Remembering The Eagle has Landed

Cinematic Advent Calendar #07 - The Eagle has Landed

Back in 2012 I was doing a cinematic advent calendar and on the 7th December 2012 I posted about The Eagle has Landed.

There are quite a few films in that advent calendar that have significant memories over and above the film itself. With The Eagle has Landed I went to see it at the Aldeburgh cinema with my grandparents. Looking back I was seven (maybe eight) when I went to see it, which when you consider the current certification of 15 was way too young! What I do remember was that whenever there was a scene with blood, my grandparents would say to me, that’s tomato ketchup! I think because I saw that film at that cinema that it is one of my favourite films and in that list.

Cinematic Advent Calendar #07 - The Eagle has Landed

The film was set in Norfolk and partially in the Channel Islands. However, the filming of the Channel Islands and coastal scenes was mainly filmed in Cornwall. The majority of the film was in and around the fictional village of Studley Constable, these scenes were filmed in the village of  Mapledurham in Oxfordshire.

In March 2014 I was driving from Oxford to Reading, and having watched the film recently and checking out IMDB for the filming locations, I realised that Mapledurham was on the way. So I set the sat nav and drove to the village. It was easy to find and I drove down to the Manor House.

I think what surprised me was how little the village had changed in the last forty years.

It still looked very much as it did in the film.

During the filming mock buildings such as shops and a pub were constructed on site in Mapledurham while interiors were filmed at Twickenham Studios.

They had added a waterwheel to the mill for filming, but apart from that it was very familiar.

I didn’t spend too long looking around, as I didn’t have enough cash for the parking meter, and I had meetings to go to.

There is going to be a Lego Back to the Future DeLorean

Inspired by the DeLorean car seen in the time travelling adventure film franchise from Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment, the LEGO Back to the Future Time Machine set allows builders to create the car from either the first, second or third film. What’s more, it comes complete with a light-up flux capacitor, a box of plutonium, Marty’s hoverboard and LEGO minifigure versions of Doc Brown and Marty McFly.

So if you like Lego and you like Back to the Future, then you are in luck as Lego are releasing a large scale model of the DeLorean. You can construct it as it was in the first film, or the flying version from the second film, or the one in the third film with the 1950s style tyres. Alas no rail version as seen at the end of the third film.


I do wonder if Lego will release that time travelling train that Doc has?

Going to the cinema

On Friday night we went to the cinema, after checking we ended up at Cineworld in Weston.

We spent over eight pounds on one portion of popcorn and some pick and mix. I can never understand the cost of cinema food. I understand the economics of it, but I do wonder sometimes if that model is flawed.

We saw The Fast and the Furious 9 which was a fun escapist film. It didn’t take itself too seriously, so neither did we. This is the first of these films I have seen from the franchise, having said that I don’t think you needed to have seen the others to enjoy the film (well except perhaps the post credits clip).

Despite being almost opening night, a Friday night and peak time of 7:40pm the cinema was quite empty. The whole complex looked very sad now that Prezzo, Pizza Express and Loco Mexicana have all closed down. The only places left are Nandos and Costa. How long will it be before Cineworld decides to shut.

Murder Mystery on Netflix

We enjoyed Murder Mystery on Netflix.

This is not a deep film.

It is a comedic fun murder thriller.

If you like Adam Sandler films then likely you will enjoy this.

“I guess you guys aren’t ready for that yet. But your kids are gonna love it.”

One of my favourite films of all time is Back to the Future. 

Back to the Future DeLorean

There is that scene in the film where Marty McFly plays in the band (playing Earth Angel) and successfully attempts to get his parents to dance and kiss. He then moves onto playing Johnny B Goode.

So was interested to see this Youtube video from 2016.

Michael J Fox joined Coldplay on stage in New Jersey in 2016, playing Johnny B Goode – recreating one of the original movie’s pivotal scenes. Before that song, Coldplay did play Earth Angel. Michael played McFly as a gift to Chris Martin’s son Moses, whose favourite film is Back To The Future.

One of the reasons this hit my radar was that Michael J Fox has reprised his Marty McFly character in a new video for rap star Lil Nas X.

Stranded at the drive-in…

With the Covid-19 lockdown, the cinema was closed down. So at the end of May I was intrigued to see on the BBC News an article about drive-in cinema.

Obviously when I checked, the Bristol tickets were sold out probably down to the news article, I was a little disappointed. Even so I put my e-mail address down.

So was pleased when a day or so later the company behind the venture had released more tickets. I quickly went in and bought a “ticket” for Back to the Future. The ticket covered a car not the number of people in the car. The only downside was that we would need to wait until September.

In July we saw some cinemas reopen, so we did go and see The Empire Strikes Back as well as Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It was nice to see these (old) films in the cinema.

Come September, and the date of the showing, we headed off to the drive-in cinema which was taking place at Bristol Airport. We were going to see Back to the Future. 

As we drove through Banwell there were a couple of idiot BMW drivers who were driving rather badly. They were braking hard and accelerating sharply. In addition to driving too fast and overtaking dangerously. This wasn’t needed and made the drive to the airport slightly more stressful than it needed to be.

Having arrived at the Silver Parking at Bristol Airport, we drove to where they were showing the film. The staff were friendly and welcoming.

We were quite near the back, so the screen was smaller that I would have liked. It was certainly nothing like the huge screens I had seen in American films. 

We had 6:30 tickets, but if you had the 6:00 tickets you would have been closer to the front and nearer the screen. In theory there were 7:00 tickets, but there were no cars behind us! I think some people had arrived early. If we were to do this again I would either try and buy the 6:00 tickets or arrive early.

There was a bit of time before the film started so we had our picnic. There was an option to buy food and drink and have it delivered to your car, but most of it wasn’t gluten free and it was also quite expensive – not too surprising it was a cinema!

For the picnic, I avoided sandwiches, we had gluten free sausages rolls (homemade), sausages, as well as fruit. There was carrot sticks and hummus too. I had some quiche and a scotch egg.

The film started. We really enjoyed the film. We had to use our radio to tune into the soundtrack, but every so often the car would turn the radio off, so we had to turn it back on again.

After the film was finished, we waited our turn and then drove out. What was nice the crew behind the whole thing were waving to everyone as they left. It was really dark as well. We then drove home.

Would we go again? Probably.

Knight Bus

The first time we went to the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour was in 2015, just after they had added the Hogwarts Express and Kings Cross set to the tour. At the end of November 2019 we made a return visit, mainly to see how different it was dressed for Christmas and with snow.

Outside they had a snow machine, which added a little bit of a festive touch. However as you can see from the photographs below there wasn’t much snow to be seen…

One of the outside exhibits is the Knight Bus.

The Knight Bus is a triple-decker, purple AEC Regent III RT that assists stranded individuals of the wizarding community through public transportation. It operates at a very fast speed and obstacles will jump out of its way, and can also deceptively fit through small spaces.

To hail the bus, a witch or wizard must stick their wand hand in the air in the same manner that a Muggle might do while hailing a Muggle Bus in the United Kingdom, though it is possible to book tickets for travel on the bus in advance.

Inside the bus are beds for sleeping whilst travelling.

The Knight Bus seen in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban used a body constructed from three separate RT-class AEC Regent III buses. The triple-deck body was then fitted to a Dennis Javelin bus chassis. In order to portray the bus driving at high speeds, the cars around the bus drove slower while the bus drove at its top speed, and the footage was sped up afterward. Two buses were constructed for the film’s external shots, while the interior shots were filmed on a set that would rock back and forth to simulate the bus’ movement.

Diagon Alley

The first time we went to the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour was in 2015, just after they had added the Hogwarts Express and Kings Cross set to the tour. At the end of November 2019 we made a return visit, mainly to see how different it was dressed for Christmas and with snow.

I had expectations that Diagon Alley would be (or could be) rather festive, but in the end it was no different to how it is normally. Well there were some footprints in the snow and the special effects about how they were created, but that was less Diagon Alley and more Hogsmead.

Diagon Alley is a cobblestoned wizarding alley and shopping area located in London, England behind a pub called the Leaky Cauldron. Inside the alley is an assortment of restaurants, shops, and other sights.