Monday, May 26, 2014

Cornwall Goes to the Movies

One of the most popular destinations on the south Cornwall coast is Charlestown.  It is one of those odd little places that somehow fell into a slumber and was spared the damaging attentions of developers.  So it still looks like what it once was, a small working port from the late 1700s.

Fast forward to the 21st century and we find it doing well, partly from tourism but also, oddly, as part of the movie and television industry.

In a general sense it should not be surprising that Cornwall has been deemed highly photogenic.  It just is.  But sometimes the specifics will make you blink a bit.  This was outside our B & B in Charlestown:

Yes, it is a Greek trireme.  Our host said that the company that owns the harbor does a lot of work for the movie industry, and that this had been built for Clash of the Titans and Clash of the Titans II.  He also mentioned that it had been towed to the Canary Islands for filming and that the owners were keeping it around in hopes of a sequel.

As it happens he got most of this correct.

The company is called Square Sail and they do provide a wide array of services.  Basically you can use their sailing ships and harbor to recreate past eras....or they will custom build/convert a boat for you.  The above craft seems to be one called the Nomos, built for a remake of sorts called Wrath of the Titans.  IMDB only gives it a 5.8 rating so further installments are not likely.  Here is a scene from the movie on board this ship:

Charlestown harbor has had quite a bit of screen time over the years. Here it was on our recent visit:

Keep an eye on the yellow pub building at the far end of the harbor, it was somewhat obscured by construction scaffolding in this image but makes the best reference point.

This is from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.

Here is the pub in a 1976 movie called The Eagle has Landed.

And here the town is taken over for a night time shoot of a Dr. Who episode.

It is a fun little business for the area, one that takes advantage of the natural beauty of Cornwall and of the state of historic preservation.  We were a little disappointed that during our stay none of the Square Sails fleet were in the harbor.  We were told that they winter over at another port nearby where they undergo routine maintenance.  But as we walked the windy headlands east of Charlestown I think we caught a glimpse of one out on a shakedown cruise:

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