Chariots of fire

Olympic changing room scene filmed at Cowley boys school

The Summer of 1979 being the end of secondary education for me it was a treat when a film company used the school as a location in the final week of term. Being a little less than honest in saying “I was from the school magazine” I was fortunate that the director Hugh Hudson allowed me to photograph the scene he was filming in the changing room. This was destined to be the Paris Olympics changing room towards the end of the film “Chariots of fire”. Click on the image to see the whole sequence from 1979.

1979 filming at Cowley.

The Summer of 1979 being the end of secondary education for me it was a treat when a film company used the school as a location in the final week of term. Being a little less than honest in saying “I was from the school magazine” I was fortunate that the director Hugh Hudson allowed me to photograph the scene he was filming in the changing room. This was destined to be the Paris Olympics changing room towards the end of the film “Chariots of fire”.

Being the 1970’s Health and Safety was not a consideration, the images do provide a window into the period, pupils sitting on the low wall on the roof of the school, boys standing on the power cables to the big lights, chain smoking crew that knew how to swear in a very full and knowledgeable way….

It looks like a private school but it wasn’t, it was a very good school, needed a bit of updating but then we would not have had changing rooms that have not been altered since the 1930’s and the crew would not have come

 

Large powerful lights act as the sun shining through to the subterranean changing rooms. Top left shows boys dressed for sports emerging from a similar changing room at the other end of the school.
The Headmaster Mr McDonald emerges from the side entrance and monitors the situation.
The talent bus parked near the scene of the filming.
Being the 1970s things were a little more relaxed than these days.
Standing on the high current power lines going to the lights passes the time as the boys keep an eye on the onsite catering.
Lots of cigarettes.

Hugh Hudson (director) with his cameraman David Watkin. (David Watkin was also the cameraman on the film “Return to Oz” a far darker follow on from “The Wizard of Oz” would have been nice to have a chat with him if he were not so busy..)