Monday, February 16, 2009

Gibraltar in popular culture

I've been trawling around the net recently, looking for any Gibraltar Blogs I may have missed. Disappointingly, it seems I haven't missed much. If you're interested, I have linked any I have found on my sidebar... those of any note anyhow. If you run or write a blog related to Gibraltar... then let me know!

However, whilst surfing about, I revisited a favourite page about Gibraltar on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, which includes loads of information about the politics, economy, history and culture of Gibraltar.

Poking about, I came across some interesting notes on Gibraltar... in popular culture and I thought I would share them with you.


* The film The Silent Enemy was filmed on location in Gibraltar in 1958. It is a dramatisation of the period during the Second World War when Lionel "Buster" Crabb served as a mine and disposal officer in Gibraltar while frogmen of the Italian Navy's Tenth Light Flotilla were sinking vital shipping.

* The opening scene of the film The Living Daylights (from the James Bond film series) takes place in Gibraltar.

* In the German-language film Das Boot, a German U-boat struggles in its attempt to get past the British Royal Navy in Gibraltar to relocate to a base in the Mediterranean sea.


* Anthony Burgess's novel A Vision of Battlements (1965), chronicling the troubled love-life of the British soldier Richard Ennis, is set in Gibraltar.

* The satirical novel Gil Braltar by Jules Verne (1887) describes an almost successful attack by our famous apes on the fortress of Gibraltar.

* 'The Day of an American Journalist in 2889', an 1889 Jules Verne short story, also mentions Gibraltar as the last territory of a British Empire that has lost the British Isles themselves.

* Raffles' Crime in Gibraltar by Barry Perowne, a Sexton Blake story, is set in Gibraltar in 1937 (U.S. title: They Hang Them in Gibraltar).

* Scruffy by Paul Gallico is set on Gibraltar during World War II. It follows the steady decline in the size of the Barbary Macaque (our apes or monkeys) colony and the possible fulfillment of the superstition or legendary prophecy that Gibraltar will fall to the enemy if they disappear.

* As Molly Bloom is a native Gibraltarian, references to Gibraltar appear throughout James Joyce's Ulysses (1922). A sculpture of Molly Bloom as imagined by local artist Jon Searle is on display in the Alameda Gardens.

* Arthur C. Clarke's novel The Fountains of Paradise mentions the 'Gibraltar Bridge', a novel infrastructure connecting Europe and Africa across the Strait of Gibraltar. This is no longer so far fetched as plans are currently being looked at to build such a bridge.

* John Masters book The Rock is a collection of short stories set in Gibraltar: These range from a story set in prehistoric times to one suggesting a possible future for the Rock.

* In Maud Hart Lovelace's book Betsy and the Great World, the heroine goes on a cruise to Europe and makes a stop at Gibraltar, where she learns about its history and legends, and goes shopping.


* In 1782 Wolfgang Amadeus MozartWolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed a fragment for voice and piano to celebrate the Great Siege of Gibraltar titled Bardengesang auf Gibraltar: O Calpe! Dir donnert's am Fusse.

* The Beatles' song The Ballad of John & Yoko identifies Gibraltar as the place where John Lennon and Yoko Ono were married.

* In 1952 American country singer Frankie Lane had a song called The Rock of Gibraltar, which made it to #20 in the US Top 40

Notable or famous Gibraltarians

Notable or famous Gibraltarians include:

* William George Penney was a physicist responsible for the development of British nuclear technology following World War II.

* John Galliano is a four time British fashion designer of the year.

* Albert Hammond is an international singer, songwriter and producer.

* Henry Francis Cary (1772 - 1844) was a translator and poet.

* Thomas William Bowlby (1818 - 1860) was a correspondent for The Times in Germany and China. He was captured and imprisoned by the Tartar General Sengge Rinchen whilst on correspondence duties in Tongzhou, Beijing.

* Frederick Stanley Maude (1864 - 1917) was a General who led the successful campaign in World War I to capture Baghdad over the winter of 1917.

* John Beikie (1766 - 1839) was a merchant and political figure in Upper Canada.

* Don Pacifico (1784 - 1854) was a Gibraltar-born Portuguese Jew, most famous for the Pacifico incident, as described in the book Don Pacifico: The Acceptable Face of Gunboat Diplomacy.

* John Montresor (1736 - 1799) – Gibraltar-born military engineer in the British service active in North America, his amorous exploits inspired the best-selling novel Charlotte Temple.

* Gustavo Bacarisas (1873 - 1971) was a Painter.

You can find more books, music, films and other items of popular culture related to Gibraltar by visiting our Gibraltar Online Book and Film Store or exploring the graphic links on the right sidebar here.