The plaque that finally marks the spot of Coventry's role in The Italian Job

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The plaque that finally marks the spot of Coventry's role in The Italian Job

Postby dutchman » Sat Oct 19, 2019 10:20 pm

An unforgettable Mini car chase scene from the 1969 British cinema classic was shot in Stoke Aldermoor

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The Coventry location where one of the most famous car chases in cinematic history was filmed has at last been officially recognised.

An unforgettable Mini car chase scene from The Italian Job was shot in Stoke Aldermoor.

In the 1969 film Minis made their way through sewer pipes under the park next to The Lindfield and close to Corpus Christi Catholic School.

Now a commemorative plaque has been installed to mark the spot where Minis were lowered by a crane into the disused sewer pipes in 1968.

The underground pipe system is thought to stretch for around 300 metres.

The ambitious commemoration project was led by Stoke Aldermoor native Kevin Conway , who spent 16 months trying to identify the exact spot where the cars were lowered down into the pipes.

It forms part of the build-up to Coventry being UK City of Culture in 2021, as well as helping to mark the film’s 50th anniversary.

The unveiling of the plaque today (Friday October 18) saw around 100 people turn out to welcome a star-studded cast and witness some pomp and theatre too.

Among the guests were Remy Julienne, the French stunt driver who did the driving in the tunnels, as well as actor David Salamone, who played Dominic in the blockbuster.

They were joined by Matthew Fields, who has written a book to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the film - The Self Preservation Society - 50 Years of the Italian Job.

Joe Whitmore, the local mechanic who kept the cars running at the time, was also in attendance and was presented with a commemorative ‘trophy’, along with former Coventry Telegraph photographer Tom Moore, who took pictures of the event at the time.

Also present were a trio of red, white and blue Italian Job Minis - with the VIP guests arriving in them, the millionth modern MINI to roll off the Oxford production line and a couple of Bentley limousines.

The Minis were supplied courtesy of http://www.theitalianjobminis.com and are used by Paramount Pictures to promote the film and used in a new documentary DVD.

Michael Deeley, the producer of The Italian Job, was originally lined-up to attend but the 87-year-old Oscar winner was not able to make the event.

Instead he sent a special video message which was broadcast on a big screen.

He said: “It amazes me after 50 years the film is still celebrated and with so much love.

“I am sorry I cannot be here with you but would like to send my warmest wishes to the residents of Stoke Aldermoor and the people of Coventry.

“I am so pleased you are marking this occasion with a special plaque.”

For Remy Julienne the event was an emotional one, particularly as he was reunited with crane driver Neville Goode.

Neville, who still lives in Stoke Aldermoor, had lowered the cars into the tunnels each day for filming, and at the time lent Remy a pair of gloves.

Remy said: “We went into the tunnel and did the loop the loop, it was fantastic.

“I lost a glove and I needed gloves.

“Neville came up to me and said I can lend you a pair.”

Remy, who went on to be involved in half-a-dozen James Bond films along with a host of other action movies, became a stunt driver after becoming French motorcross champion in 1956.

As part of the plaque unveiling, which was performed by David Salamone, he presented Neville with a pair of signed driving gloves.

“Neville never got those gloves back, so he has now,” said Remy.

“Emotions are running so high here, I feel like my heart is about to burst.

“I am so happy to be here with you today.”

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Re: The plaque that finally marks the spot of Coventry's role in The Italian Job

Postby Cheburashka » Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:44 pm

Watching this movie as a youngster, at the height of the Michael Jackson Thriller mania, I was surprised to discover that Quincy Jones had written the music for the opening titles, 'on days like these', the movie was awesome but making out the exact location of the crane lowering was impossible from the photos I've seen, so well done Kevin. The plaque now sits 100 metres from the 1988 Warwickshire Air Pageant Gloster Meteor crashsite, and half a mile from Onslows house in 'keeping up appearances', aka Mitchell Close, Stoke Aldermoor https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.39605 ... 6656?hl=en
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Re: The plaque that finally marks the spot of Coventry's role in The Italian Job

Postby rebbonk » Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:01 am

I remember those sewers being put in. IIRC the main contractor was Buchannan and they had a site on the green in front of The Kings Head pub on Blackberry Lane. Again, I seem to remember rather a lot of explosives being used: they used quite a loud siren before each explosion. I also remember the cook at the site spotting a missing child's body in the river Sowe.
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Re: The plaque that finally marks the spot of Coventry's role in The Italian Job

Postby rebbonk » Mon Oct 21, 2019 12:09 pm

I stumbled on this, I thought it might be of interest...

https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/coventry-trunk-sewers-part-1-2013-2014.99601/

I haven't found part 2.
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Re: The plaque that finally marks the spot of Coventry's role in The Italian Job

Postby dutchman » Mon Oct 21, 2019 12:24 pm

One of the sites cut across our school playing fields so a large section was fenced off to us including our favourite lunchtime oak tree hangout. It also meant we were forced to mingle with the neighbouring girls' school, something which was normally frowned upon by both schools.
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