Sunday, 21 October 2007

Jackie's jacket

One of the things I most like about our film is the way it connects ordinary people to a very rich past through the stories of their own everyday lives. It was always intended to do this to tell the story of Hardy's as a company but to achieve this for individuals too is a great bonus.

We have some great characters but also the help of some remarkable archive film. Rod inspector George Trannent tells several warm and amusing anecdotes in the film and once we have established who he is we are able to subtly show him busy at work. To see him as a 35 years younger man inspecting Hardy Smuggler rods is a real joy. Similarly with Jackie Dotchin. Jackie finished up as a reel inspector at Hardy's and with an MBE for his services. He too is seen doing his job 40 years earlier. Jackie Dotchin, what a lovely man, in his eighties and still with piercing blue eyes and an infectious laugh.

In the film Jackie tells us how he was 14 when he began work at Hardy's. He show a picture of his 1st works outing to Glasgow. It's Alnwick railway station, the yard is full of hundreds of woman but for one small chap on the left. Says Jackie, "that's me at the end there with the little blue coat on". The picture of course is black and white and is nearly 70 years old but for Jackie his coat will always be in colour.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

music please maestro

A day spent with Stephen the composer. It is so great to hear how with his music he can really bring people's anecdotes to life, whether their fond memories of the Hardy's shop at 61 Pall Mall or the antics of a dog devouring a favourite fishing rod. Best of all is his improvised musical accompaniment to the 1935 film of LR Hardy's fishing trip to the thunderous River Aaro in Norway.
This is a silent film more true to the tradition of the 1920s with its stark captioned titles, but featuring the huge power of an unbelievable and dangerous river where our heroes struggle against the best of nature's elements as well as monstrous fish. The wonderful thing about Stephen's music is how strongly it amplifies this world. Because it is a silent film music becomes so powerful, so important and only makes the original silent film even stronger. I really hope we get the chance to show the film in some cinemas at film festivals because I really think there is something quite unique here and I think seeing this on a big screen would bring a warm smile to many a face.

Monday, 15 October 2007

the final edit

Monday morning, 3am and we finally finish editing the film. Big huzzahs. Funnily enough it is also an admission of defeat although I actually mean that in quite a positive sense. Over the last couple of weeks we have been trying to squeeze into the film something of the essence of all this new archive material we discovered. The thing is our film was actually working really well already, it has many great and wonderful characters who with genuine warmth and openness tell us all about how they have dedicated their lives to their passion for fishing tackle. We have managed to capture something of their personality and of that magic - however as we tried to introduce more archive material it began to lessen people's individual stories. It took a little while to realise this but now we have settled on our final edit. It does still have some truly great new archive material in it though, unbelievable footage of LR Hardy carrying salmon home bigger than the throngs of boys running along behind him or of his ghillies struggling to stuff his salmon into numerous sacks after a rewarding day on the Eden.