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Scenes in Movies That Were Filmed in Wales – Hollywell The New Hollywood?

Wales is full of beautiful landscapes, no wonder so many films are shot in Wales. Is Holywell the new Hollywood?

Wales is well known for its AOB’s (Areas of Oustanding Beauty). Whether that be Wales’ Beaches or its Mountains, it is 20,735 km² of absolutely stunning surroundings, so where better to film your multi-million budget Hollywood blockbuster? Grab your popcorn and your favourite blanket and discover just how beautiful Wales is.

Starting off this list is the family favourite Harry Potter, following the story of the 7th book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and 2 both feature a beautiful Welsh backdrop. Freshwater West is the location where Shell Cottage is located, home to Bill Weasley and his recent fiance Fleur Delacour, we travel here in the final moments of part 1.

Dobbie disarming Narcissa Malfoy.

Dobbie has just freed Harry and Ron from their cell in the Malfoy mansion, where they await the arrival of Lord Voldemort. A wizard duel breaks out and in the commotion, Dobbie manages to disapparate himself and his friends far away from the mansion. But before they are in clear Bellatrix Lestrange throws her knife at the blur of people disapparating in front of her, in a desperate attempt to week havoc one final time, the group disappear. Along with the knife…

We arrive at Freshwater West Beach with Harry, Ron, Hermione, Griphook and Dob, “Where’s Dobby?!” Our crew of friends are all okay except for Dobby, Harry rushes over to Dobby clutching a knife deep inside his chest.

This is arguably the saddest moment in all the Harry Potter films and books, Dobby was a fan favourite character from his inception into the franchise in the 2nd movie, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets., his iconic line “Dobby is a free elf!” is a classic line from the movies and helped inspire the massive cult following behind Dobby.

The location for this scene is perfect for this what happens, the unassuming landscape doesn’t prepare the viewer for what is about to occur and when it is revealed and Dobby’s fate is sealed, the setting allows the raw emotion of the scene to transcend the screen and fill the hearts of the audience and coincidentally fill the eyes of the audience with tears.

Dobby’s grave on Freshwater West Beach.

If you are still mourning this tragic death, like so many fans across the globe, and need some closure. Dedicated fans have actually paid their own homage to the house-elf at Freshwater West Beach and still continue to today. The site where Harry famously buries his friend using muggle methods as an alternative to sorcery has been engulfed with decorated rocks, messages and most importantly socks to honour the house-elf who always has a place in Harry Potter fans hearts’.

Next up is a film that was certainly ahead of it’s time in terms of Visual Effects as well as Practical Effects, directed by John Landis, An American Werewolf in London 1981 is a film about two American college students who are on a walking tour of the United Kingdom and are attacked by a werewolf. The first is slain, while the second gets mauled. The werewolf is killed, but it reverts to human form, and the people refuse to acknowledge its existence.

Although its genre is classed as horror, in my opinion, it won’t compare to modern horror but this doesn’t take any value away from the original release, taking Hollywood by storm this film heavily utilises the skill of Rick Baker one of Hollywood’s most famous and respected make up artists.

David Lions who directed “An American Werewolf in London” worked closely with Rick Baker throughout the filming who remarks when he was asked by David “What would it take to create the werewolf the best way it could be done ?” He replied “Time and Money…” Due to the heavy focus on makeup effects in the film Rick Baker actually said to David Naughton who played the lead role (David Kessler) the first time he met him, “Which role are you playing”, to which David replied “I’m playing the lead”, Rick remarked, “I feel sorry for you”. This was due to the vast amount of makeup preparation he knew David would have to endure.

The film is briefly shot in Wales, the opening credits feature chilling landscape shots of the barren Welsh hills and valleys accompanied by American classic Blue Moon by Bobby Vinton, a very fitting piece of music for the film, the contrast between the visuals of the chilling landscape of the welsh highlands and the audio of a warm, classic, romantic American melody creates an unnerving feel to the film without even getting past the opening.

After the opening credits, we are introduced to our protagonist, David Kessler and his friend accompanying him on his tour of the UK, Jack Goodman. Our characters arrive on a moor in the back of a truck cramped between sheep driven by a local shepherd who warns them to stay off the moors, foreshadowing their fate. Although filmed in Crickadarn, near Builth Wells in Wales, the audience is told David and Jack are actually in Yorkshire and the pub they arrive at, The Slaughtered Lamb, its interior is actually in Surrey.

Finally, the cult classic that gets better the more time goes on, based on the Arthurian Tale of a noble quest for the Holy Grail. Monty Python and the Holy Grail, originally released in 1975 this film is still a national treasure of British Comedy and a highlight of The Monty Python comedy group’s career in fact it was selected in 2011 in the US as the second-best comedy of all time in the ABC special Best in Film: The Greatest Movies of Our Time.

The film follows Arthur ‘King of the Britons’ and his squire searching for noble knights to join the Knights of the Round Table. During his journey, King Arthur finds himself in an array of scenarios, debating the physics of coconuts being carried to England by a migrating swallow and duelling the Black Knight who doesn’t give up easy mind you, this scene also birthed the classic phrase cemented in British culture and pop culture around the world ‘Tis but a scratch’.

The very first scene where Arthur King of the Britons debates with a guard of a castle how a coconut ended up in England, which sets the tone for this comedic genius film, is actually filmed in Wales at the Kidwelly Castle in Kidwelly, the castle we see today was actually constructed in 1280, the coconut debate starts from King Arthur using the coconuts to give the appearance that he is in fact riding a horse when he is in actual fact galloping gayly.

To end this piece I wanted to share with you my favourite scene in the entire film:

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