7.5/10
47
1 user

Swallows and Amazons Forever!: Coot Club (1984)

Coot Club and its companion story, The Big Six, are based on the celebrated Swallows & Amazons series of childrens' books written by Arthur Ransome. For anyone who loves sailing and ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(book),
Reviews

Watch Now

With Prime Video

WATCH NOW

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Mrs. Barrable
... P.C. Tedder
... Dr. Dudgeon
Andrew Burt ... Mr. Farland
... Jim Wooddall
... Jerry (Hullabaloo)
... Livy (Hullabaloo)
John Harding ... Ronald (Hullabaloo)
Angela Curran ... Maude (Hullabaloo)
David Timson ... James (Hullabaloo)
Henry Dimbleby ... Tom Dudgeon
Caroline Downer ... Dot Callum
Richard Walton ... Dick Callum
Nicholas Walpole ... Joe
Mark Page ... Bill
Edit

Storyline

Coot Club and its companion story, The Big Six, are based on the celebrated Swallows & Amazons series of childrens' books written by Arthur Ransome. For anyone who loves sailing and adventure, the Arthur Ransome classics stand alone. Set in the '30s, both stories take place on the lakes and waterways of England, and feature the same cast of lively characters, led by six children, who become firm friends, sharing a love of wildlife and all things nautical. The fun and adventure of a life afloat sparkle off the screen. These movies were produced on location in England by the BBC. Coot Club Dick and Dot have to be taught the art of sailing, because they are spending their first holiday afloat with Mrs. Barrable. On hand is the doctor's son, Tom, and a pair of twins that are such expert sailors they are nicknamed Port and Starboard. The adventure begins with the "Hullabaloos," a party of noisy holidaymakers on the river who are damaging the riverbanks and wildlife. Tom is forced to free ...

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on book | See All (1) »

Edit

Details

Country:

Release Date:

19 March 1984 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Fecskék és amazonok: A lyskák klubja  »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(4 episodes)

Color:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in Quartet (2012) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
If I'd Shot this . . .
22 February 2005 | by See all my reviews

I went into this and its sequel, The Big Six, with great trepidation. While the Death and Glory crew feel about right, Tom's too pudgy for an active kid and never quite as brave or as frightened as circumstances call for. Port and Starboard come across too tiny, or too trivial. There's no real sense of loss when they can't come along, as there is in the novel where they seem Tom's equals. An extra shot or two showing them sailing with their father might have remedied, but really they needed to be bigger. The prose Coot Club's point of view characters are Dick and Dorothea Callum. Dick's a nascent Stephen Maturin, obsessed with nearly anything observable or calculable, even sailing which he conquers by thinking out every move, sometimes too slowly for the quirks of the breeze. His sister protects, worships, and dotes on him to an extent that might seem unnatural were they the least bit older. Here, she's the tallest child and seems so much older and more sedate than the rest that the obsessive sibling relationship hardly registers. Dick, same size as Port and Starboard, is deus ex machina, humorless Sherlock Jr., and little more.

To an American who's never crossed an ocean, the shots of the narrow rivers and wide waters, the tidal play, bridges, and shallows, the boats and barges, make up for a great deal. But there's little sense of travel, of space. In the books, it's fascinating how quickly a child on a bicycle can shortcut a winding river journey: Time flows differently on water, on shore. Bicycles, land routes, like sci-fi wormholes, cheat time.

While I waited for the DVD to arrive, I did my best to imagine how I'd have filmed Ransome, whether the two Coot stories and Great Northern?, which belongs with them thematically, or the Lakeland books. First of all, as with the books, each film would need a map, not just bracketing the action, but ever-present. The camera zooms in and out, computer tech allowing the near zooms to morph into live action and zoom-outs to morph back to the map, so that we always know where we are. "Live" coloring shows the tide creeping up and down the map. I fear some readers may deem such things obtrusive or anachronistic, but tech should also give credible ambient sound, mostly lacking in the existing TV serial: boats' creaking, water lapping, birds' calls and chatter day and night, the breeze, the sails' flap, rainfall, the audio differences between day and night, etc., etc., and more that I can't imagine because, though I've read, I've never been. I'd link sounds to the map, so we hear locations before the zoom in or even when the focus simply passes an area without zooming.

Besides working on the casting flaws noted above, I'd shoot any and all adults from, at most, the eye level of the tallest child. Maybe I'd go so far as to shoot the tallest children, when appropriate from the eye level of the shortest children.

And tacking: I don't think there's a bit of sailing lore more significant for Ransome than this against-the-wind technique that, to a novice, seems an almost magical accomplishment of the impossible. The very first novel, Swallows and Amazons, begins with seven-year-old Roger running "in wide zigzags, to and fro, across the steep field that sloped up from the lake to Holly Howe…The wind was against him, and he was tacking up against it to the farm" (p. 13). Film offers a unique opportunity to show, not just talk about, tacking, all the more so, since in Coot Club, Dick and his sister are relative novices.

Note finally that Roger isn't pretending to tack; he "was tacking." It was just a hill. He was on land. He had no sails. But still he was tacking. Perhaps more so the Lakeland group than these Coots, but Ransome's game was always to blend children's make-believe so seamlessly with reality that there is no line. In any single moment, the two coexist. Any film worthy of Ransome would have to achieve the same. The camera can never show anything but reality, while the imaginary rivals it in the actors words, faces, and body language.

Too bad Miyazaki never caught on to these. Another British children's novel, B.B.'s Brendon Chase, really cries for Miyazaki's unique ability to blend reality, imagination, and Nature.


17 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See one user review »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Sci-Fi Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular sci-fi movies and TV shows available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial