The British films that inspired The Smiths’ record sleeves

Ashley features, Gallery, Music, Timewarp Leave a Comment

the-smiths-the-complete-picture-originalIt is incredible to think that The Smiths were together for just five short years. In that time they managed to release four official albums, a few compilations of sessions, singles and oddities and of course, a run of some of the most amazing and unique 45s ever.

And one of the things that made The Smiths’ singles and albums so special was there sleeves. Handpicked mostly by Morrissey, they feature a series of cover stars most of whom dated from the late 50s and early 60s, and for Smiths fans they gave an real insight into the singer’s world – who his heroes were and the influences that shaped him.

Some of those cover stars were familiar, like Yootha Joyce, the star of two very successful seventies sit-coms. Others like French actor Jean Marais from Jean Cocteau’s 1949 film Orphée, were a bit more obscure.

Not surprisingly quite a number of the stars featured in British films from the 60s, so I have rounded up those covers and attempted to give a little more information about the films they came from. Most of them are very watchable – a couple of them are classics.

I have added YouTube links to each one. Two of the films are available in a full version on YouTube, the rest are clips and trailers.

Click on for the gallery and links.

William It Was Really Nothing - Charlie Bubbles

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Films like Smashing Time chronicled the lives of naive northern types as they visited the by then Swinging London of the mid 60s. What makes Charlie Bubbles so unique is that it takes a journey in the opposite direction. A road movie of sorts the film features Bubbles played brilliantly by Albert Finney, as a famous writer who lives in London returning to his Salford roots to see ex-wife Billie Whitelaw (as featured on the sleeve). It is a bizarre film especially because there is very little dialogue - and this even though it was written by acclaimed playwright Shelagh Delaney. Whitelaw is superb as the embittered ex wife and the scenes between her and Finney are the strongest in the film. Moz fave Yootha Joyce also pops up as one of Finney's old flames and Liza Minnelli makes her screen debut as Finney's personal assistant/lover. The over arching theme of the film is the way in which Finney feels uncomfortable in the south in London, but how he is viewed with suspicion because of that success by the people he meets up north. A sentiment which may or may not have had parallels with Morrissey. Charlie Bubbles whole film