The 45th Anniversary of filming the original film ‘Swallows and Amazons’ on Derwentwater, when Ronald Fraser was obliged to walk the plank in a solar topi in July 1973, was marked by a special screening of the film at the Alhambra in Keswick.
Kerry Derbyshire, who played Vicky’s nurse came on stage and we demonstrated how one of the visual effects was achieved.
I brought one of the original arrows that the Amazon pirates fired over my head. It looks so dangerous on film that the shot was cut from the television version but is included in the re-mastered cinemascope edition that we are now able to watch on the big screen. You might be able to spot a few other things that went wrong while we were filming, such as the time I inadvertently slipped up to my waist in water.
Nick Newby from Nicole End Marine came along to tell us how the elegant Lakeland steamer, the Lady Derwentwater, had been converted for her starring role as Captain Flint’s houseboat. She was appropriately dressed for the part by the award-winning set designer Ian Whittaker, who went on to receive an Oscar for Best Art Direction on ‘Howards End’ starring Sir Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. His astonishing list of nominations can been seen here.
Swallow, the 1930s sailing dinghy used in the original film, was at the lakeside for Arthur Ransome enthusiasts to admire. She is looked after by Rob Boden, from Kendal, who is happy to take people for a sail by prior arrangement via the SailRansome website here.
Signed copies of ‘The Making of Swallows and Amazons’ were available after a Q&A.
6 thoughts on “‘Swallows and Amazons’ at the Alhambra Cinema in Keswick”
Thank you. I love your reports and news!
Thanks so much for letting us know! Are you able to come to the next talk on the making of ‘Swallows and Amazons’ in Keswick on Sat 28th July?
I wish we could. We visited Coniston Water in 2006 and stayed at Holly Howe. It was wonderful! But it’s a long way from California. Maybe another year.
We were able to stay at Bank Ground Farm in May and had beautiful weather. I’ve been putting some photos on Twitter.
Another great post Sophie, thank you. I wish I could have attended at the Alhambra Cinema, hopefully I will be able to catch a re-run sometime! Was that when you nearly lost your bow?
Yes, I left the bow at the Alhambra. Someone sent it south with their daughter who left it at a marina for me to collect.