Historic Film Featuring Scilly To Be Screened Again

A scene from the film

A scene from the film

A 1927 film that substituted Scilly for the Falklands will be shown in London next month. And the British Film Institute wants to find someone prepared to host a screening here.

They’ve restored the silent film ‘The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands,’ which tells the story of a naval battle between Britain and Germany in the South Atlantic in 1914.

Filmmakers choose Scilly for its similar appearance to the Falklands. They set up their production base at Tregarthen’s and hired 75 islanders to act as extras in the film.

The 90-minute movie features footage of a number of legendary locals including Vic Trenwith playing the part of a Frenchman.

The admiralty supplied ships for the shoot.

And Bryony Dixon from the BFI says there’s an impressive action sequence showing locals pretending to be Falklanders taking up arms. It was filmed on Tresco and St Mary’s, around Hugh Town and from Buzza Hill.

The film will be show on 16th October at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London.

Composer Simon Dobson has penned a new score to accompany the silent film, which will be performed by 24 members of the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, in honour of that number of bandsmen who died when HMS Monmouth sank during the battle.

The film will be issued on a BFI DVD too but Bryony is keen for her staff to arrange a talk and screening here if someone can offer a space in which to show it.

Bryony says the Isles of Scilly Museum has some still images of publicity shots for the film, which was rare in those days.

The production was a success. It cost £18,000 to make, a huge sum for the period, but box office takings exceeded £70,000.

And you may be surprised to learn that this 1927 production isn’t the oldest footage of Scilly in the BFI archive.

Bryony says there’s a “beautiful” film from 1910 showing flowers being picked and sent to market in London.

You can find out more about the London screening here.



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