Tarka the Otter (film)

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Tarka the Otter
Tarka the Otter FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by David Cobham
Produced by David Cobham
Written by Henry Williamson
Gerald Durrell
David Cobham
Starring Spade
Narrated by Peter Ustinov
Music by David Fanshawe
Cinematography Terry Channell
John McCallum
Edited by Charles Davies
Distributed by Rank Film Distributors
Release date(s)
  • 2 November 1979 (1979-11-02)
Running time 87 mins.
Country  United Kingdom
Language English

Tarka the Otter is a film made in 1979, based on the novel of the same name by Henry Williamson. Tarka the Otter was voted 98th in Channel 4’s poll of the 100 Greatest Family Films.[1]

Production[edit]

The role of Tarka was played by an otter called Spade.[2]

'Ripple of Ancient Sunlight'[edit]

'Tarka and me' by Pete Talbot is now known by its original title 'Ripple of Ancient Sunlight'. Peter was the principal animal handler on Tarka the Otter. He trained at the Otter Trust under Philip Wayre. In 1976 he was invited by film producers David Cobham and Bill Travers to hand rear a baby otter called Spade for the title role. The Author's note for 'Ripple of Ancient Sunlight' explains... ...A little over ten years ago I was contacted by a Channel 4 researcher who had been tasked with investigating a classic old animal film called Tarka the Otter. I was puzzled why and he told me that film had just won an award in a family movie category but, finding nothing written anywhere about the animals in the film, he had noticed my name on the credits. A year or so later I heard the sad news that another of my friends, from the Tarka period, had fallen silent and the shock prompted me into a decision to write it all down. The story belongs to them. It happened over a period of two years in the latter part of nineteen seventies whilst filming Henry Williamson’s classic novel. The film featured an otter called Spade as Tarka in real-time as he grew up and, for the duration as his minder, Tarka the Otter became a way of life for us both.

Musical score[edit]

In 1976 Anthony Phillips, formerly a guitarist with Genesis, and Harry Williamson recorded a soundtrack to the film of Tarka the Otter with the support of David Cobham, the producer. Harry had helped to persuade his father to sign the contract, reassuring him that with the music he had composed, the film would be true to the book. When the film rushes were shown, however, it became apparent that there had never been any intention to use this orchestral work in the film. In 1987, Amy International paid for the completion of the work at Strawberry Studios and it was released by PRT records as simply Tarka. In 2001 the work was re-released with additional music by Voiceprint Records.[3] The music has been commissioned for its first live performance with a symphony orchestra in Melbourne in February 2010.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "100 Greatest Family Films". Channel 4. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  2. ^ Parry, G. (1979, 9 Apr). Film star banned after threatening to bite public. The Guardian (1959-2003). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/186133903?accountid=13902
  3. ^ Floating World BP219CD

External links[edit]