sun 14/07/2024

DVD: Living Apart Together | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: Living Apart Together

DVD: Living Apart Together

Lots of easygoing charm in this treat of a Glasgow pop music film, now restored

Seventies hair, Seventies charm: BA Robertson croons winningly in 'Living Apart Together'

The spirit of Glasgow has never been better caught on screen than in two movies local director Charlie Gormley made in the Eighties. His Heavenly Pursuits from 1986, starring Tom Conti and Helen Mirren, may be better known, but Living Apart Together, from four years earlier, is a low-key delight that knows how to steal the heart.

Singer BA Robertson plays Ritchie Hannah, a Scottish singer-musician whose success has taken him far from home territory (Robertson provides the film's music, except for a closing title track by Carol Kenyon). Touring has driven a wedge between Ritchie and wife Evie (Barbara Kellerman, playing posher to Robertson's everyman), who's been back home with the kids. A friend's funeral brings Ritchie home, but the seeds of their break-up have already been sown, which leaves Alicia (Judi Trott), who's escorting him from his managers, to keep him company in the interim.

"It doesn't help to be serious," Ritchie says at one point, and he could be speaking about the film itself. The emotions are real, but they're not being played full volume. Life goes on impromptu, like a night out on the town, with comedy aplenty. It's downbeat, like Malcolm Littlewood's cinematography, but knows when to shine. You feel Glasgow itself is starring as much as any of the characters. There's much stylistically akin to the features of Bill Forsyth (Gormley and Forsyth worked in tandem as documentary makers through the late 1960s and 1970s). John Gordon Sinclair has an early cameo with exactly the fresh charm he brought to Gregory's Girl; it's the screen debut of Peter Capaldi, too.

This DVD release is the result of extensive restoration, though sadly it comes without a director's commentary: Gormley, who died in 2005, could have said as much as anyone about culture, especially film, in Glasgow over the last half century or so. He had a very beguiling voice, and it's one well worth catching.

Life goes on impromptu, like a night out on the town, with comedy aplenty


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 15,000 pieces, we're asking for £5 per month or £40 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take a subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters