Comments on ‘The Making of Swallows & Amazons’

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This post comes with a huge thank you to readers who have taken the trouble to write in, send emails or add reviews on Amazon about ‘The Making of Swallows & Amazons’

Filming on Peel Island in 1973
Sophie Neville and Sten Grendon filming on Peel Island in 1973

‘I very much enjoyed reading about all the background and stories of what is one of mine and my children’s favourite films.’ David Hambelton, Oxford

Kit Seymour and Lesley Bennet as the Amazon Pirates
Kit Seymour and Lesley Bennet as the Amazon Pirates

‘…an absolutely fascinating account…about a film we all thought we knew so well. Like so many members of The Arthur Ransome Society I am an utter devotee… I’m finding the background to filming quite fascinating, and if I had thought it possible, yours is the book I have always longed for to exist. I’ve been absorbed in it ever since it arrived, forcing myself to take it slowly and not gobble it up in one go. Of course I’ll be back to it soon, dodging back and forth in tune with your narrative, indenifying particular scenes.’ Jeremy Gibson, Witney

Simon West and Sophie Neville in Swallow
Simon West as John and Sophie Neville as Titty in Swallow

‘If you liked the film, you MUST read this book. “Titty” is enthralling, and the story of the film is almost as exciting as the real story by Arthur Ransome. Essential reading for devotees.’ Chloe Randall, Scotland

BW Tents
Suzanna Hamilton and Simon West on Peel Island

Children still ask me questions that never occurred to me:

‘How did it feel to be on the island by yourself?’  Alex aged 7.  The truth of course is that I was never on the island by myself. Perhaps I should have been left there for a while so I could experience it. I would have relished the chance.

DoP Denis Lewiston and Director Claude Whatham
DoP Denis Lewiston and Director Claude Whatham in Coniston Water

Another boy asked, ‘How did you do the water?’

This took my breath away for a second. ‘How did we do the water? The water was real, and it was very cold,’ I replied, explaining that we actually shot the film on four different lakes in Cumbria, all of which you can discover for yourself.

Have your children any questions? I’d love to hear them.

Simon West and Sophie Neville on Coniston Water
Simon West and Sophie Neville on Coniston Water

For more reviews of The Making of Swallows & Amazons on Amazon, please click here.

To see more still from the film that can be purchased as framed prints or on mugs etc please click here for StudioCanal’s website.

To find out more about The Arthur Ransome Society please click here

Brenda Bruce as Mrs Dixon with Claude Whatham
Brenda Bruce as Mrs Dixon with Claude Whatham at Tent Lodge Cottages

Author: Sophie Neville

Writer and charity fundraiser

13 thoughts on “Comments on ‘The Making of Swallows & Amazons’”

  1. (I continue with my donations to your Clustr map – writing from Athens, en route to a conference!) I totally agree with Jeremy Gibson – it’s the book we always dreamed of

    1. You are so kind! The question is, should I publish another on ‘The Making of Coot Club and The Big Six’? I have the material but my publishers don’t think we’d sell enough to make it worthwhile.

      1. I’ve read the opening of “The Making of Coot Club and The Big Six” which is included on the new version of the DVD. I would buy the whole thing without hesitation if the whole book was available, though I should point out that my interest in it may be amplified above normal levels by my ideas about making films in the future with children in the lead roles, so I find it useful to get your insight into how the business works and the kinds of thing that can go wrong. I don’t know if it would sell enough copies on paper to justify putting it out in that form, so I can see that it would be a big risk for a publisher, but is there any reason why it can’t just come out as an ebook?

        1. I think it’s possible – but it’s still a time and cost for me. Far better if Classic TV Press could be persuaded to publish it properly!
          Caroline, who played Dorothea still has her diaries. If they are any good – which they should be as she was 13 – it could be very interesting.

  2. (Hello from the conference on the island of Hydra) I would LOVE all the CC and BS material, but my ideal format would be an ebook plus a link to the illustrations, so that I could take the book a-travelling with me but also have access to the full-size photos etc. (The latter was fulfilled for your previous work by following your wonderful blog) I wonder again about crown-funding as a possibility for that?

    1. I try to make my ebooks inexpensive but I am just going to have to raise the price to cover the cost of production. My books are more complex than most as I try to use as many illustrations as I can, but I think it important to include maps.

      Do you have my three existing ebooks?

      1. [Oops, I meant crowD-funding, intriguing as crown-funding sounds :-).]
        I have your books, and I’m most ready to pay more for the proposed book – what a gem! Perhaps Henry D could contribute? I heard him on the radio the other day.

  3. I think ‘The Making of Swallows and Amazons’, as well as being a great book, is a really important addition to the library of film books. If only we had the equivalent from the work of D W Griffiths, Raoul Walsh, Chaplin or Keaton! I really hope you will, one day, feel able to produce a book on the making of Swallows and Amazons Forever.

    1. Many readers have asked me to write about the secrets of filming ‘Coot Club’ and ‘The Big Six’ and I have an offer offer of publication but have put my draft document on the back burner for now. I’m not sure how many copies would sell.

      1. The number of copies sold is a gamble. But I do hope you can be persuaded to write the book, one day!

          1. It would be a valuable and unique source of material. If you did make her keep it, well done!

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