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My Way Home (1978)


Main image of My Way Home (1978)
35mm, black and white, 72 mins
DirectorBill Douglas
Production CompanyBFI Production Board
ScreenplayBill Douglas
PhotographyRay Orton

Cast: Stephen Archibald (Jamie); Paul Kermack (Jamie's father); Lennox Milne (grandmother); Jessie Combe (father's wife); William Carroll (Jamie's stepbrother Archie)

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Jamie leaves the children's home to live with his paternal grandmother. After working in a mine and in a tailor's shop, he is conscripted into the RAF, and goes to Egypt, where he is befriended by Robert, whose undemanding companionship releases Jamie from self-pity.

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My Childhood (1972) and My Ain Folk (1973) seemed to identify Bill Douglas as a filmmaker rooted in Scotland, more precisely in the particular Scottish mining village south of Edinburgh where he grew up. After opening in an Edinburgh children's home, the first half of My Way Home (1978) brings Jamie back to Newcraighall which, if anything, is rendered more desolate and unwelcoming. But it also broadens the trilogy's geographic and thematic concerns, for instance in the sequence in which Jamie's first job leads to his being dressed in an ill-fitting suit, which he then discards in the 'Gentleman's' toilet.

Issues of class and nationhood surface in the film's second half, through Jamie's relationship with the well-spoken Englishman, Robert. While in the earlier films male friendship was repeatedly cut short, in this film it is allowed an awkward but genuine development. Thus the conclusion of the trilogy offers an optimism only glimpsed before.

In other respects the second half of My Way Home brings an abrupt break, moving the scene from Scotland to Egypt, and cutting from a sequence of still shots of Jamie's now abandoned Newcraighall 'home', a blank platform indicator and a deserted railway track, to a long take which is unusually mobile in comparison to the rest of the trilogy, showing a landscape bleached by the North African sun.

Guy Barefoot

*This film is included in the BFI DVD and Blu-ray compilations The Bill Douglas Trilogy.

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Video Clips
1. Desecrating Dickens (6:39)
2. Outfitting Jamie (5:58)
3. To Egypt (3:34)
4. Jamie and Robert (3:39)
Complete film (1:08:44)
Original Trilogy poster
Production stills
Comrades (1986)
My Ain Folk (1973)
My Childhood (1972)
Audsley, Mick (1949-)
Douglas, Bill (1934-1991)