Blasphemy: Is the Law Relevant? Guardian Leader (undated)
Gay Monitoring & Archive Project
Mary Whitehouse cartoon
Sacking Vote on Gay Teachers – John England, Evening Standard 28-9-78
The Love That Dares To Speak Its Name – James Kirkup poem, Socialist
I was only whistling says beaten-up Curry – Michael Owen, Evening
‘Sun’ Case for Press Council – Gay News 122 (June 30/July 13 1977)
House of Lords Lobby – Gay News Editorial (undated)
Photo of artist Jean-Marc Prouveur
‘Injuries & Lust & Pain’ At the Old Bailey – Duncan Campbell Time Out
Commissioner Upholds Dairy Dismissal – Gay News 122 (June 30/July 13
1977)(piece on Colm Clifford included in STRIP JACK NAKED)
Gigolo Club Raid – Ten Men On Trial (undated)
Gay Pride Carnival Programme 8-7-78
Ads: ‘The Matching Accessories’ + The Pigeons Disco
Where Do We Go From Here? – Ian Buist, Gay News July 14/27, 1977
Launching New Gay World-Beater – Gay News 150
Gay Militants Fight Council ‘Harassment’ – Brixton News 23-4-76
Reviews of Katz’s Gay American History and Rowse’s Homosexuals in
History – Scott Wirth, San Francisco Review of Books June 1978
Dilemma of ‘Cure’ For Sex Offender – Evening Standard 28-11-78
Gay Teachers Seeking Strength in Numbers – Gay News (undated)
Mayor & His Gay Aide Shot Dead in ‘Grudge’ – Evening Standard (undated)
Review of Edmund White’s States of Desire – Vito Russo Gay News 188
My Night at Gay Club, By MP – Daily Express 14-2-81
‘Labour Must Take a Lead’ – Michael Mason Gay News (undated)
Ad for Hoofer
International Mr Leather
The New Gay Party Line – Steve Wolf Christopher Street
Review of Childe Byron – John Russell Taylor Gay News (undated)
France Lowers Gay Age of Consent – Paul Webster Guardian 22-12-81
Officials Deny Cover-Up of Boys’ Home Scandal – David Beresford
Ban On Homosexual Acts Denies Rights – Anne McHardy Guardian 23-10-
Telling It Like It Is – Gay News 181
Homosexual Acts Posters (Gay Sweatshop)
Labour Party 1977 Conference Campaign For Gay Rights flyer
As Time Goes By – Theatre Programme (Gay Sweatshop)
Ad for Uranian Travel
Review of Peter Webb’s The Erotic Arts – Alison Hennegan Gay News
Wit, Wisdom & ‘Warm Fuzzy Dykes’ – Ian Jack Sunday Times 27-11-77
How To Lose Your Chains & Win Leather Bars – book reviews by Alex
Hamilton Sunday Times 4-12-77
The ‘Chicken Hawks’ of LA – John Barnes Sunday Times 4-12-77
Women Go Wild For Sex Equality – Jeremy Campbell Evening Standard
Ad for Heaven UltraDisco Christmas Party (used in STRIP JACK NAKED)
GAY FILM/TV – 1
The World of Gilbert & George flyer
Review of Montreal Main – Tony Rayns Time Out
‘Cruising’ in ‘War Zone’ – Dale Pollack Variety 12-9-79
Leo Madigan letter – Gay News? (undated)
‘Cruising’: The Controversy Continues – Vito Russo New York August 13-
The Crown Prince of Porn (Alan Purnell – Jack Babuscio Gay News 178
Freaks? (Cruising & Windows) – Gay News 185 Feb 21/March 5 1980
Cruising & Bruising – Jack Babuscio Gay News 185
Review of TV series Gay Life – John Russell Taylor Gay News 185
Photo from Rules of Justice
Another Voice (Cruising) – David Rothenberg Gay News 185
Gay Voices: The Making of a Radical Film – Jack Babuscio Gay News 135
Review of Private Vices & Public Virtues – Jack Babuscio Gay News
Children To Take Part in Plays on Homosexuals – Evening News 20-1-77
Gay Paris Season
Distributors of Pasolini Film Face Charges – Nicholas de Jongh Guardian
Law Threat Shuts West End Film – Liz Gill Evening Standard 3-8-77
Piece on Salo seizure – Derek Malcolm Guardian 5-8-77
Unblocked Talents (Sebastiane) – Tony Rayns Time Out Nov 5-11 1976
Gay Anger as ‘Cruisin” Rolls – Screen International 11-8-79
A Case For ‘Cruising’ – John Rechy Village Voice (?) (undated)
When the Village Went Wild (Cruising) – Richard Goldstein
Letters on BBC Play Coming Out – Gay News 13-6-79
Does This Film Libel the Leather Set? (Cruising) – John Heilpern Observer
Vice Versa (Army of Lovers) – Philip Derbyshire Time Out 2/8-5-80
A Bad Name? (Army of Lovers) – Vito Russo Gay News May 17/30 1979
Watch Out! There’s a Queer About – Flyer
Review of same – Jack Babuscio Gay News (undated)
We Were One Man review
Ad for Man-To-Man Films
Programmes for San Francisco Gay Film Festival June 22/27 1981
GAY FILM/TV – 2
Taxi Zum Klo publicity material
Taxi Zum Klo – Film Comment May-June 1981
FOL Attack NFT Gay Season – Gay News 124
Privates On Parade (Taxi Zum Klo) – Adrian Hodges Screen International
A Thoughtful Movie On Gays (Word Is Out) – Nathan Fain Village Voice?
ICA Programme (Taxi Zum Klo) Jan 1982
Cottage Industry (Taxi Zum Klo) – Mandy Merck City Limits Jan 8/14 1982
Word Is Out – from Now On – Robert Martin
Jim French nude
People Like Me (Word Is out – Michael Pye Gay News 151
Out… at last! – Jack Babuscio Gay News 151
James Dean postcard
Peter Adair – Jack Babuscio Gay News 151
A ‘Bi’ At the Baths (Saturday Night At the Baths) – Jack Babuscio Gay News
98 July1/14 1976
David Buckley Interview (Saturday Night At the Baths) – Denis Lemon Gay
Postcard of Skinheads
Frank Ripploh Interview Gay News 231
Review of Taxi Zum Klo (source unknown)
New York Notes (A Bigger Splash) – Andy Dvosin Gay News 59
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (A Bigger Splash)Jack Hazan Interview – Len
Richmond Time Out March 14/20 1977?
Ads for A Bigger Splash
Celebrating Carpenter – Michelene Victor Time Out (undated)
Ad with Brandon De Wilde (1977)
A great many additional books, pamphlets and articles were read in the course of developing the film.
As well as gay material, books were read on feminism, black power politics, deschooling, and sexual politics generally.
Herbert Marcuse’s work also somehow fed into the fundamental shape of the script.
Much of this original material remains with RLP at the moment of writing and is likely to be offered to the Bishopsgate Institute at a later date.
With Downcast Gays: Aspects of Homosexual Self-Oppression (1974) – Andrew Hodges, David Hutter
No Offence: The Case For Homosexual Equality At Law (1975) – Bob Sturgess
The Politics of Homosexuality (1973, reprint 1978) – Don Milligan
Growing Up Homosexual (undated) – no author given
Homogenic Love (1895)(reprint) – Edward Carpenter
Many other booklets from the time of making the film
Images of Homosexuality
Review of NFT’s First Gay Film Season in July 1977 by Ron Peck & Paul Hallam, Gay Left No.5, Winter 1977
Many Gay Left articles were highly pertinent to the film and there are several pieces about the film itself in different issues
Many books influential on the project held here, inc. Gay Liberationist
texts, books by Dennis Altman, John Rechy & others (too many to list here)
Includes international articles on sexual politics in a broad sense, from the period around the time of the production of the film and the immediate years following, covering issues which were influential on the NIGHTHAWKS script but also on later projects; peters out around 2012 but continues up to present day.
Specific sections also on gay writers and gay cinema and television, within the same time-frame.
Many films contributed to the discussions on NIGHTHAWKS, especially work by Nicholas Ray, Kazan, Minnelli, Paul Morrissey, but many others too…
Specific films about gay subjects were recorded off-air, including features,
documentaries & news items; these are in process of being digitized from VHS to DVD and date from around 1980.
Ron Peck Personal Diaries
Diaries include Letters and Personal Photos as well as Diary Entries.
Not yet checked but covers, I think, entire period of preparing and making NIGHTHAWKS and the years that followed, up to present day…
These too will go over to Bishopsgate once the main project materials have been checked, catalogued and archived.
by Ron Peck