The 1974 adaptation of Arthur Ransome’s iconic book ‘Swallows and Amazons’ starring Virginia McKenna was screened on BBC Two on Friday 17th April at 3.00pm and was available on BBC iPlayer for 30 days here
Please add any questions about how the movie was made to the Comments below.
For the latest edition of the paperback on ‘The Making of Swallows and Amazons(1974)’ with details of the film locations and what those who appeared in it are doing now, Please click here
You can read the first section for free in the ebook, entitled ‘The secrets of filming Swallows & Amazons (1974)’ This is similar to the paperback but has a few more stories for adult readers and links to behind-the-scenes cine footage. It can be downloaded from iBooks, iTunes, Smashwords, Kobo and Amazon Kindle
For homeschooling ideas, why not get hold of a copy of ‘Swallows and Amazons’ in French or enter Into Film’s movie review writing contests? Read more here.
It would be lovely to hear from anyone who saw it in the cinema when it first came out in cinemas in the summer of 1974 – more than forty-five years ago.
If you enjoy ‘Swallows and Amazons’, think of joining The Arthur Ransome Society or the Arthur Ransome Group on Facebook where you will meet like-minded people – of all ages. Most are dinghy sailors who love the books.
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27 thoughts on “The original film of ‘Swallows and Amazons’ was broadcast on BBC Two on Friday 17th April 2020 at 3.00pm”
I remember how much I enjoyed seeing the film on the big screen all those years ago. I was 21 at the time and “persuaded” my younger brother to go so that I didn’t need to feel embarrassed at going to see a childrens film. My only quibble with the film was that I thought that the Amazon’s boathouse was on the wrong side of the river.
Great to hear from you! I rather wish we had used the boathouse at the southern end of the lake that Brigit Altounyan owned, although I can’t remember if she was living there in 1973. You can see a picture of it here: https://wordpress.com/post/sophieneville.net/3342
Still the best version.
I am so glad you like it! Do think of writing a short review (even these four words) to the Amazon site for the re-mastered DVD. It really helps to fly the flag: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Swallows-Amazons-40th-Anniversary-Special/dp/B00KBROZRQ
Will do, regards John.
Now done! Regards John.
Thanks so much. Reviews help in so many ways.
Looking forward to watching the film again. Regards John.
There is always something new that I notice every time I read the book – even now!
That’s the mark of a great writer.
As with your other correspondents, I also re-watch the film and re-read the books as often as I can.
That’s great to hear. How many times would you say you have watched the film of ‘Swallows and Amazons'(1974) ?
I would think something in excess of 50 times
Was that always with your children, or have you enjoyed watching the film as an adult?
Both with and without children. My late wife and I first watched it before children came along. We then saw it many times as a family and we kept on watching it after they flew the nest. We both loved it for the scenery as well as for the adventure, and I still watch it at least a couple of times a year. I have loved the books since being a small boy.
Arthur Ransome’s books all offer such solace. I love listening to them read in the car. Do you have the LP to the film?
No. I haven’t. I didn’t know there was an LP; I shall investigate.
It’s narrated by David Wood, the screen writer. Do you have a record-player?
Yes I have. I do have quite a large collection of LPs. I shall look out for this one.
You could request Wilfred Joseph’s wonderful theme tune to ‘Swallows and Amazons'(1974) is played on Classic FM. I believe Saturday night is often movie night for them.
What a nice idea, thank you. I might do that.
Here’s a version of the film score: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXFSTzq36tQ
Thank you, I will listen to it in a bit.
Wilfred Joseph’s theme tune for the BBC Play of ‘Cider With Rosie'(1971) was beautiful. It was once on YouTube but all I have now is a DVD of the drama. It is one of the great scores written for television. Have you heard it?
I have the DVD of ‘Cider with Rosie’. Laurie Lee was one of my wife’s favourite writers and we both loved the play when it was originally shewn on BBC. I have only just obtained the DVD and watched it once. The music is a sheer delight.
There are two versions of the score on Youtube. I love this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CEIbzLROnE
I have just listened to both links you have sent me, Wilfred Josephs’ music for ‘Swallows and Amazons’ and ‘Cider with Rosie’; they are both magical aren’t they. The scores capture perfectly the mood and atmosphere of their respective film and TV play; helped by sympathetic conducting by Marcus Dodds. I love them both, too.