A Life in Film: Patricia Cherrill

Patricia Cherrill is our latest interviewee.  She has lived in Chesham for 21 years and has been a stalwart of the Chiltern Film Society for most of that time. Having carved a successful career in law she turned her attention to local politics, serving on both the Chesham Town Council and as a Chiltern District Council for many years. She belongs to several community groups and although she is now retired she finds herself busier than ever.

1)     What was the best film of your childhood?

My mother took me to the cinema as a babe in arms during the war years, spent in Camberwell.  I only have vague memories of many films but what does stick is seeing ‘The Blue Lamp’ (Basil Dearden, 1950) with my father.  We queued around the outside of the cinema, it was usual in the 1940s/50s.  The burly usher looked at me but my Dad said, ‘it’s all right, she is with me.’

2)      Best date movie?

Not necessarily a date movie but when I was older I recall that when a young man was home on leave from National Service it was an opportunity to see an X rated film.  I can remember seeing ‘Rebel without a Cause’ (Nicholas Ray, 1955) that way.

As for a date movie I think that I would choose, ‘The Wind Rises’  (Hayao Miyazaki, 2013), a true story beautifully told with weighty issues of conflict, death and destruction not ignored.

3)      Have you ever walked out of a film and if so what and why?

I believe in giving all films a chance. I consider I take something from all the films that I see.

4)      Everyone should see?

Without doubt ‘Bicycle Thieves’ (Vittorio De Sica, 1948).  No big-name actors, no glamorous stars. It shows social conditions not as a documentary but as a sensitive story.  I particularly admire the wonderful deep shadows you can only get with a black & white film.

5)      No one should see? I have seen it so you don’t have to

I could never be so biased as to condemn a film!

6)      Marooned on your desert island you can only save one film to watch over and over again.  What film would you choose. (We will give you a DVD of the Greatest Story Ever Told and Shakespeare in Love)

'Casablanca' (Michael Curtiz, 1942), a melodrama of lost love, honour and duty. The story is of political espionage set against a background of wartime conflict between democracy and totalitarianism.

7)      What film is your guilty pleasure? The film that someone with your good taste in cinema wouldn’t want anyone else to know about.

I like musicals depicted in film but I refuse to feel guilty about it.

8)      What  would be the last film that you would like to see before you meet the great film maker in the sky

Any John Ford film please, not only for his direction, but also his use of music.

9)      Inheritance films. Which film did you inherit and from whom and which film would you like to pass on and why?

My Dad was a great Barbara Stanwyck fan so I think the film that I have inherited from him is ‘Cattle Queen of Montana’ (Allan Dwan, 1954).

The film I would like to pass on to the next generation is 'La Strada' (1954) which is directed by Fellini.  It is a tragic story of a young woman who can find no redemption to her fate.

10)   Who would play you in the film of your life? Two actors please, one for the younger you and one for the older version.

I think that it would have to be the young Kate Winslet to play me as a young woman and Dame Helen Mirren to play me in my more mature years.