Music film legend at premiere in Harrogate talks about The Beatles and more at Everyman

He’s made more than 100 films about music and the arts and won 40 international prizes for his work but last week Tony Palmer was in Harrogate for the premiere of a film about his life and career.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 5:35 pm
Film Premiere - BAFTA-winning filmmaker Tony Palmer, second from right, at the Yorkshire Hotel in Harrogate with All We Got Was Love producer Brian Madden and director Henry Thompson and, left, interviewer Graham Chalmers.

All We Got Was Love was screened for the first time at Everyman cinema in Harrogate before an audience including director Henry Thompson, producer Brian Madden, both members of Harrogate Film Festival, and the Harrogate Advertiser’s Graham Chalmers, who features in the 90-minute documentary as the interviewer.

The film combines footage of Palmer’s original visit to Harrogate Film Festival for a sold out Q&A event in 2020 with extensive new scenes filmed at his home in London.

The Harrogate scenes were shot in 2020 at various locations including Cold Bath Brewing Co's Club House, William & Victoria restaurant, Harrogate Theatre and Baltzersen's cafe.

After the premiere, the BAFTA-winning Palmer talked about his friendship with John Lennon which produced three classic films, as well as his work with Richard Burton, Leonard Cohen, Frank Zappa, Maria Callas and Sir Benjamin Britten.

Palmer, who is now aged 79, first made his mark as a 24-year-old in 1966 on the shoot of BBC film Isadora Duncan, the Biggest Dancer in the World when he was director's assistant to inspirational larger than life director Ken Russell.

He first met John Lennon in 1963 as a student at Trinity Hall, Cambridge when the Fab Four were in tow to play a show.

It was the Beatle, he said, who inspired three of his greatest projects for TV, acting as a supporter as well as a friend:

All My Loving (1968)

The Pursuit of Happiness (1972)

All You Need is Love (1976–1980)

As for Richard Burton who he worked closely with on the epic Wagner in 1983, Tony Palmer says the legendary actor hated watching himself on the big screen and had no confidence in his own talent or looks.

He also shared stories of sharing a hotel bedroom in Africa with Ginger Baker, finding his lost footage of Leonard Cohen from the 1970s in a warehouse nearly 30 years later, taking tea with Sir Benjamin Britten, and almost working on projects with Leni Riefenstahl and Adele.

Among the other famous cultural figures Palmer has made films about over the last half century are: Cream, Frank Zappa, Tangerine Dream, Rory Gallagher, Fairport Convention, Peter Sellers, John Osborne, Hugh Hefner, Bobby Moore. Shostakovich, Carl Orff, John Adams, Mahler, Puccini, Chopin, Henry Purcell, Plácido Domingo, the Edinburgh Festival and The Wigan Casino.

He also spoke fondly but with deep sadness about his work on the tragic life of opera legend Maria Callas.

Mr Palmer stayed at the Yorkshire Hotel during his visit to Harrogate for the film premiere of All We Got Was Love and dined out at William & Victoria restaurant and Hustle & Co cafe.