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Kes: A Forgotten 35mm Film Confirmed as an Original 1969 Film

Kes: A Forgotten 35mm Film Confirmed as an Original 1969 Film

  • Written by Ollie Constable in Barnsley
  • BBC News

Image source, Ollie Constable/BBC

Comment on the photo, The seven reels were found in the loft before being given to the Kes Collection

A forgotten film canister discovered in a South Yorkshire loft contains an original 35mm print of Ken Loach's 1969 film Kes.

It is believed to be one of only two original copies still in existence, the other being held by the British Film Institute.

Rob Younger, who will screen the film at Barnsley Parkway Cinema next month, said the film was in “surprisingly good condition for its age”.

Day Bradley, who starred in the film, described the discovery as “fantastic”.

Kiss tells the story of Billy Casper, a working-class schoolboy who finds meaning in life when he takes a young kestrel from its nest.

Based on Barnsley author Barry Hines' novel A Kestrel for a Knave, the film won two BAFTA Awards and was nominated for three more.

Image source, Ollie Constable/BBC

Comment on the photo, Rob Younger said the film has minor scratches in places, but the overall quality is “astonishingly good.”

“Finding something that's over 50 years old that hasn't been printed for most of that time is amazing,” Mr. Younger said.

“And the fact that it's a Barnsley-based film, it's Kiss, everyone in Barnsley loves Kiss.”

The reels remained undiscovered for decades before being passed on to Ronnie Steele from a local fan group – The Kes Collection.

Mr. Steele said he then called Mr. Younger to ask him about his show in the city.

“[The film] It made me feel proud, because not only did I belong to Barnsley, but I knew the author of the book, Mr Barry Hines. “He taught me in high school,” Mr. Steele said.

“[It is] A snapshot of Barnsley as it was at that time. “People were really proud that the characters were ordinary, working-class people, but at the same time, they were smart, witty and witty.”

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, Dai Bradley and Brian Glover on the set of Kes

Bradley, who was 14 when he first appeared as protagonist Billy, said he was looking forward to seeing the original version of the film again on the big screen.

He remembers going there as a young boy, admitting that his friends would often let him enter through the fire escape into the men's restroom to watch movies for free.

“Kiss has the wonderful quality of being very real, which is why people resonate with him, and he's very funny in places,” he told the BBC.

“I think it's still great that we still have one or two copies of this amazing piece of magic. That's the only way I can describe it.

Image source, Ollie Constable/BBC

Comment on the photo, Day Bradley played Billy Casper in the 1969 classic

Mr Younger, who will release the film in cinemas on June 15, said he felt Barnsley audiences “needed to see it” again.

“You can look at cans of film all day long and say, 'Yes, that's beautiful,' but you have to see it on the screen, you have to see that moving image,” he said.