Film festival to honour Suffolk knight

FANS of Felixstowe knight, Sir John Mills, will be left with more than Hobson's Choice when a film festival in his honour is screened in the town.And to top it all the veteran Oscar winning actor may return to Felixstowe for the six-movie event next month, it was revealed today.

FANS of Felixstowe knight, Sir John Mills, will be left with more than Hobson's Choice when a film festival in his honour is screened in the town.

And to top it all the veteran Oscar winning actor may return to Felixstowe for the six-movie event next month, it was revealed today.

Organisers have been liaising with the star's agents and are hoping he will visit for a dinner and to launch the weekend on which six of his movies will be screened at the Spa Pavilion.

The film festival on September 25 and 26 is part of Arts Month in Felixstowe.

Organiser Trevor Lockwood said: "Sir John wants to come to the festival and is very interested in what we are doing.

"We are very hopeful that the visit will be possible and are now talking to his agent about the arrangements."

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Born in 1908, Sir John, son of a school teacher, lived in Gainsborough Road, Felixstowe. Moves are currently afoot to put up a statue of him in the town.

He started his working life at RW Paul, the corn merchants in Ipswich, in the 1920s. He caught the train every morning from Felixstowe, getting off at the Derby Road station and walking into town to save sixpence a day to help finance his dream of getting into acting.

His first steps on the stage were taken in the town as part of the fledgling Vicar's Amateur Dramatic. His first role in Felixstowe was as a gardener in The Paper Chase, staged at St John's Church Hall in Princes Road in 1927.

After his film debut in The Midshipmaid in 1932, he went on to star in many acclaimed and well-loved movies, and is probably best known for his work with director David Lean.

In total Sir John has acted in more than 120 films as well as directing and producing others.

His Oscar winning role in Ryan's Daughter will close the festival, but other films include three other Lean directed films, In Which We Serve, Hobson's Choice and Great Expectations.

The bill is completed by Tiger Bay, in which his daughter Hayley made her first appearance, and Goodbye, Mr Chips.

There will be a free one-hour lunchtime talk the Sunday, while on Saturday there will be a special feature culled from the East Anglian Film Archive called Memories of Cinema-going.

The weekend will begin with a Classic Children's Film Morning with people invitation to bring the children and the grandchildren to relive the Children's Film Foundation classics that used to the focus of attention for youngsters at Saturday morning pictures before television and computer games took control.

It is hoped the festival, which is being supported by Suffolk Coastal council, may become a regular feature if this one proves a success at the box office.

Felixstowe Arts Month also features the Art on the Prom event and a life-size sperm whale with a museum inside on the beach on September 5; visual arts exhibitions at the Boatyard Gallery, By Design, Reunion Gallery and 22 Penfold Road; drama and a new writing event.

WEBLINK: www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk/leisure/creative.html

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