Vintage Cars in Blitz & Bananas!

The classic car industry employs many thousands of people (restoring, manufacturing otherwise unobtainable spares, insurance etc. etc.) and is an important part of the Country’s economy. In spite of the financial state of the country the hobby seems to be thriving judging by the turnout at the Beaulieu Autojumble in early September, and some of this may be due to people deciding that something tangible is a better investment than some of the more traditional ways of investing money, and at the same time enjoying the possession of something which will bring pleasure to leisure hours.
The problem is that most people don’t see these living museum vehicles because most of the time they are tucked away in garages only coming out for the occasional local run, not usually to the shops as the older ones cannot be locked up, but to car shows, country runs with other likeminded people, or occasionally a wedding or a FILM.
Anna Littler gave some of us with pre-war cars the opportunity to do just this recently with the amazing feature film Blitz & Bananas, and what fun it was. Our insurance cover allows us to take part in such activities provided there is no payment and we do the driving. The latter means that the camera personnel have a hard time, as the moving cars (apart from David W’s MG which is very light and could be pushed – see the out-takes on the DVD) must be driven by the owners wearing the stars’ clothes. Then clothes are swopped and the star is filmed getting out of the car – the middle bit is of course cut out or not filmed in the first place. This seems to work well except that in my case with the Doctor’s black Daimler, somehow Matt Fry, playing Dr Honeyman, ended up wearing my tie and so had to use this Regimental tie for a chunk of the film (must have been proud to be an honorary member of the RASC). How Anna and the team coped with the continuity so well is amazing.
Our cars had wartime tax discs on them (probably not noticed by anyone, but someone watching the film would have complained if they had been modern) so we tried our best. Some of us had wartime headlamp covers but this and the painting of white lines as a blackout aid were decided against for consistency, and to protect our paintwork, and I have not heard any complaints on that score.
A friend of mine was asked by the makers of the Poirot films to go to France to be in ‘Murder on the Links’. He got paid for it, but he was there for some 5 days and drove his car in the opening sequence with Poirot and Hastings to the hotel – his silhouette just about appears as they get out. He was hanging around for so long for just a small sequence. I suppose he did get a few days in France to compensate.
All right, Anna did not give us a holiday in France but on the rare occasions we were not doing anything, we enjoyed watching others doing their bits and we are queuing up ready for the next film if Anna decides to do another period piece.
Well done, Anna! We enjoyed it and we are waiting for the next one!

Ced Verdon

P.S. From Anna! Ced has been an invaluable part of this project by so generously co-ordinating all the cars and, in addition, he plays an Extra! Look out for him amongst the funny ‘old’ men! I’m so grateful for his amazing contribution, time and enthusiasm!

About Anna