Drama films

London’s Soho on screen – from Peeping Tom to Mona Lisa | Drama movies

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Last night in Soho covers much of London’s West End, from the Toucan pub on Carlisle Street in north Soho, to the heroin digs at Goodge Place, Fitzrovia, just across Oxford Street. The film echoes many previous films set in and around London’s busiest, weirdest and most haunted area – this map just picks out a few of the highlights.


1. Newsagent, corner of Rathbone Street

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At Michael Powell’s Voyeur (1960), this is where photographer Carl Boehm takes pictures of 1950s pin-up girl Pamela Green. Directly opposite is Newman Passage, where Boehm accosts sex worker Brenda Bruce in the opening scene, then murders her in a flat above the Newman Arms pub.


2. Oxford Street

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The artery that defines the border between Soho and Fitzrovia is a throbbing vein of nightlife in the dizzying opening sequence of Val Guest’s drama about showbiz cynicism, Espresso Bongo (1959), where manager Laurence Harvey makes a monster out of the slacker Cliff Richard. Guest combines footage of the real Frith Street and Hanway Street, either side of Oxford Street, with an impressive studio set – the entire sequence has been recreated in Novices (1986).


3. Frith Street

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by Ken Hughes The small world of Sammy Lee (1963) – which opens with a rant through Berwick Street Market – follows desperate strip club Anthony Newley as he tries to raise money to cover a gambling debt. The Peepshow Club was a compelling studio, but Sammy’s apartment is on the real Frith Street.


4. Colony Room Club, Dean Street

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Before the relaxation of licensing laws, after-hours drinking clubs flourished around Soho. At John Maybury’s love is the devil (1998), painter Francis Bacon (Derek Jacobi) and his muse (Daniel Craig) spend a lot of time in the Colony Room on Dean Street. Other Colony Room regulars included Tom Baker, John Hurt and Jeffrey Bernard. It is now a restaurant called Ducksoup.


5. Earlham Street, near Cambridge Circus

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Earlham Street stretches from Cambridge Circus to the intersection known as the Seven Dials – both now eminently respectable, but once extremely demi-monde. In Basil Dearden’s pioneering gay drama Victim (1961), leather-jacketed blackmailer Derren Nesbitt puts such pressure on a barber (Charles Lloyd-Pack) that he dies of a heart attack – Dirk Bogarde turns out to be tougher stuff.

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6. Old Compton Street

The Extraordinary of Gary Sherman line of death (1972) – one of the great London films – is set mostly around and under Russell Square tube station, but opens with a bowler-hatted VIP (James Cossins) prowling strip clubs and sex clubs. -shops in what was then London’s main pornographic thoroughfare, Old Compton Street.


7. Chez Madame Jojo, rue Brewer

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Soho often pretends to be somewhere else. At Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes wide closed (1999), Club Sonata – a New York piano bar – is actually Madame Jojo’s on Brewer Street. Tom Cruise’s reconciliation with Nicole Kidman at the end of the film takes place in a New York toy store which is actually Hamleys on Regent Street.


8. The Raymond Revuebar in ‘porn alley’, Walker’s Court near Brewer Street

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Michael Winterbottom The gaze of love (2013) features Steve Coogan as porn baron Paul Raymond, whose highly lucrative if controversial empire centered around the Raymond Revuebar. The interior of the club appears in Neil Jordan’s mona-lisa (1986), where Bob Hoskins, fresh out of prison, introduces gangster landlord Michael Caine to a rabbit. Today, the venue is home to The Box Soho cabaret, but the famous neon Revuebar has survived.


9. The Windmill Theatre, Great Windmill Street

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The story of the Windmill Theater nude paintings – which continued throughout the blitz without interruption – is told in Stephen Frears’ sweet film Mrs. Henderson presents (2005). A dirtier account of the place is Secrets of a Windmill Girl (1966), where a passage on stage leads Pauline Collins to a bad end. Earlier, the actual theater was seen in Murder at the Mill (1949).


10. The Eros Theatre, Piccadilly Circus

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At John Landis An American werewolf in London (1981), David Naughton transforms into a monster in the auditorium of the Eros Theater – a long-running porn venue in Soho – before causing a multi-vehicle crash at Piccadilly Circus. The theater then became a clothing store (until it closed in 2020). The lights of Piccadilly Circus feature in many welcome to London montages, including the silent classic Piccadilly (1929).

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11. The Criterion, Piccadilly

The most famous fictional event to ever take place at the Criterion is the first meeting of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in Arthur Conan Doyle’s film. A study in scarlet (1887) – although the Piccadilly Institution depicts an upscale Gotham City establishment owned by a later great detective, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), in Christopher Nolan The black Knight (2008)


12. Fortnum & Mason, Piccadilly

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Fortnum & Mason, the upscale department store, has been an integral part of Piccadilly since William Fortnum and Hugh Mason established it in 1707. It has always been associated with a refined, albeit ostentatious, life frequented by posh characters like End Howards (1992). At John Schlesinger’s Darling (1965), the free spirit Julie Christie shoplifts there.


13. Brewers Street

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Edmond T Greville beat girl (1960) features singer Gillian Hills as a trouble-seeking blonde who wanders around Brewer Street and Old Compton Street. His road to trouble leads from the Off-Beat cafe—a teenage spot where Oliver Reed dances and Adam Faith strums—opposite a strip club run by Christopher Lee, smiling at Dracula.


14. Carnaby Street

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Synonymous with fashion in the 1960s, Carnaby Street features in many flash montages of the era. In smashing time (1967), a skit about 60s swing dramas, girls up north Lynn Redgrave and the future Last night in Soho star Rita Tushingham is heading straight there. play it like Beckham (2002) visits Soccer Scene at 56-57 Carnaby Street.


15. The Palladium, Argyll Street

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The London Palladium, a venue for entertainment since 1910, is seen in Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 steps (1935), where Richard Hannay (Robert Donat) catches a particular variety number, Mr Memory. Hannay returns to the Palladium at the climax where her question (“What are the 39 steps?”) incites murder in the act.