‘Swallows and Amazons’ returns to Keswick

This July marks the forty-fifth anniversary of filming the original film “Swallows and Amazons” on Derwentwater when Ronald Fraser was obliged to walk the plank in a sola topi in July 1973.

Ronald Fraser walking the plank
Ronald Fraser walking the plank.

To celebrate the event, Sophie Neville, who played Titty, will be introducing a screening of the 1974 film at the Alhambra Cinema in Keswick on Saturday 28th July at 2.00pm – with the possibility of a second screening at 5.30pm.

Captain Flint having walked the plank
Captain Flint having walked the plank.

Sophie hopes to demonstrate how one of the visual effects was achieved and will be signing copies of her book “The Making of Swallows and Amazons” after a Q&A session.

She says ‘I am planning to bring 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 will be able to watch on the big screen.

“The audience might be able to spot a few other things that went wrong while we were filming, such as the time that I inadvertently slipped up to my waist in water. Bring along any questions you might have and I’ll see if I can answer them.

“The elegant Lakeland steamer, the Lady Derwentwater, had the starring role as Captain Flint’s houseboat. She was adapted 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 ‘Swallows and Amazons’ will be at the lakeside. You are welcome to come and meet her or take photos. She is looked after by Rob Boden, from Kendal, who is happy to take people for a sail by prior arrangement via the Sail Ransome website here.”

The cinema listing can be found here with a map and more details. Tickets should be booked in advance.

The original version of this story was published by Sophie Neville in July 2018.