Death watch

Death watch

Released; 1980

Location; Glasgow and Tarbert, Scotland, UK.

In 1979 film director Bertrand Tavernier would start filming his dark sci-fi noir on the streets of Glasgow.

Set in a future where nobody dies naturally a television company has Harvey Keitel’s eyes replaced with TV cameras so that they can get close enough to follow Romy Schneiders character Katherine Mortenhoe and her death after she  has been diagnosed with a terminal disease.

You can already tell that this is not a light hearted comedy and the use of 1970’s Glasgow to depict the future works very well when that future is dark and overpowering.

The film follows Roddy (Keitel) as he gains Katherine’s confidence and also the cold hearted nature of Harry Dean Stanton as the television producer determined to capture her last weeks of life.

The film really puts Glasgow in a lead role in the movie visiting many different parts of the city.  We get to see the city centre which has changed very little in the last 40years as well as  areas like the Gorbals and Partick  which were just starting to be cleared for redevelopment.

The final few scenes of the movie are shot in the small west coast town of Tarbert and a big thank you goes out to the Islay Frigate hotel in Tarbert for allowing me to take pictures in their bar.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak at the time I was compiling this set I was unable to access the interior of Glasgow city chambers and Sloans restaurant but all being well I will have a chance to add these scenes once life gets back to a normality.

I hope you enjoy the videos and picture sets below and if you have any connection to the film please get in touch and let me know. 

Then and now gallery

Click for larger image