Q&A with Sophie Neville at the Riverside Cinema ~ photo: Claudia Myatt
The screening of Swallows & Amazons (1974) on Sunday afternoon was sold out. 250 tickets. They were endlessly turning people away. ‘We should have shown it again in the 6.00pm slot,’ I told the manager. ‘Oh, we have American Snipper on then.’ It stars Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller. ‘How many have booked to see it?’ ‘Three.’
~ photo: Pandora Doyle ~
All age groups were represented in the audience who came to the event – a fundraiser in aid of the Nancy Blackett Trust. About 70% had seen the film of Swallows & Amazons before. Some knew it well.
Everyone loved seeing the original white elephant flag flown on Captain Flint’s houseboat that had been sent to me from America by the producer.
Swallow, the clinker built dinghy, originally built by William King and Sons at Burnham-on-Crouch and used in the 1974 film, was rigged up outside the cinema for everyone to meet. She has been appearing at a number of The Arthur Ransome Society’s events in Suffolk and Essex.
We used the best photo of Swallow under sail for the cover of the paperback on how the film was made, which was on display in the cinema lobby after the film. It is now available online or from the Aldebrugh Bookshop in Suffolk.
Someone asked if we had any disasters while making the film.
‘Swallow’s mast broke, we nearly sailed under the Windermere steamer and we were often rained off,’ but I couldn’t think of anything utterly disastrous from my own perspective except that I lost a tooth halfway through shooting a scene with Virginia McKenna, which was embarrassing. I’ll have to ask Richard Pilbrow who produced the film back in 1973. I can list other questions asked by the audience in the next post.
The Riverside Cinema in Woodbridge are thinking of showing Swallows & Amazons again in September to help them celebrate their centenary ~ ‘100 Years of Film’. Do add a comment in the box below if you would like to organise a screening of the film at a cinema near you.
You can read about the adventures had making the original film of Swallows and Amazons in these editions available online: