|The cult film Withnail and I continues to fascinate and intrigue, twenty years and more after its first low-key release in the eighties.Withnail and the Romantic Imagination: a Eulogy examines the film as both a serious work of art and a cultural phenomenon.
The central characters - Withnail, Marwood, Monty and Danny - are analysed in detail and related to the career changing performances of actors Richard E Grant, Paul McGann, Richard Griffiths and Ralph Brown, as well as to their own cultural hinterland, situated as they are in September 1969 at the end of the greatest decade in the history of mankind.
Generations not yet born when Withnail and I was made continue to be recruited into the "cult" of the film's devotees. There are pilgrimages tothe film's central location, a derelict building in Cumbria, where passages from the screenplay are recited and inscribed on the security fencing. Records of these ceremonies are uploaded into cyberspace.
Words, music, and visual beauty are all important in the film. Author Maisie Robson gives a close reading of the filmic text and screenplay, explaining how the film works its magic. The contribution made by the soundtrack music is celebrated by Steve Rudd, and there are haunting location shots of the Lake District countryside by Mal Greenley.
Withnail and the Romantic Imagination: a Eulogy is for readers interested in critical approaches to popular culture, as well as those hardcore fans, like the book's author, who want to understand the power of this curious film. Will we never be set free?