Goodbye Uncle Monty. Uncle Monty's London pad is about 5 minutes from me and I pass nearby regularly if not daily. But something always gets in the way of me posting about it - however its timing now makes a fitting goodbye to Uncle Monty or rather the man who brought him to life so wonderfully - Richard Griffiths OBE.
I will always remember Richard Griffiths as Uncle Monty in the great Withnail & I. For many Withnail & I with its endearing story of two failing actors; Withnail (Richard E. Grant) and I or Marwood (Paul McGann) floundering whilst coming to terms (or not) with their career choices has come to be a, if not the, quintessential British Cult classic film of our age. As with many great cult films it is not the story that takes precedence but rather the characters (and by proxy the actors performances in bringing those characters to life), the situations they find themselves in and the personalities they encounter. So it is with Withnail & I. The film that kicked off many a student drinking game for me.
Of course there is no home as closely associated with Uncle Monty or indeed Withnail & I as Uncle Monty's Cottage - Crow Cragg or rather Sleddale Hall where Withnail & Marwood go on holiday by mistake and the very reason they visit Uncle Monty at his Chelsea Pad the location at the focus of this post, in the first place. But visiting Sledding Hall in Cumbria will have to wait for another time.
In Withnail & I, Withnail and Marwood visit Withnail's Uncle Monty at his plush and cosy London pad for a drink and to ask Monty for permission to use his Cumbria Holiday home to get away for the weekend. Free to those that can afford it. Very expensive to those that can't. With hilarious results as Withnail in typical fashion throws Marwood under the bus to further his own needs in the face of his Uncle Monty's advances on Marwood...
[A battered Jag pulls up outside Monte's house and Withnail and I get out. There is a rather flash looking open-topped Rolls parked outside. The sound of a Schubert piano sonata comes from the house.]
Withnail: Monte's car.
[Withnail knocks on the door. Monte, a rather fat, effeminate, middle-aged gentleman, opens the door. He is holding a very large fluffy cat and a watering can.]
Monty: Oh hello. Come in.
[They enter and go into the lounge.]
Monty's absolutely stunning London home, may be a world away from Withnail & Marwood's squalid bedsit but is actually located in the tucked away elbow of the very charming Glebe Place, just off King's Road in Chelsea. Over the years many creatives have taken residence in Glebe Place and it has become a very sought after address.
Visiting Glebe Place you may notice the neighbours fence and facade seen diagonally across from Monty's place and in Withnail & I pull up in their repaired Jag may look updated and modernised and Uncle Monty's door (and recently the knocker) has been replaced when the pad's new owner renovated his home but none of the familiarity or charm of Uncle Monty's West House, 35 Glebe Place, London, SW3 5JP has been lost. I'll add some photos of the original door after I have found them.
By the way as someone requested it - the song that Monty is playing is: Franz Schubert's Piano Sonata in B Flat Major (D960 lll Scherzo: Allegro Vivace Con Delicatezza).
West House, 35 Glebe Place, London, SW3 5JP
It’s 1969 and London isn’t exactly swinging for struggling, unemployed actors Withnail (Richard E. Grant) and “I” (Paul McGann). Living amongst the crumbling squalor of a Camden flat their uneventful existence is fuelled by cheap drugs, bad booze and lighter fluid. When Withnail’s eccentric Uncle Monty (Richard Griffiths) offers them his cottage retreat, both Withnail and “I” decide to escape to the glorious English countryside for a carefree weekend. But what they find is less than idyllic as they’re forced to contend with disastrous weather conditions, hostile locals and the amorous motives of a certain Uncle Monty. It’s the end of the greatest decade in the history of mankind and there’s going to be a lot of refugees.
Written and directed by Bruce Robinson, this twisted, timeless and acerbic masterpiece is a genuine cult classic.
Starring Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann in career defining roles, Withnail and I is one of the most hilarious and iconic comedies of British cinema.
|Withnail & I Poster (Click to enlarge)|
|Craig's is a retired superhero, an obsessive hobbyist, comics fan, gadget lover & flâneur who knows an unhealthy amount about Ian Fleming's James Bond.|
When not watching or making films he takes pictures, eats, drinks, dives, tries to connect to nature whilst mentally storyboarding the greatest film ever made. He also & sometimes utilises owl-themed gadgets to fight crime.
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