Story of the Scene: 'Chariots of Fire', Hugh Hudson (1981)
Friday 05 September 2008
When location manager Iain Smith turned up on the beach at St Andrews at 5am in the morning, he assumed the shoot would go smoothly this time round. The opening shot for Chariots of Fire showed the athletes in training, running through the sea. Since the film is set in 1924, all signs of modernity had been meticulously removed. Then Smith glanced up at the horizon and saw a British Navy frigate anchored offshore, dominating the bay. He had to get rid of it.
Smith recalls, "I ran to the nearest red telephone box wondering – who do I phone?" He remembered that the RAF base in Leuchars had helped the production by providing camouflage netting.
Smith called the duty officer at the base, who sounded him out in plummy tones .What was his concern? A big Navy boat? They were RAF. Not really their area, old chap. Was he sure he could see a naval vessel?
As Smith looked out, he noticed the frigate was raising its anchor. It began to sail away, and had soon steamed off. "No, there's no boat there," admitted Smith. "That's what I thought," said the officer.
Smith never did discover the identity of his benefactor. Though prefaced with a funeral sequence set in 1978, the film goes straight into this famous sequence, with Ian Charleson and Ben Cross, the music of Vangelis throbbing behind them, running through the tidal draw on the flat sands.
film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Rashida Jones speaks out against male-centric porn saying 'women should have sex and feel good about it'
Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
Game of Thrones really doesn't want Danny Dyer - EastEnders star rejected three times
Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
25 years of Disney: How Darth Vader, Iron Man, Elsa and Pixar's geniuses helped the company conquer the world (again)
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account