14th May 2023 will mark the 50th Anniversary of filming Richard Pilbrow’s classic movie ‘Swallows and Amazons’ on location in the Lake District that was premiered the year after on 4th April 1974.
The 40th Anniversary of the release of the original film ‘Swallows and Amazons'(1974) was marked by a number of events around the UK:
Dulwich Film screened ‘Swallows & Amazons’ (1974), produced by Richard Pilbrow and directed by Claude Whatham. The programme was introduced by Sophie Neville, Suzanna Hamilton and Sten Grendon who played the Swallows. They answered questions about how it was made after the screening at the Michael Croft Theatre.
Michael Croft founded the National Youth Theatre. One of his students was Simon Ward, who went on to star as James Herriot in the film version of ‘All Creatures Great and Small’, which Claude Whatham directed in 1974 after finishing ‘Swallows & Amazons’. Sophie Neville had been invited to watch the filming in Yorkshire, meeting Anthony Hopkins and members of the cast and crew who had worked on Swallows & Amazons in 1973. Brenda Bruce played Mrs Harbottle and Wilfred Josephs composed the music, Terry Needham was the Location Manager and Ronnie Cogan the Hairdresser.
‘I didn’t meet James Herriot until I worked in production at the BBC on Russell Harty in 1982. He was charming – an incredibly confident man. I don’t remember his wife being interviewed but she came with him to the studio and struck me as being terribly nice. She wore a proper dress, which is more than could be said for anyone else in the Green Room.’
A year later Sophie Neville appeared with Simon Ward’s daughter Sophie Ward in the adventure movie ‘The Copter Kids’ when they played sisters. Simon brought his family to watch the filming on location near Gerrards Cross. In September there will be a special tribute to Simon Ward at the Michael Croft Theatre when they will be screening ‘Young Winston’.
Sophie Neville gave a 40th anniversary talk on ‘Filming Swallows & Amazons in 1973′ for members of The Arthur Ransome Society gathering for their AGM at Brockenhurst College in the New Forest. ‘Swallow’ , the dinghy from the 1974 film, was moored at Buckler’s Hard on the Beaulieu River for members to sail.
Arthur Ransome’s boat The Nancy Blackett ~ The Goblin in Arthur Ransome’s book ‘We didn’t Mean to Go to Sea’ was also the Solent for this event and for the Old Gaffers Yogaff regatta at Yarmouth, Isle of Wight
Meanwhile in the Lake District there was an outdoor screening of the movie Swallows & Amazons at Holly Howe (Bank Ground Farm) on the shores of Coniston Water, with Captain Flint’s Houseboat, SY Gondola, in attendance.
To read the filmography posts about the 1974 film please go to ~ https://sophieneville.net/category/autobiography/
11 thoughts on “50th Anniversary of the original film of Swallows and Amazons (1974)”
I hope the 50th Anniversary will be celebrated even more lavishly!
It would be fun to celebrate with film fans.
It would. Let’s hope the feelers we put out bear some fruit! (Sorry about the mixed-metaphors!)
Perhaps we should write to BFI – the British Film Institute in London.
I was thinking the same thing. Should I start working on it?
I’m assuming your ‘Why no!’ really means ‘Why not!’. I will start working on it this week.
Sorry yes! Why not?
I have a list of celebrities who claim Swallows and Amazons had an influence on their lives. Jeffrey Archer is in the Independent today and was in the Daily Mail recently:https://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/books/article-10070327/WHAT-BOOK-novelist-Jeffrey-Archer-desert-island.html?fbclid=IwAR1AoSjJTZPNCZiGnPUPFJg-HRJ37iKXXWwPnLd0fLkJyfJnx9yyCdTS4xo
This will all help. Thank you.
I could send you a list!