A screening of ‘SWALLOWS & AMAZONS’ (1974) in London


Swallows Poster April 2013

On Sunday 21st April I took the train to Waterloo, not to run the London Marathon, but to watch ‘Swallows & Amazons’, which was being shown by Dulwich Film at the Michael Croft Theatre.  Suzanna Hamilton, who played Susan and Sten Grendon, who played Roger, joined us to celebrate the fact that forty years ago, in April 1973,  we embarked on the adventure of making the movie.

I had been asked to introduce the film and answer questions about how it was made after the screening. Members of the audience were keen to know what lakes had been used as locations and if we had enjoyed our time on set. One family flew back from Spain especially so that they could come, even though they had seen the DVD of the film fifteen times. The children in the audience, who I guess were aged from about 4 to 10 years, sat in complete silence, totally absorbed.  

Author: Sophie Neville

Writer and charity fundraiser

20 thoughts on “A screening of ‘SWALLOWS & AMAZONS’ (1974) in London”

  1. I wish I could be with you Sophie but I’m already booked for a concert. I hope it goes beautifully for you all! By the way, I take it the picture is the cover for your new book – any news about when it’s coming out?

    1. We are working on the second proof for the book, which will then need to be sent off for copyright clearance. If we get that I can bring it out, hopefully with a special edition for Arthur Ransome enthusiasts.

  2. I would have loved too come too the screaning but London is a bit to far.
    Hope it all goes well. I shall lookforward to the new vesion when it comes out. Is Simon West anything to do with films these days or did he drop out of the film business?

    1. Look up the film director Simon West, watch his interviews on You Tube and then let me know what you think! He Simon R West, who played John, was born 1961 and lived in Abingdon when I knew him. I haven’t seen him since 1974 but am hoping he will make contact. I am sure he’d love to sail Swallow again.

    1. I always find it is amazing to meet up with old friends, in that you tend to just pick up where you left off. It was so good to meet Sten again. We hadn’t seen each other since 1974 when he was only 10, so he looks completely different but the shared experiencing is very bonding.

    2. I suppose if Simon West the director doesn’t really want to be remembered for his early acting performances, that is his personal choice. However what is surprising is that a few movie sites (including the IMDB) list both “entities” as being born in 1961 in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, yet no one seems to have made the connection! (or no one wants to make the connection?)

      1. Simon West who played Captain John has made contact with me. He still lives in England and is not Hollywood movie director – despite the great similarity in looks. How can two English men of the same age, both called Simon West have the same striking hair colour?

        1. I’m astonished – I really convinced myself they were the same person! Never mind, it’s nice that you have been in touch – I hope he is well.

            1. That’s great – will you be posting highlights on your blog? (This has only just appeared in my email as a new comment for some reason!)

              We have our tickets for S&A at Keswick at Christmas – funny to think it will be so close to where some of the filming was done. If you’d like a programme for your collection I’d be happy to forward one.

              1. Yes, I have already posted most of the material Simon West sent me – although there are some good photos I haven’t used yet.

                I do and will certainly promote the Keswick play. If you could write a review and e-mail it to me with a programme I could certainly use it for a blog post and link it to their website and booking office.

  3. If you go into film editing it doesn’t help your career to be known as a child actor, despite the work experience being valid. But now, 40 years on, I can’t see the recognition as being damaging in any way. If anything, it’s rather fun.

  4. Hi Sophie, Is the director of the new film The son of Prunella Scales and also the same Simon who acted with you?, or another person?.
    I’m looking forward to reading your new book. Please put me down for a copy.Regards, Colin.

  5. The Guard Bothers – Charles and Tom Guard, are set to direct the new film produced by Nick Barton of Harbour Pictures. It is not a project Simon is involved in (yet).
    Thrilled you want to see the new book! I must still draw the maps.

  6. Children ‘in complete silence, totally absorbed’! You can’t have a better recommendation than that!

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