Happiness is a film

Three favourite location films

By Alan French

Looking back at our club (Hemel Hempstead Movie Makers), I must ask myself what film did I enjoy being involved in the most. Firstly, I am not sure how many productions I have somehow been connected with, but I think there are some that have definitely stood out more than others. But as far as really enjoying the atmosphere on the set, the number one contenders have got to be:  

‘The Bidford Affair’ 

This film was shot on sixteen millimetre. I was involved in part of the production. Where I was involved, it was a pleasant experience. There was such a lovely atmosphere upon the set. I was sorry to go home. It was shot in Hemel Hempstead and Sheraton. It received mixed revues from judges. But a joy to be in.  

‘The Dacorum Cruiseway’

Three attempts were made to commence shooting, under the guidance of Geoff Whitby. It was attempt three which was successful. It was an Easter Day, and the weather broke from the miserability which had prevented us from starting. The Grand Union Canal was a hive of people enjoying and relaxing within its domain. We were there with them, and were also enjoying the atmosphere. I am not sure how many sessions we had to do our filming this super 8 production, but on one of them, there was a complete surprise. I may have recorded this elsewhere. We one day saw a white horse walking along the canal tow path. It was pulling a barge, as horses used to in days of yore, with harness and rope. Every so often, we would see the horse and the people with it, and the barge, further up the canal. At one point, I remember David Harrington was almost in trouble as he filmed this happening. The reason being, the vessel was a huge Thames barge and had just physically missed some moored boats and barges. Therefore certain individuals, associated with the moored boats, felt that this large barge was too big. Someone queried as to whether this was anything to do with David? David obviously stated that it was not. The only time I did not enjoy myself was when I slipped and rolled down the outer muddy slope of a reservoir, clinging to a cassette recorder.  

‘What happened in El-Paso?’

This western film was submitted as ‘ The Dodgy Horse’. However, it has been changed. The atmosphere on the day we shot (if you pardon the expression) the production at Pix Farm, was a good one. Everyone was friendly, I think that I can safely put this on my list. I was sorry the session finished.  

I would not say that I have not enjoyed making anything else. But that is my current shortlist.  

PS. I would have liked to have met the cast who appear in the additional footage taken in the South of France.  

Alan French 2010.

Originally published by Hemel Hempstead Movie Makers. Copyright Alan French 2009.  

This page was added on 14/12/2010.

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