The Secrets of Filming Swallows & Amazons (1974)
By: Sophie Neville
Length: 386 pages
Release date: Nov 13, 2013
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Second edition, revised and updated 2016.
In 1973, Sophie Neville was cast as Titty alongside Suzanna Hamilton and Virginia McKenna in the EMI/Theatre Projects movie of 'Swallows & Amazons' (1974).
Made before the advent of CGI or digital technology, the child stars lived out Arthur Ransome's epic adventure on location in the Lake District, without even seeing a script.
As part of their schoolwork, the children were asked to keep diaries about their time spent filming. Meanwhile, the hip young crew from Elstree Studios were getting to grips with transforming 1970's Windermere in mid-holiday season into a 1929 idyll.
They never guessed that their happy 'Woodstock-on-wheels' experience would become such an enduring worldwide success, still screened on television and at festivals today.
This heart-warming memoir is illustrated with colour photographs, most of them taken at the time by Sophie's family, and contains links to behind-the-scenes 16mm cine footage for readers with multimedia tablets. It delivers a double helping of nostalgia for both fans of the era of Arthur Ransome, and the groovy times of the early Seventies.
‘A “treasure trunk” of insights into the making of the film.’ Arthur Ransome Trust
‘I could not put it down! ...I think the maps are brilliant, right in character....IT'S LOVELY!!! I’m enjoying it too much.’ Roger Wardale, biographer of Arthur Ransome
‘...It is wonderfully entertaining.’ Richard Pilbrow, Producer, 'Swallows & Amazons' 1973
‘You write so well and have so much covered. I really, really laugh reading this! The missionary bit is superb. Moving. Quietly so.’ Suzanna Hamilton, Mate Susan in 'Swallows & Amazons'
'Sophie has reminded me of one of the happiest times I ever spent on a film. The fun that was had, the friendships forged, the challenges overcome, are all delightfully recalled with a freshness and sense of adventure that has made me smile all over again.' Virginia McKenna, OBE, actress and founder of Born Free Foundation