Tuesday 19 December 2023

When Hollywood came to Penyrallt

Yesterday the Farmer and I travelled down to Pembrokeshire to attend the funeral of an old friend, the film director, Carol Byrne Jones. We first met Carol some thirty years ago when she chose to make her Welsh feature film 'Tan ar y Comin' here at Penyrallt. The film was based on a well-known Welsh children's book by the renowned children's author T. Llew Jones. It is the story of a gypsy boy and his horse and the filming of it was fascinating. The arrival of huge film crew opened up a whole new world to us here on the farm and gave us an insight to the complexities of film-making as well as being a lot of fun for us and our boys who were very young at the time. The production took over the farmhouse, yards and some buildings and so for many weeks we were actually living on a film set as they redecorated and turned the house back in time to the 1930's. Elder Son & the Farmer both became 'supporting artists' or extras for a couple of days in the sequence filmed in our local market town and castle where an old-fashioned fairground was created and involved many of the townspeople. Carol made the film in conjunction with an American production company which meant it was filmed 'back-to-back' in both Welsh and English and starred the English actor Edward Woodward and the American star James Coburn, with the English version being directed by the Hollywood actor and director David Hemmings...Hollywood came to Penyrallt which was not as overwhelming as one would think! Watching David Hemmings work was extraordinary and the efficiency with which the crew got on with it all was impressive though much of of it appeared to be like herding cats!! Carol was an academic and respected director and writer and poet and we were privileged to have known her. The book 'Tan ar y Comin' was translated into English by Carol and is known as 'Gypsy Fires' and the English version of the film is titled 'A Christmas Reunion'(1994). It is available on Youtube.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry for the loss of your friend. I will check into the Youtube offerings.