6.5/10
880
23 user 7 critic

Swallows and Amazons (1974)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Family | May 1977 (USA)
On holiday with their mother in the Lake District in 1929 four children are allowed to sail over to the nearby island in their boat Swallow and set up camp for a few days. They soon realise... See full summary »

Director:

Claude Whatham

Writers:

David Wood (screenplay), Arthur Ransome (book)
Reviews

Photos

Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Virginia McKenna ... Mother - Mrs. Walker
Ronald Fraser ... Uncle Jim
Simon West Simon West ... John Walker - Swallow
Sophie Neville ... Titty Walker - Swallow
Suzanna Hamilton ... Susan Walker - Swallow (as Zanna Hamilton)
Stephen Grendon Stephen Grendon ... Roger Walker - Swallow
Kit Seymour Kit Seymour ... Nancy Blackett - Amazon
Lesley Bennett Lesley Bennett ... Peggy Blackett - Amazon
Brenda Bruce ... Mrs. Dixon
Mike Pratt ... Mr. Dixon
John Franklyn-Robbins ... Young Billy
Jack Woolgar Jack Woolgar ... Old Billy
David Blagden David Blagden ... Policeman
Edit

Storyline

On holiday with their mother in the Lake District in 1929 four children are allowed to sail over to the nearby island in their boat Swallow and set up camp for a few days. They soon realise this has been the territory of two other girls who sail the Amazon, and the scene is set for serious rivalry. Written by J-26

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

rivalry | lake | girl | island | children | See All (18) »

Taglines:

Arthur Ransome's Immortal Story

Genres:

Adventure | Family

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was submitted for classifying to the BBFC (British Board of Film Censors) on Monday 10th December 1973 and passed with no cuts as a "U" classified certificate picture which is the equivalent of a general classification. See more »

Goofs

When the children are fishing from the boat the fish that John catches is very clearly already dead when he catches it. See more »

Connections

Version of Swallows and Amazons (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor?
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Wilfred Josephs
Sung by the Swallows, the Amazons and Uncle Jim
See more »

User Reviews

 
Natives!
11 March 2005 | by frankgaipaSee all my reviews

When this arrived, I'd finished reading all the Swallows and Amazons novels just a few months before. I'd also just seen the TV productions of the two Coots books (click on my name for that review) and read Roger Wardale's "In Search of Swallows & Amazons" which interpolates a fair amount of biographical data into a photographic search for the real Lakeland sites in which the fictions take place.

Much about this 1974 theatrical film is right, and two things -- both casting issues -- grievously wrong. Judging from Wardale's photos and Ransome's descriptions, the lake lands, Wildcat and Comorant Islands, and especially the two landing sites on Wildcat look perfect or nearly. Also right: the two boats of the title swishing across the lake with the camera set low so that the distances and land masses appear as they might in a child's eye. I like that tacking, so important throughout the series, happens clearly and instructively without anyone ever stopping to explain it, whether Roger running otherwise bizarre switchbacks up a lazily sloping lawn, or John doing a hundred-count to tack in the dark. (Believe me it's clear when you see, especially if you know any of the books.) John and Susan, the one groping toward becoming a natural leader, the other painstakingly matronly yet able to break in an instant into a child's sprint, seem well cast and anchor the group. Able seaman Titty's the best cast. She has the most active imagination in the group, always seems more actively and willingly to believe, while the two older children have to work just a little at pretending. Roger, to me, looks a little two Alfred E. Newman, but does no real harm to the film.

The most horribly miscast is Nancy, the older Amazon. Though a bare year older in the books, here she towers over the others. I think she's at least as tall as the other miscast character, her uncle "Captain Flint," and even has a figure with which she could pass for eighteen or twenty. But worse than that, she's not wild enough. Not until the very end does she utter a single grudgingly weak "Shiver me timbers," or if she did before they were too limp to notice. She seems nearly as "native" as the Swallow's mother, while she should have been a driving force, the most vivid pretender, or equal at least to Titty. I'm not sure how to describe to who haven't read. Maybe the closest I can come is Charles Shultz's Peppermint Patty but with a lot more confidence. Reading, I always heard Nancy's "Shiver me timbers" as raucous as a parrot's cry.

Bird-faced actor Ronald Fraser's Uncle Jim, or "Captain Flint," looks like a fifty-year-old petty magistrate. He could never sincerely belong with these kids against the Natives. He IS a native, irredeemably. (Natives are adults, shore people, or in general anyone not in on the frame of mind out of which the term Native comes.) Ransome's Captain Flint is fat and knowledgeable, playful but seldom or never silly. Ronald Fraser condescends in a way that's anathema not just to the real fictional Flint but to Ransome.

But please take the good of all I've said, and do see this film.


26 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 23 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

May 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hirondelles et amazones See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page



Recently Viewed