Four children (the Swallows) on holiday in the Lake District sail on their own to an island and start a war with rival children (the Amazons). In the meantime, a mysterious man on a houseboat accuses them of a crime they did not commit.
About two different groups of children who encounter one another on a small piece of land in a lake which they both live by. Both groups try to claim the land as theirs and do so role playing as two sets of enemy pirates. Whilst this happens they encounter another boat and a stranger, they must now work together to work out who he is and why he is there, but have they got themselves involved in something much bigger?
The espionage elements added to the film are inspired by the fact that the author of the book, Arthur Ransome, had actually worked for British Intelligence, spying on the Russians. The code name "S76" that appears in the film was Arthur Ransome's actual code name. See more »
Mr Jackson (Harry Enfield) is frequently shown with a pipe in his mouth yet the pipe never appears to never be lit as we do not see him puffing on the pipe or smoke arising from it. Whilst this could be said to show a 21st century sensibility towards smoking in a childrens film we do however see a character smoking a cigarette at Portsmouth railway station earlier on. See more »
Children on a boating holiday in the Lake District get mixed up with spies
The makers of this rather odd film don't seem to have been able to make up their minds whether they were doing Swallows and Amazons or The Thirty Nine Steps, and so have gone for a rather awkward blending of the two. Clearly they don't think that Ransome's gentle story of a boating holiday in the Lake District is exciting enough for modern audiences, and they may be right. So on the train on the way to the lake District we get Sinister Spies erupting into the Walker children's compartment (mother has gone outside for a smoke) and one of them (Uncle Jim no less) ends up climbing about on the outside of the train and jumping off. Uncle Jim is in fact the world's worst spy ever. He leaves secret papers and photos lying about in the cabin of his boat in plain view, and doesn't even bother to lock the door when he goes out. He does everything to draw attention to himself except wearing a hat with 'Spy' on it. There is still room for some boating and camping on the island, and when the film stick to what is actually in the book it isn't bad, but the spy stuff weighs the film down, and gets steadily more absurd as the film goes on, culminating in a scene of such joyous absurdity i was reduced to tears of laughter. As a film of Swallows and Amazons this is badly flawed, but is worth 5 out of 10 for making me laugh so much.
13 of 20 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this