Many of you will know that a new film version of R C Sherriff’s epic play Journey’s End has been in the pipeline for some time now. If ever there was a time for Journey’s End to be revived the centenary of the First World War is it. Surrey History Centre has been kept up to date with details by the production company, Fluidity Films, and is pleased to report that the six week filming stint has now come to a close. The film’s website, giving all the details, can be found at http://www.fluidityfilms.co.uk/journey-s-end and twitter hashtag is #journeysend, click here to see the Twitter feed.
An impressive line-up will feature in Saul Dibb’s adaptation of this classic war play, including Sam Claflin (as Stanhope), Asa Butterfield (as Raleigh), Toby Jones (as Mason), Tom Sturridge (as Hibbert), Stephen Graham (as Trotter) and Paul Bettany (as Osborne). Simon Reade has written the screenplay, which also draws on the novel Sherriff co-wrote with author Vernon Bartlett (Gollancz, 1930).
Sherriff drew on his own experience to give the play its remarkable realism. As a junior officer in the East Surrey Regiment, he spent four gruelling months on the Western Front until he was wounded at Passchendaele in August 1917. His papers, held at Surrey History Centre, contain hundreds of honest and revealing letters home to his parents and friends, which he later used in the writing of Journey’s End. The play was first performed in 1928 with a young Laurence Olivier in the lead role of Stanhope. It brought Sherriff worldwide fame and he went on to be a successful novelist and Hollywood scriptwriter, responsible for such classics as The Dambusters and Goodbye Mr Chips. However, Journey’s End remains Sherriff’s most enduring work and is a key part of the literary legacy of the First World War; it still features as part of the National Curriculum.
The production has been financed by a number of partners including the BFI, Fluidity Films, and the British Film Company. Everyone is immensely excited about the project: Guy de Beaujeu, the film’s producer said: “We are honoured to be bringing the greatest drama ever written about war to the big screen. With this cast and director we will create the unmissable, emotional and totemic World War I film for the Centenary.” Mary Burke of the BFI commented: “The BFI is proud to be backing the resurrection of this seminal British drama and believe that, with Saul’s vision, the revival of this important work for the screen will have a profound resonance with contemporary audiences.”
David Grindley’s recent award-winning revival run of Journey’s End brought Sherriff’s play to a whole new audience and we are sure that this new film version will do the same.
We can’t wait for it to be released but in the meantime we’re eagerly anticipating the talk and book launch of Roland Wales’ new Sherriff biography, From Journey’s End to The Dam Busters: The Life of R C Sherriff, Playwright of the Trenches, at Surrey History Centre on 4 Feb 2017, more details at https://www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk/life-r-c-sherriff/.