World Premiere

"Along with the expected Battle of the Box Office Dinosaurs, every truly successful summer movie seasons needs an underdog, a modest movie that has the heart and soul most of the big budget blockbusters just don't seem to have.
This summer already has that film: The Flying Scotsman."
  John Black, Boston Now

"...this is an impressively directed, sharply written and superbly acted film that tells a fascinating and emotionally gripping story." Matthew Turner DVD NewsOn sale from 18 September 2007, order your North America Region 1 DVD of The Flying Scotsman at our shop - The Flying Scotsman Shop - North America and pre-order the Region 2 DVD for the UK and Europe for delivery from 5 November 2007 at The Flying Scotsman Shop on Amazon

 

 

 

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World Premiere 14th August 2006 - Edinburgh  

"The 60th Edinburgh International Film Festival got off to an outstanding start thanks to the World Premiere of The Flying Scotsman on Opening Night.

The film, starring Jonny Lee Miller and Brian Cox, tells the extraordinary real-life story of Scottish cyclist Graeme Obree, the eponymous Flying Scotsman, who broke multiple world records and won the World Pursuit Championship on a revolutionary bike that he designed and created at home.

Graeme was thrilled that his story had finally made it onto the big screen; "The possibility of making a movie was first discussed ten years ago so to see it getting a big film festival launch is great." He was equally effusive about the finished product; "The excitement and emotion I felt when watching it reminded me of Chariots of Fire. It’s a fantastic film."

He was closely involved with the production as Technical Advisor and occasionally found himself back in familiar territory, running repairs in his garage. "I’d find myself staying up until two in the morning, getting the bike prepped for Jonny to ride on set the following day." And the hard work was worth it judging by his response to the spectacularly shot race sequences; "When I was watching those sections of the film for the first time I’d get the sweaty palms and feel the buzz, exactly the way I did back then."
 

However, it’s not just about the bike. Graeme had battles both on and off the track, struggling with depression at times throughout his career. The candour he displays on the subject in his autobiography, and in person, is reflected on screen. Whilst there’s a necessary element of fictionalisation, Graeme is pleased with the integrity of the film because, "it doesn’t gloss over things, it’s more than just a movie about competitive cycling."

With its mixture of human drama, high tension racing action and stunning cinematography this biopic will go some way to immortalizing his incredible achievements." (Source - Edinburgh International Film Festival Email - edited)

For Red Carpet interviews and action from the movie click here

What did the reviewers say about the movie?

Screen International, 18th August 2006

“Douglas Mackinnon’s against-the-odds sporting drama has an engaging sincerity and
admirable restraint. The triumph of the sporting underdog may be a tried and tested narrative
convention, but The Flying Scotsman lends an extra human dimension to the formula;
champion cyclist Graeme Obree was not just chasing records, he was also fighting personal
demons… The film, which belies its fractured production history, begins with a dejected
Obree heading into the woods, intent on taking his own life. Flashbacks deftly sketch a
childhood scarred by bullying… Told with cinematic sweep and admirable restraint, The
Flying Scotsman has a sincerity that becomes very engaging. Director Douglas Mackinnon
reins in any possibility of excessive sentimentality or melodrama, and by playing it straight
creates a genuinely stirring and ultimately very moving tale. The screenplay is economical
and well paced… The restraint extends to the performances. Jonny Lee Miller is well cast,
convincing on a physical level and portraying Obree as a modest and stubborn loner,
suspicious of authority. He is seen to suffer as the camera fixes its stare on his sweating
features and grim determination as he endlessly circles the velodrome in pursuit of a new
record. He also effectively captures Obree’s dry wit, reticence and unassuming personality.
Brian Cox is a model of understatement, lending a gentle compassion to his character.
Handsome photography captures Scottish locations in glowing sunshine and teeming rain."
 

Times T2, 17th August 2006

“Edinburgh had started as it clearly meant to go on, with an opening-night party that blew
spots off previous years’ events… A kilted Brian Cox munched on the burgers manned by
ruddy, slightly flustered catering staff. Elsewhere a radiant Laura Fraser was mobbed by fans
at every turn…The organisers have every right to be pleased with the reception for The Flying
Scotsman, a solid crowd-pleaser about the Scottish cyclist and sometime world record holder
Graeme Obree. The warm response to the film is a double triumph for the festival.”

Scottish Sun, 17th August 2006

“Hollywood heavyweight Brian Cox has hailed jinxed movie The Flying Scotsman a
masterpiece. The Troy and Braveheart star reckons the film – the true story of cycling champ
Graeme Obree – could go on to be a hit despite a run of terrible bad luck. Brian, 60, said last
night: “It is even better than I had hoped. The opening scene is incredible – I was very
impressed.” And he saluted director Douglas Mackinnon for his work. He said: “Douglas is
extremely talented – the man is a genius. This was his transition from TV to film and he has
done so well… Brian’s co-star Billy Boyd also reckons the film could be a success. Billy, who
plays Graeme’s manager Malky McGovern, said: “I hope this can be bigger than Four
Weddings And A Funeral. There is no reason it cannot have international success.” Lord Of
The Rings star Billy, 37, added: “This is about a Scottish hero. I love the story.”

Scottish Sun, 16th August 2006

“Flying Scotsman is a fantastic ride. On Monday night I cried twice and laughed out loud half
a dozen times. I hadn’t been smoking anything either – just watching brilliant new movie The
Flying Scotsman, starring Jonny Lee Miller, Laura Fraser, Brian Cox and Billy Boyd. The true
story of Scottish cycling hero Graeme Obree, which opened the 60th Edinburgh Film Festival,
takes you on a real emotional rollercoaster. The casting was perfect, the humour understated
and the message inspiring. So it’s astonishing this masterpiece has still not been snapped up
by a distributor. Let’s hope its run of bad luck ends here.”


Edinburgh Evening News, 15th August 2006

“**** If ever a sporting story was tailor made for the big screen, it is surely the tale of Scottish
cyclist Graeme Obree… The Flying Scotsman is both a stirring re-enactment of his success
and a fascinating, at times upsetting, examination of his problems… Like Obree, who worked
on the film as a consultant and part-time stuntman, the movie is at its most thrilling when it’s
in the velodrome. First-time director Douglas Mackinnon brings to life the tension and drama
around the track, and the mental and physical anguish of the man on the bike. Jonny Lee
Miller gives probably his best performance to date in showing Obree’s almost unbearable
battle against depression, his eyes showing the inner despair even after his greatest
triumphs. It is this fight that is the heart of the movie. The film is an intriguing mix of dark
drama, light comedy and the stirring triumph of Obree’s success, with the cast, including Billy
Boyd and Brian Cox, excellent throughout… Mackinnon does a superb job in bringing the
complex strands of the story together, while never letting the pace of the movie dip.”

The Evening News, 15th August 2006

“After the rousing reception [The Flying Scotsman] got from packed houses in three screens,
it surely will not be long before someone agrees to bring the movie to a wider audience…
Many of the people who worked on the film, including Mackinnon, did so because they felt the
Scot, who defied the odds to shatter the world hour record on a home-made bike, hadn’t been
given the recognition in Scotland that he deserved… Film Festival Director Shane
Danielson… said he was delighted with the success of the evening: “I was really pleased to
get this film to open the festival as it turns 60, as it is everything the festival is about. It is a
film people have not seen before. That it was Scottish was a bonus, that it was unsigned was
a bonus, although hopefully after tonight it will find a distributor.”

Screendaily.com, 15th August 2006

“The triumph of the sporting underdog may be a tried and tested narrative convention, but
The Flying Scotsman lends an extra human dimension to the formula; champion cyclist
Graeme Obree wasn’t just chasing records he was also fighting personal demons. Belying its
fractured production history, Douglas Mackinnnon’s feature emerges as a solidly crafted,
carefully balanced biographical heartwarmer that has a built-in appeal for cycling devotees
and an older demographic who appreciate the virtues of a well-told personal story… [It] can
expect positive word of mouth… Obree’s global renown could help the film make some
headway internationally and further festival exposure is guaranteed after a world premiere as
Edinburgh’s opening night attraction… Told with a cinematic sweep and an admirable
restraint, The Flying Scotsman has a sincerity that becomes very engaging. Mackinnon is
able to rein in any possibility of excessive sentimentality or melodrama that the material might
encourage and by playing it straight he creates a genuinely stirring and ultimately very moving
tale. The screenplay is economical and the film has pace… The sense of restraint also
extends to the performances. Brian Cox is a model of understatement, lending a gentle
compassion to his character. Jonny Lee Miller is well suited to his role. He is entirely
convincing on a physical level and is seen to suffer as the camera fixes its stare on his
sweating features and grim determination as he endlessly circles the velodrome in pursuit of a
new record. He also effectively captures Obree’s dry wit, reticence and unassuming
personality in his most impressive performance for some time. The Scottish locations
captured in glowing sunshine and teeming rain by Gavin Finney’s handsome cinematography
might also prove an attraction for international audiences.”

The Herald, 14th August 2006

“**** The good news, given this film’s troubled production, is The Flying Scotsman is a winner.
Just as the protagonist of this sports biopic, Scottish cyclist Graeme Obree, had to overcome
personal and professional obstacles in order to win the World Cycling Championships twice,
so the film’s debuting director Douglas Mackinnon had to wrangle with various financing
problems in order to finish his film. It’s to Mackinnon and his cast and crew’s credit that they
managed that, and moreover that the result is a solid piece of film-making and a genuine
crowd-pleaser… Mackinnon’s film dramatises this underdog story, but it also brings an
involving personal dimension… there’s a nicely realised scene in which Obree hallucinates
that the bullies’ full-grown ringleader pays him a deeply creepy home visit… The Flying
Scotsman is rousing and often very funny. As Obree’s eccentric associate Baxter, Brian Cox
generates the lion’s share of the laughs. Billy Boyd and Laura Fraser, playing Obree’s
pal/manager and his wife, provide sterling support, and Jonny Lee Miller brings grit (and a fine
pair of legs) to the role, crossing the finishing line a winning leading man.”


Scotland on Sunday, 13th August 2006

“The story of champion Scottish cyclist Graeme Obree is filled with human emotion and
uplifting sentiment… [Douglas Mackinnon] has become one of the country’s most prolific and
accomplished television directors, with a list of credits that include The Vice with Ken Stott,
riveting medical drama Bodies with Max Beesley, and period romp Gentleman’s Relish with
Billy Connolly… [The Flying Scotsman] is finely balanced with a great cinematic sweep and a
sense of restraint that tries to rein in any sentimentality or melodrama inherent in the tale. It
also features uniformly fine performances from Brian Cox, Billy Boyd, Laura Fraser and Jonny
Lee Miller as Obree… Other festivals are starting to take notice, and it is the kind of well made,
handsomely told human interest story whose appeal will stretch far beyond Scotland…
It may be tempting fate but having seen and admired the film, and shed a tear, it seems as if
The Flying Scotsman, like Obree himself, could be on course for a happy ending.”

Scottish Daily Mail, 12th August 2006

“It wouldn’t be right, wouldn’t be fitting, for Graeme Obree’s life story simply to hit the big
screen without creating some extreme reactions… The Flying Scotsman [is] a story of cycling
glories and suicide attempts all wrapped up into one dramatic celluloid package… If ever
there was a production likely to suffer misfortune, it was one dealing with the incredible
struggles of this talented, troubled individual. Even those with no knowledge of cycling should
recall Obree, if not by name, then certainly by the story attached to it… The rags-to-riches tale
of a man who was surviving on marmalade sandwiches when he made Chris Boardman,
financial backers and £250,000 bike notwithstanding, sick to his stomach with a world title and
a world record, to boot. And the slow realisation of a watching world, entranced by Obree’s
persistence even after the authorities outlawed his riding position, that there was something
very wrong with this Scottish sporting hero… A decade in the completion, finished without a
ghost writer [his autobiography] is a searingly honest account of one athlete’s battle against
depression. A tale of talent, dedication and solvent abuse, it must have taken some guts to
give vent to some of the disturbed emotions at play… [The film] should provide inspiration and
insight to many. For a man whose life veered from impossible highs to unimaginable depths
of despair, it seems rather fitting that his life story should be born in a storm.”

Edinburgh Evening News, 10th August 2006

“It is an incredible story of determination to succeed against the odds, to push forward all the
way to the finish line no matter what obstacles were put in it way. If The Flying Scotsman
goes on to pick up awards and recoup its costs, it would be a triumph against the odds fitting
of the great man himself.”

Variety, 24th July 2006

“The word from those who have had a sneak preview is that the movie might, just might,
deliver on the crowd-pleasing, heart-warming promise that led one participant to pitch it as “Shine on a bike.”
 

 

 

Please go to the Reviews section for links to the full reviews.

Order a signed copy of his book "The Flying Scotsman" direct from Graeme Obree - sorry not available at present

The BBC website has an article about Graeme Obree and a number of news report which are well worth a look - click here

 


 

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