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1965 Birmingham Eastercon - Brumcon

The Making of Breathworld

At Easter 1964 the Delta SF Film Group from Manchester, England, attended the British National Convention in Peterborough (Repetercon). The 8mm amateur short films they brought with them, a mix of comedy and science fiction themes, were well-received, and the group was given funds and requested to make some longer movies to be shown at the London Worldcon in August 1965. In league with the Liverpool Group, Delta started production of Castle of Terrors (a horror movie spoof) and Breathworld, based on Harry Harrison's book Deathworld.

Breathworld's plot loosely follows that of the original (and I mean loosely!). The film was written and directed by Peter Day and filmed by Harry Nadler and Tony Edwards. The Delta crew also included Colin Britch, Bill Burns, Aubrey (Yogi) Marks, Brian Marshall, Marie Rothwell (now Nadler), Dave Trengove, Marge Williams (now Edwards), and others. The Liverpool Group (LiG) were Norman & Ina Shorrock, John Roles, Eddie Jones, Norman Weedall, Stan & Marge Nuttall, Ramsey Campbell, and others. The two groups between them did everything, including making the sets, props, and costumes, acting, editing, and sound recording. Both films were ready in time for the Worldcon, and were great hits.

At the start of the film the hero arrives on Breathworld, a planet with two warring factions (the Buggers and the Totters), and determines to make peace. But to survive the hostile planet, he needs weapons training, and he is schooled by an inept instructor who manages to shoot himself with his automated weapon.

Having Harry Harrison play the part of the instructor was too good an opportunity to miss, so at the 1965 Eastercon in Birmingham, the Delta crew showed up with lights, camera, props, costumes, and makeup, and gave Harry his starring role in the film. The scenes were shot in a hotel room at the con, with special effects scratched onto the film later. These stills were taken during the filming, which quickly turned into a room party. Brian Aldiss and Mike Moorcock do not appear in the film!

     
 
     

Last revised: 28 October, 2012

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