Award-winning film composer Richard Hartley returns to roots for Holmfirth Film Festival

AWARD-WINNING Hollywood film composer Richard Hartley returns to his Holmfirth roots next week.

AWARD-WINNING Hollywood film composer Richard Hartley returns to his Holmfirth roots next week.

Honley-born Richard, 68, grew up in Holmfirth until leaving in the late 1960s to pursue his rock and roll dream.

Richard, whose career was launched in 1975 by cult musical The Rocky Horror Picture Show, has since gone on to write music for more than 80 TV programmes and films.

He won an Emmy for the TV film Alice in Wonderland, which boasted an all-star cast including Whoopi Goldberg, Peter Ustinov, Gene Wilder, Robbie Coltrane, Ben Kingsley, Miranda Richardson and Ken Dodd.

Last year he worked on the Hollywood adaptation of Dickens’ classic Great Expectations starring Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes.

On Wednesday, May 22, Richard will give a talk at the Holmfirth Picturedrome as part of the Holmfirth Film Festival.

“I am really looking forward to it,” said Richard.

“I was flattered to be invited because the festival line-up is very substantial with an interesting mix of films.”

Richard, whose sister Diana Cowley lives in Brockholes, now splits his time between homes in Suffolk and London but returns to the area two or three times a year.

Richard grew up in Holmfirth and remembers Saturday morning films at the old Picturedrome.

“I recall watching some awful sci-fi movies on a Saturday morning and there was a projectionist called Herman.

“Films in those days were 10 or 12 reels and they were really heavy and he would have to carry them up the stairs and change the projector.

“I remember the seats were always a bit rickety. I hope they’ve changed them down the years!”

Richard, who was an apprentice at Brook Motors in Honley, joined a rock band called Phil Plant and the Planets, led by a saxaphone-playing builder.

The band played local pubs and clubs and would have appeared at the Picturedrome in 1965.

“Going there again will bring all sorts of memories back,” said Richard. “It’ll be a blast.”

After the Planets Richard joined a Huddersfield band called Denny and the Witch Doctors.

The band went to France to perform for a couple of weeks in 1966 – and never came back.

“In those days if you were an English rock and roll band you could play any old thing,” he said. “Speaking English was enough to be successful in the 60s.”

Richard was recruited to help with auditions for the London production of Jesus Christ Superstar in 1972 and went on to work with director Jim Sharman and actor Richard O’Brien.

He later collaborated with O’Brien on The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

“I got lucky,” said Richard. “I was in the right place at the right time.”

Richard is currently deciding which film clips to include in his talk and is certainly spoiled for choice.

His credits include Dance with a Stranger starring Miranda Richardson; An Awfully Big Adventure with Hugh Grant; The Good Father, starring Anthony Hopkins; The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, starring Geoffrey Rush; Rogue Trader with Ewan McGregor; A Thousand Acres, starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Jessica Lange; and Rough Magic, starring Russell Crowe and Bridget Fonda.

Richard has also provided the music for many prestigious stage productions at the National Theatre.

Richard’s talk begins at 7pm and tickets, costing £4.50 each, can be bought on the door or in advance from Holmfirth Tourist Information Centre on 01484 222444.

 

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