Cowboys and Indians


"16 mm shot at 16 fps and screened at 24 fps" is how the programme of a November 1964 show at the Becket Hall, Bristol described this 1964 film. George Sewell and 24 members of Cardiff Cine Society visiting Bristol were in the audience to see the Premiere Night of three films .... Cowboys and Indians, Mrs Grundy (George suggested it be put away for 6 months and then re-edited) and The Enemy (he liked the title).


Over 1000 feet of 16 mm film was exposed on May 16th 1964 - which by a miracle was a sunny day - at Barrow Court, Barrow Gurney. It was later edited down to 250 feet. The story carried a message (from Philip Grosset?) showing how easily those with weapons can, unwittingly perhaps, use them with disastrous results.


The production involved two groups of youngsters dressed as Cowboys and Indians respectively - 17 boys in all. Joe Higgins, then teaching at Mangotsfield School, provided the cast. One of the boys had to fall in a disused swimming pool in the course of the film. It was much to everyone's alarm that this boy disclosed, on the eve of shooting that he could not swim.


There were many problems, not the least that there were five cameramen working independently ... Ron Elson, Howard Massey, Ernie Phillips, Les Perry. Les Perry also directed one sequence as did Joe Higgins (producer). Philip Grosset (director ) also acted as cameraman.


Cowboys And Indians was awarded the Hitchcock Cup at the Scottish Amateur Film Festival as the best fiction film.


Some time later Ernie Phillips died. He was an active, talented and loyal member of BCS and a very friendly man. His talents were used in a number of ways, working in units responsible for major film successes; while his home was often used for previewing programmes to be given public showings. The hospitality of Ernie and his wife was matched by the efficiency of his projection arrangements.

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