HERO: INSPIRED BY THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE AND TIMES OF MR. ULRIC CROSS
TT / CAN 2018 1hr 51mins Dir: Frances-Anne Solomon Starring: Nickolai Salcedo and Fraser James
The story of a young man from Trinidad whose lifes journey gave him a place on the world stage
Philip Louis Ulric Cross emerged from World War II as possibly the RAF’s most decorated West Indian. After the war he qualified for the Bar in just 14 months but was unable to get a job as a lawyer in the UK. His life then took a dramatically different course when he followed the call of history, and joined the independence movements sweeping Africa in the 50s and 60s. This feature film combines archive footage of the time with dramatizations inspired by events in Ulric Cross’ life, and was filmed over three years on location in Ghana, Great Britain and Canada, as well as in Trinidad & Tobago. It is perhaps for this reason that such a mis-match of railway footage appears, yet even by the carefree attitudes towards continuity this film is extraordinary in its blatant use of stock footage. It would seem that quite simply ‘anything went’ for the production team, without any rhyme or reason, and this nonchalant and relaxed view makes for a very complex set of proceedings. There are some scenes filmed on the Bluebell Railway with Maunsell S15 Class 4-6-0 No.847 but even these are not straightforward. The archive footage includes many wartime images, yet apart from the scenes filmed at London Waterloo, recognisable locations are rather thin on the ground. There are also several old drivers’ eye views filmed from trains leaving tunnels on the third-rail electrified Southern Railway but these have not been replicated below. One wonders if the stock images have come from the depths of Canada’s film archive. If so, what other treats await discovery? The film is often referred to simply as Hero, but its full title is that above and it was also released as Hero: The Extraordinary Life of Mr. Ulric Cross.