March 8, 2020

Tudor City on Film: WE'LL TAKE MANHATTAN

This episode of Tudor City on Film examines We'll Take Manhattan, a 2012 British TV movie based on the true story of how model Jean Shrimpton and photographer David Bailey introduced America to the Swinging Sixties. 

Bailey and Shrimpton arrive in New York in January, 1962, on assignment for a shoot for Vogue magazine. The resulting pictures were a sensation, shaking up fashion photography, making stars of the photographer and model, and ushering in a new era wherein youth was king. 

We'll Take Manhattan opens with title cards that set the scene: 

In 1962, no one had heard of the Beatles.
No one expected to be famous, who was not born rich or titled. 
And there was no such thing as youth culture. 
But then David Bailey and Jean Shrimpton went to New York.

There are two Tudor City sequences in the picture, the first in the 43rd Street cul-de-sac, and the second atop No. 45's North Roof.

The film opens with some random shots of picturesque New York, including The Woodstock, above.

The first half of the movie details the couple's backstory. Later, in New York, Shrimpton poses for Bailey in the 43rd Street cul-de-sac against the backdrop of the United Nations.

The lady at the lamppost image will become the most iconic photograph of the session, and is treated as such by the filmmakers. . .

. . . from its hushed birth in the darkroom (above) to lingering closeups of its contact sheets, below.

The action returns to No. 45's roof, introduced by a shot of the sign. More modeling ensues.

By now, the photographer and his muse have fallen in love. Above, a tender kiss reenacted by actors Karen Gillan and Aneurin Barnard. 


More on the actual Bailey/Shrimpton photoshoot here

This movie is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

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