The Enid Blyton Society

Arthur Ransome - Coot Club, The Big Six, etc.

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Re: Swallows and Amazons film

Postby Courtenay » 19 Jun 2016, 20:56

Rob Houghton wrote:Wait until they remake the film of The Railway Children...including spies and hidden swag. ;-)


:shock: Oh, don't give them ideas. :x

It does look like a very well-made film (S&A, I mean), but I always cringe to the guts when a film version of a classic book includes huge changes to the plot. Reasonably minor ones are understandable, if the point is to make the story a bit shorter or more suited to the medium. But when they go and rewrite the whole thing with an obvious attitude of "Gee, this story is just too slow and genteel and old-fashioned and boring for today's kids, so let's add some extra baddies and drama and danger and gripping plot twists" — talk about a kick in the teeth for the original author and what he/she intended! — it puts me right off. The Disney Narnia films are a case in point for me. :evil:

It's ages since I last saw the 1974 film, but it's a favourite in my family — as are the books, though I haven't read most of them — and I agree, it's an absolute classic and a great rendering of the original story. Nancy's line about the island, "It's been ours for yars and yars" (slightly overdone RP accent :mrgreen: ), is a catchphrase in my family. As is the legendary opening telegram: BETTER DROWNED THAN DUFFERS IF NOT DUFFERS WON'T DROWN. ("What are duffers if not duffers?") 8)
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Re: Swallows and Amazons film

Postby Tony Summerfield » 19 Jun 2016, 22:27

I am one of the people who thinks you should judge a book on the book and a film on the film. I don't remember too many people complaining about The Castle of Adventure TV series, but there was quite a bit in there that wasn't in the book, and it was still very watchable.

Swallows and Amazons looks like a good film to me, set in the right period and I am looking forward to seeing it.
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Re: Swallows and Amazons film

Postby Katharine » 19 Jun 2016, 22:42

Courtenay wrote:Nancy's line about the island, "It's been ours for yars and yars" (slightly overdone RP accent :mrgreen: ), is a catchphrase in my family.


Mine too. :lol:
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Re: Swallows and Amazons film

Postby Rob Houghton » 20 Jun 2016, 00:29

I agree about judging a film as a film and book as a book. One of my favourite books is Rebecca - but the film alters the ending. Compared to the book, its not so satisfying for me -- but as a film its brilliantly done.

I also think the same about The Railway Children. It's a classic film, but the book is even better -- but i still love the film.

I also personally felt the same way about The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe movie. In my opinion, this movie is one of the few that improves on the book. I like both, but the film pips the book for me. :-)
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: Swallows and Amazons film

Postby timv » 20 Jun 2016, 16:05

The 1974 film was one of my favourites, and I think it cannot be improved upon; Ronald Pickup, Virginia McKenna and the six child actors were exactly as I'd imagined them. I see that Sophie Neville (aka 'Titty' in that version) has writen a book on 'The Making of Swallows and Amazons', now in the shops, which has 'stills' and details of the filming.
I must admit that I do not really like the idea of fooling around with Ransome's text to 'make it more exciting' and draw in new audiences - that always seems to me to be rather patronising to the latter, as if reacting to a 'focus group' that has been asked about whether they would like 'more thrills' . I would have thought that the actual story was exciting enough without gun-toting Russians , kidnapping etc, with Titty overhearing the burglars on 'Cormorant Island' in the dark and not knowing what was going on (which could have been 'spiced up' if needed). If the Russian angle (an imaginative idea) was to be used, why not have the 'burglar' interested in Captin Flint's memoirs to see if any secrets were revelaed there?
If the film team wanted to do a more exciting/ semi-violent Ransome story, they should have tried 'Peter Duck' with its gun-toting pirates, attempted drowning of Bill the cabin-boy by 'Black Jake', 'cat and mouse' chases down the English Channel and on the Caribbean island, earthquake, waterspout etc. This is 'over the top' enough for anyone, and is revealed as the children's own made-up story.
Some books are 'improved' by the films and I think can stand as separate works of fiction in the two genres - eg the three (so far) CS Lewis Narnia films, which to me have greater depth than the books and preserve the characters and the air of magic. The Ransome film seems more like some of the introductions made to the written story in the 'Lord of the Rings' film trilogy - spicing things up rather than using a perfectly serviceable storyline.
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Re: Swallows and Amazons film

Postby Tony Summerfield » 23 Aug 2016, 12:39

I was a bit surprised to find that Swallows and Amazons is only showing at 11.00 and 2.00 in one of the smaller screens in our Odeon. When I enquired why it wasn't in a bigger cinema I was told that the bigger one is being used for the older children - the film in it is Finding Dory! :? Apparently the film I want to see is just for the younger children, like me! :D
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Re: Swallows and Amazons film

Postby Moonraker » 23 Aug 2016, 17:07

Tony Summerfield wrote:I am one of the people who thinks you should judge a book on the book and a film on the film.


But surely the film should bear some considerable similarity to the book? I have no issue with a few changes, I agree with your comment about castle of Adventure. A major new character was introduced (although he turned out to be an existing one!), and he was a great addition.
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Re: Swallows and Amazons film

Postby Rob Houghton » 23 Aug 2016, 17:43

I think it depends on the film. I've heard people complain about the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe film of a few years ago - but to me it was as perfect a rendering of the story as you could hope to get. I loved the beginning, which set the scene as being wartime, and I loved the battle scenes etc.

I think it's a shame they've added villains etc to Swallows and Amazons.

One of the best ever children's films has to be The Railway Children - which stuck extremely closely to the book - which is why it's beloved by so many.
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: Swallows and Amazons film

Postby Tony Summerfield » 23 Aug 2016, 18:35

I agree about The Railway Children being very good, Rob, but even that left out quite a few things that were in the book. I will reserve judgement on Swallows and Amazons until I have seen it, but it looks a pretty good period film from the trailers that I have seen in the cinema.
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Re: Swallows and Amazons film

Postby Rob Houghton » 23 Aug 2016, 18:39

I agree Railway Children left a few things out...but it didn't add any robbers or hidden treasure etc, lol! ;-)
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: Swallows and Amazons film

Postby Tony Summerfield » 25 Aug 2016, 16:50

Well, I have seen it and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but no spoilers! The cinema was bigger than I thought and much busier than I normally see for an afternoon showing, there were probably about 70 people there and I didn't stick out like a sore thumb as there were far more adults than children! Another things that is fairly unusual in Salisbury is that there was loud applause at the end, so at least some enjoyed it even if it does get the thumbs down in this thread! :D
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Re: Swallows and Amazons film

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 25 Aug 2016, 20:01

I don't think I've ever heard a round of applause at a cinema!

I'd like to watch Swallows and Amazons but I'll probably wait till it's out on DVD and has come down to a reasonable price. It's not always possible to get a proper feel for a film from the trailer. I remember seeing a trailer for Paddington a couple of years ago and thinking it looked slapstick and a bit tasteless, but when I saw the whole film on DVD I was impressed and found it warm, funny and quite moving.
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Re: Swallows and Amazons film

Postby Rob Houghton » 25 Aug 2016, 21:05

The only film I've ever heard applause in was the 1982 movie version of Annie when I was a kid - not a great film - but every musical number got spontaneous applause!
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: Swallows and Amazons film

Postby Tony Summerfield » 25 Aug 2016, 21:38

I think the only time I have heard applause in the cinema is when I have been to see some of these London plays that are screened live and sometimes when the audience in the theatre applaud at the end some of the cinema audience join in. I have never seen the point as the cast can't hear you.
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Re: Swallows and Amazons film

Postby Courtenay » 25 Aug 2016, 21:42

I have once or twice heard (and joined in) applause at the cinema, but can't remember what we were watching! :lol: I guess it's a bit like shouting at your team while watching sports on TV — you know they can't hear you, but you do it anyway...
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