Lost & Found

A new look at Ray Davies' all-too-rarely seen Kinks promo video from the 1980s, featuring Kast Off Kinks Ian Gibbons, Jim Rodford and Bob Henrit
Chris Kocher, journalist in Binghamton, NY, with the Press & Sun-Bulletin, whose works include the excellent interview with Ray Davies linked below, writes :

Well, you can always say one thing about Kinks videos: They tell a good story.

Ray Davies gets all the plum roles, of course. From the spiv in “Come Dancing” and “Don’t Forget to Dance” to the down-and-out in “Do It Again” and then Ray himself (or aspects of him) in “State of Confusion” and “Predictable,” the characters find themselves in mini-movies that do more than just show the band lip-synching the song.

The “Lost and Found” video goes one further with a movie inside the movie. The Kinks have teamed up with an orchestra to score a silent film apparently set during the American Revolution (at least according to the “New York 1775” title card). Although the song’s lyrics - with its talk of the “nitty gritty,” bag ladies and old sea dogs - don’t exactly fit the well-dressed toff played by Ray onscreen, the gist of it is clear: He’s not sure he wants to face life’s “hurricane” on his own anymore, and he even considers ending it all.

On the other side of the screen, someone else is lost too. One of the orchestra’s cello players (played by the lovely Francine Brody) comes late to the session, facing a stern look from the wild-haired conductor and a bemused one from the Ray Davies playing the song with the Kinks. Even once she’s settled, she seems more interested in looking at a book- also called "Lost and Found" - and soon the connection is clear.

Ray has been rightly hailed as one of England’s premier chroniclers of average folks, and woven into our fabric is the innate desire for something to lift us above our everyday problems and concerns. Music does that – but it’s clear that like many of us, Ray also looks to movies for inspiration. “Groovy Movies” and “Oklahoma U.S.A.” gave early hints of this in his songwriting, but it came to fruition in “Celluloid Heroes”:

I wish my life was a non-stop Hollywood movie show,
A fantasy world of celluloid villains and heroes,
Because celluloid heroes never feel any pain
And celluloid heroes never really die.

In fact, the entire Everybody’s in Show-Biz album – where “Celluloid Heroes” appears – was rumored to be the soundtrack of a road film that was never released.

Other references to movies crop up from time to time: “Moving Pictures” uses them as a metaphor for the fleeting nature of existence; “Clichés of the World (B-Movie)” is a shot-for-shot film script; “The Video Shop” (which appears on Think Visual with “Lost and Found”) is about average joes escaping their worries through renting VHS tapes. Arguably, you could also say that much of Ray’s songwriting has a cinematic or documentary feel to it. He’s an observer and storyteller, after all.

One of Ray’s other recurring themes is how the line between fantasy and reality can sometimes be a thin one. Some of it can be traced to the parallel lives that he himself has led since “You Really Got Me” stormed the charts in 1964: rock star/family man; onstage/offstage; inner life/outer persona. It’s forced him to think about the lies we tell ourselves to stay sane – never more evident than in Soap Opera, where an office drone imagines himself as a rock star to keep him from his own dull problems.

These two ideas – movies and fantasy mixing with reality – merge most strongly in two of Ray’s projects, with very different results. In the film Return to Waterloo (which Ray wrote and directed as well as doing the music), the Traveler sees disturbing visions of various passengers as well as flashbacks to his own troubled past – but it’s the accompanying story in Ray’s Waterloo Sunset short-story collection where things really start to get knotty. In it, Ray himself becomes haunted by the Traveler as he edits the film, and he imagines the creepy rapist staring at him and starting to infiltrate his mind.

A much happier ending occurs in the “Lost and Found” video. The toff onscreen and the cellist offscreen find their destinies in each other – and even though one of them is only a flickering film image, they can’t be kept apart. Ray doesn’t write straight-ahead love songs, but it’s clear he has a romantic streak.

So the lovers are united to face the hurricane – two celluloid heroes who will be together any time the flickering light of a movie projector brings them to life.


Dave Quayle, Kinks scholar and author of the "I Wonder Where They All Are Now" website, an annotated list of characters in Kinks songs, writes :

I love the conductor and Ray's silent movie performance.  I've always liked the song and the steel drums coming in like that are one of those moments of Ray genius - where else would the hurricane come in from but the Caribbean? 

How good Dave looks, sad to think of the ill-health he has suffered in recent times. Is that a mullet Ray is sporting?

Librarian that I am, I'm interested in the book in the video.  Unfortunately I suspect it's just a prop created for video; the cover is nothing like what I rather hoped was my main suspect. 

I've searched mightily on the web and the book I was thinking of, that set me off on the lost and found meditation, was a novel by Julian Gloag, called 'Lost and found', published in 1981, before Ray's song came out.  We know Ray is a reader so at the time it made me wonder.  Nothing to do with the song - the novel plot involves a lost manuscript, a father and daughter thing (a loss of trust?) and something bad (an impossible decision to be made) that happened in WW2 in occupied France, is all I can glean - just that resonance of lost and found.

Lost and found, I have long thought, is one of the more interesting and  profound of dualities.  Life and death is so binary - there's no coming back - and I've never really got the love and hate thing (more love and indifference?).  The condition of being lost, of losing something, is so bereft but contains within itself the glorious idea of being found.  Much like sadness and gladness. 

Pretentious, moi?


Olga Ruocco, actress and Kinks mega-fan writes :

This video was certainly lost to me until a friend found it and sent me a copy on DVD. 

I couldn't believe my eyes! It ticked all my boxes with regard to Kinks videos: amazing story, Ray being silly and a good tune. 

The song was already a favourite of mine - I like steel drums (even "pretend" ones) and saxophones, and to have them together in one song is an acoustic heaven. But to discover Ray's interpretation of the song was another revelation, as I am interested in 18th century history and costume, and love the genre of those jerky early black and white movies.

I was 14, when, as an end of term treat, my school year was shown the 1957 film version of Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities. Despite the sound being out of sync with the action and making the whole thing a bit surreal, I developed an instant crush on the star, Dirk Bogarde and a penchant for 18th century costume. The laconic Sydney Carton, was wholly drool-able over, oh so romantic, and became my favourite fictional character. I cut my fan letter-writing teeth on poor Mr Bogarde - I doubt if he ever read any of those missives, but I do have a signed photo dedicated to me and a couple of typed letters. Reading the Scarlet Pimpernel stories followed of course, and all of these teenage memories come flooding back whenever I see this video.

Our unnamed aristocratic hero, more of a frenetic Percy Blakeney than a laconic Sydney Carton, prances about his wintry garden getting his very tight tights in a twist over his lost love.  What happened to this be-curled lady?  Did she die of a long wasting disease or pack up her portmaneau and flounce off to Philadelphia?  Did she actually exist at all, or did he just find a miniature of this woman somewhere and fall in love with an image rather than an actual person?

The strange thing in this video is that as the story unfolds, I get the suspicion that Ray has set the whole thing up and that the band is in on the secret. He knew about the love stricken 18th century aristocrat (previously having seen the rushes of the film) and planned to reunite him with the woman of his dreams.

Stories played out in two or more time frames fascinate me (The Time Traveller's Wife is an example and also most of Peter Ackroyd's novels) and I am convinced that present day events can influence the past as well as the past influencing the future. Time is a strange concept. The smiles from the band as our young lady enters the film world are almost "knowing", and they, and the conductor, approve wholeheartedly of the romantic union in the unreal world of the black and white film.

I can take any amount of Ray's overacting.  He must have had great fun prancing about in histrionic fashion, deliberating whether to blow his brains out or not, and then foppishly flopping  onto the table (why on earth is there a wooden table with a gun on it, in the middle of a garden?). Ooh, and those close-ups - what can a girl say? No wonder our heroine turning from her novel was captured by the wistful, longing look and the loneliness of the long distant aristocrat.  These days (if the mood takes him) you can catch Ray overacting in After the Fall!

If eyes like that were looking at me from a cinemas screen I'd be walking up to them and  barging into the unreal reality too!

Things turn full circle, even after many years.  Ray told me that he had dinner with Dirk Bogarde as he had a book out at the same time as X-Ray. Penguin Books published both and set up a celebratory meal. I'll have to find out more, because I was so caught up in the surprise that two big influences in my life had met that I forgot to ask sensible questions! I was lost!

And found!


The female lead was played by Francine Brody, actress, book editor and cellist  :

KOK : Was it planned that your character would be a cellist, or was the story written around the fact that you played cello when you got the part?

FB : I think it was all just about planned except that they were originally looking for a violinist but when I went to the audition they changed their mind.

It was quite funny - Ray loved my shoes and dress that I wore to the audition so much that he asked me to wear them in the video.

KOK : I don't suppose there are many actresses who play the cello?

FB : Actually, there are a few actresses who are cellists, but I was very upset when the part of Jackie (Jacqueline du Pre) in Hilary and Jackie went to one who wasn't!! I didn't actually see it but I heard it was very good and luckily I think Emily Watson is a great actress.

KOK : Do you remember the location? 

FB : Much of it was shot at Ray's house as far as I remember. Certainly the outside shots were in his garden. 

The beginning of the video is cut from the VH-1 clip, but it started out with a scene of me creeping out of bed, which was filmed in Ray's bathroom! It was great fun. 
(Note : thanks to Dave Emlen we have now obtained that opening scene and reconstructed the entire video, which is the clip we are using here)

KOK : It looks a very happy video - there is a lot of smiling going on.  Did you get on well with Ray and the band?

FB : Ray was lovely and so were all the band and crew. Ray's daughter is the cellist next to me and his wife or partner at the time is one of the violinists.

Perhaps another interesting thing to add is that the book we used was actually "Lace" by Shirley Conran and the false jacket was painted to look like me. Ray autographed it for me and it is a treasured keepsake!

And on my wall at home is a favourite photo : a still of Ray and me from the video.

The Photo on Francine's wall

We asked the three Kast Off Kinks involved for their recollections of making the video :

Bob Henrit

Ian Gibbons

Jim Rodford

Bob says that Ray was writer, producer and director and recalls that the video was shot mostly at Olympic studios in Barnes.  He thinks Tor Davies played the other cellist.

"I can't remember who the conductor was - probably an actor from Central casting, and not sure who the horn section was, but two of them look like Nicky Payne and Andy Hamilton."

Ian agrees that most of the video that the band were involved in was definitely done at Olympic Studios in Barnes.  They had a very large room there with a full size cinema screen, specifically designed for orchestras etc to overdub soundtracks. 

"I can't remember who the conductor was either. I do however, remember standing around all day with the rest of the band, waiting to do our little bit (my screen time is probably 3 or 4 seconds) and the phrase 'hurry up and wait' comes to mind.  We'd been there since 10 in the morning and didn't film our bit until late evening, as is usual with any filming!"

"There is one small story attached to this; I was asked by Ray if I knew of anyone who could write a score for the conductor, and I duly got one done by a friend of mine (John Boughtwood) who worked for the BBC at the time as a music transcriber.  When the full score was put on the conductors music stand, it obscured his face during filming, so the score was cut in half!!!  Although my friend had been paid for this, he had spent a lot of time on it, and I remember feeling quite upset for him!  Any old bit of music would have done really…"

"I seem to remember the catering being quite good, and there may have been some other liquid
refreshment available to keep us all going."

Jim's main memory  of  making the video is of struggling with the double bass - not his instrument of choice!

Finally, we got a bit of an insight into the conception of the video from Ray Davies himself :

"I was ill with flu at the time I conceived the idea for the video of 'Lost and Found'.

I dragged myself out and saw what became the inspiration for the film within the film  -  a classic French silent move of 1927 - 'Napolé
on', directed by Abel Gance, who could be said to have invented Cinerama"


This 5-hour epic was regarded as groundbreaking, as the final section was made as a triptych - involving the simultaneous projection of three reels of silent film arrayed in a horizontal row, making for a total aspect ratio of 4.0:1.

This configuration is considered a largely similar precursor to Cinerama, which would debut a quarter of a century later. 

A re-edited version of Napoléon,  in 1935, with added dialogue and sound effects, was the first movie with stereophonic sound.

It was painstakingly restored by film historian Kevin Brownlow over several years and versions were released in 1980 and 1983, to be shown in specialist cinemas such as the National Film Theatre and the Barbican Centre in London.

Ray Davies in the film within the film

Vladimir Roudenko as young Napoléon  and Albert Dieudonné as the adult Napoléon

The Hurricane

In 1775, the East Coast of America was indeed struck by a severe hurricane, known as the "Independence Hurricane". 

However, having crossed the coastline in North Carolina, it swung northeast through Virginia, then went offshore and bypassed New York, so the lovers would have been spared.

Unfortunately for the people of Newfoundland, the hurricane moved inland again there and wreaked immense damage.

I just love this video.  The film within the film is a wonderful pastiche of a silent movie, the late arrival of the cellist is a very clever touch and I think the whole piece is very well acted.

My favourite part is the dénouement, where the lovers are finally united, Bob hits that tremendous drum roll, Dave Davies' lead guitar breaks through, the conductor looks so touched, the brass section swells and the whole band grins happily.  I challenge anyone not to smile along with them.

It is such a shame that nobody can remember the name of the splendid actor who played the conductor.  Maybe we will find out one day.


Chris Kocher's interview with Ray Davies

Trailer for Abel Gance's  Napoléon
on YouTube 

Dave Quayle's I Wonder Where They All Are Now

Research by :
Geoff Lewis and Olga Ruocco

Francine Brody's website

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