‘Swallows and Amazons’ at the Alhambra Cinema in Keswick

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.

Ronald Fraser walking the plank

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.

Captain Flint having walked the plank

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.

 

Secrets of filming Swallows and Amazons

Signed copies of ‘The Making of Swallows and Amazons’ were available after a Q&A.

Author: Sophie Neville

Writer and charity fundraiser

6 thoughts on “‘Swallows and Amazons’ at the Alhambra Cinema in Keswick”

      1. 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.

  1. 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?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s