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Missing movie classic unearthed by Macc Lad

A VITAL piece of Macclesfield's cinematic history has been rediscovered after almost 60 years... by one one of the Macc Lads, the town's most famous foul-mouthed music trio.

A VITAL piece of Macclesfield's cinematic history has been rediscovered after almost 60 years... by one one of the Macc Lads, the town's most famous foul-mouthed music trio.

A copy of the legendary film, "So well remembered", which was shot in the town back in 1947, and featured a star-studded cast alongside hundreds of Maxonian extras has been unearthed from a cellar in Tennessee by the lewd and crude singer of the band, after it was missing for decades.

It was originally presented to the Mayor of the time, Alderman Walter Isaac, and it was placed in the vaults of the town hall but it was believed to have vanished during local government reorganisation in 1973.

Now residents everywhere will finally have their chance to see the Forties' classic which features British acting legends Sir John Mills, his famous daughters Hayley and Juliet, and Trevor Howard, Hollywood starlet Martha Stewart and hundreds of locals in glorious sepia footage - as it is released on DVD!

Included in one of the scenes is local author and historian Geoffrey Hunter who earned just ten bob (50p) by acting as an extra in the movie.

Dressed in his army uniform, having just been demobbed, he appeared as a man in the crowd as John Mills, who played a politician, spoke passionate words from the famous 108 Steps.

Macc Lad Muttley, 41, who helped spawn seminal songs such as Sweaty Betty with bandmate Phil 'Fast Fret' McAvity and now lives the quiet life with his house-trained rabbit on Park Lane, has been hunting for the film for over ten years.

He said: "I'm absolutely delighted I recovered this and now have the chance to release it for other people. It has been a bugbear of mine for years to find it and I'm delighted it's back in the town where it belongs."

The film, which was based on the classic novel by James Hilton, tells the story of a diptheria outbreak in the fictional Lancashire Mill town of Browdley and was deemed by critics as the British version of "It's a wonderful life".

Since Macclesfield was the only Mill Town left unbombed in the Second World War it was chosen as the location for the film, along with hundreds of its residents who were given prized roles as extras.

And many of the actors, who were mostly children at the time and are still likely to be living in the town, will recognise themselves from many of the scenes, and for many it could be their first viewing.

Because after its first screening in Macclesfield's Majestic Theatre on August 9, 1947, the film reel bizarrely disappeared from existence, baffling local historians and movie buffs everywhere.

It is thought that because it was the only joint effort by film makers RANK and RKO, after the screening neither company knew of its whereabouts, and it seemed it was lost forever.

That was until Muttley, who has been delving into local history amid recovering from his heady punk rock days, made it his mission to track it down.

After scouring the internet, he found the last ever screening had been ten years ago by the American Film Society before tracing the film to a collector in Tennessee.

And after paying him a "princely sum", the reel was unearthed from his cellar and shipped across the Atlantic to Muttley's home a year ago, where he has been busy having the copy cleaned up and digitally remastered.

He said that only when the film was completely ready for release was he ready to tell Maxonians his good news.

The former frontman, who knows the words in every scene of the film, said: "The biggest thrill for me was when the DVDs appeared. I have spent so much time looking for the film, and I was over the moon about finding it.

"Then to have it cleaned up and remastered was amazing, but to have this long-awaited film in front of me on DVD is something else."

And local historians have welcomed its return.

Geoffrey Hunter said: "I am delighted that the film has returned to the town. I had heard reports that there was a copy somewhere in the world and I am thrilled that it has been recovered. It means a lot to everyone in Macclesfield."

The film, which shows the town as it was, still complete with mills, gas lights and its factories, will be released on September 18 and can be purchased on Muttley's website at www.macc.me.uk

  • Were you an extra in "So Well Remembered"? If you were, contact the newsdesk on 01625 424445.
 

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