This film was made by Johnny Dawes and Alan Hughes for the ITV channel on British television (circa 1987). It captures some of Dawes's greatest climbs of the era, as well as his unconventional and unique climbing style. Those climbers who think that shortness of height limits your capabilities - think again. Dawes (who stands at 5'3") leaps his way up a variety of testpieces, whilst also offering some insight into his mind processes for doing these routes.
Given the dangerous aspect of these creations - some of the climbs are completed on a top-rope (at the time, these were the hardest in the country) - but this tactic hardly takes anything away from the film. If anything - it adds to it - especially in cases where enough slack is paid out (as is the case on 'The Prow' - which later became known as Partheon Shot).
Movement and expression are key factors to Dawes - who has been called 'the most naturally gifted climber in the world' at various points in time. This claim aside - these attributes are obvious, from an ascent of the 6m high V4 Technical Master (done in runner's) to the unrepeated Quarryman in the Welsh slate quarries (the crux of which is palming into a crucifix in a holdless groove).
The surreal opening 'dream' sequence was shot at the Leeds Climbing Wall - with some amazing double-handed dyno's and sideways leaps into fingerlocks - but the best move? Well - you can't go past the 'double-hand dyno-with-a-twist-over-the-stair-railing'. Now that is an absolute winner!
The DVD has just recently been released with a number of Extra's - notably The Indian Face story - which is worth every penny. A seperate review for this is included on this site.
I'm not obsessed with the 80s. It's just that I've never seen anyone climb like this before or since. It's an awesome film that I recommend wholeheartedly just for the footage of Jonny leading Quarryman alone, let alone the grit stuff. I've tried and I can't climb slate. It's a miracle to behold.
Classic - people say...well, watching this film in 2010 really does inspire me
to climb. The opening dream sequences which just shows climbing in such
dynamic light energized and made me look at the way that i climb in a
different way. It was a very different take on climbing that was not fancy but
let the beauty of climbing do the talking.
The extras were also provided some interesting concepts especially some
of the ''rants'' where Confidence and Knowledge were defined and discussed
in relation to the successful completion of a climb.