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The Lost World of Mr Hardy [DVD]

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Product details

  • Directors: Andy Heathcote, Heike Bachelier
  • Format: PAL, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: German, French
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Trufflepig Films
  • DVD Release Date: 1 Jan. 2008
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0012D7XIG
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 57,093 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

A modern classic - the story of fly fishing seen through the eyes of Hardy's of Alnwick and the fishing tackle craftsmen who dedicated their working life to their craft.


Go fishing. That s exactly what you ll want to do after seeing this spectacular new documentary following the rise, fall and rebirth of family-based fishing equipment manufacturer, Hardy s of Alnwick. The film takes the contemplative subject of fly fishing and its components and gives us a riveting entry into the values, quirks, dilemmas and sociological drama of true aficionados and the suppliers of kit . An insider s love of the craft and its quality tools is conveyed brilliantly in this very British story of two brothers who invented precision fishing tackle and in 1873 opened a small shop in Alnwick, near the Scottish Border. As a boy I knew about Hardy s and its feathery coloured flies everyone did. At one time, Hardy s ruled the world from their perch in Pall Mall in London and, employing most of Alnwick in its village plant. Three generations of Hardy boys designed and distributed elegant and well-made fishing equipment that maharajahs, kings and queens all vied to possess including the Prince of Wales, who requested two vintage Hardy reels as a wedding present. The Lost World of Mr Hardy tells an evocative story of quality and ethically based manufacturing through interviews, archive footage and a gorgeous musical score of violin and cello by Stephen Daltry breathtaking in its simplicity, beauty and effectiveness. It perfectly amplifies a tale about delicacy, nature and the bittersweet hope that such things might survive in our brave new world. The Hardy brothers silent archival footage from 1937, featuring some of the first colour film and shot by JJ Hardy s chauffeur, showcases giant fish, pristine rivers and plus-fours. Even more compelling are the charming and candid reminiscences of octogenarian James Hardy himself, the grandson of the originators of the company. He was the last family proprietor, for 50 years, before the company was transferred with the best will in the world to corporate interests. This story is told through eloquent and forthright interviewees such as Hardy and his former workers, concluding with the new inheritors of a bygone talent. Errors are admitted, a passion for fishing is made plausible and gorgeous river landscapes dazzle. I defy you to watch with a dry eye. The greater issue accumulates forcefully but quietly the value of craftsmanship in a global economy preoccupied with quantity. For 137 years the Hardy family company operated on the premise that only the best is good enough for fishermen . Each reel was hand-stamped with the famous logo, each split-cane rod tempered in the bakers ovens next door. Flies were dressed , not tied . Rods were hand-sheathed in scabbards, like magic swords. Our products had soul, had meaningfulness, explains one artisan with a long history at the company. The tenderly rendered process of making works of engineering splendour, the dignity and melancholy of Hardy and his foremen, the apologetic but pragmatic stance of the new owners who now make the rods in the Far East, the devotion and poetic style of the handful of new designer-craftsmen all make for an emotionally compelling tour de force. The filmmakers use the same skills that The Lost World showcases. They independently took off on a road journey to the territory of director Heathcote's youth, near Fife, where he d first fished streams as a teenager seeking the romance of solitude. The Hardy rods and reels that were always out of reach became his Rosebud, spurring him to build in two years a film that lets the artefacts, the people who made them and the fishing pleasures to which they were put, speak for themselves. The Lost World of Mr Hardy is deep. It reconfigures the principle of more stuff, more activity, less time into a relatedness that interweaves time with imagination, poignancy and eternity. Like fishing. --THE TIMES Ken Russell, Oct 30th 2009

My great-grandfather, John Christie, was a trout and salmon angler in the old Kingdom of Fife in Scotland, and he taught me to fish. I remember his wool bonnet, the smell of his ancient pipe and the hint of a smile that would creep onto his dour Scottish face when I hooked a trout on a wet coachman or grouse-and-claret fly. Watching THE LOST WORLD OF MR HARDY; a documentary about the world's most famous fly-fishing company, those memories came flooding back. Andy Heathcote is a Scottish documentary filmmaker and fly angler. He and partner Heike Bachelier live in England and became fascinated with the story of William and John James Hardy, who in 1873 started a fly-tackle business in Alnwick (pronounced with usual English obtuseness as ;Ah-nek;). Their intent was to hand-make the finest reels, rods and flies in the world, and for 100 years they did. But a mix of bad corporate decisions and tough economic climate in the 1960s forced the firm's sale to a conglomerate. While it still operates as Hardy & Greys, it has evolved from a manufacturing company into a firm that markets products it has made overseas. The 93-minute documentary had a two-year theater run in England, but it isn't ;A River Runs Through It; or one of those Saturday-morning TV shows that feature people derricking giant trout out of a Chilean river. It tells a wonderful story of fishing and business and history, using the faces and words of people who worked at Hardy for 40-60 years, including 83-year-old James Hardy, the last of the family owners, and marvelous black-and-white silent film footage of various Hardys catching salmon 75 years ago. The firm's tackle shop at 51 Pall Mall in London is Mecca for anglers from around the world. Hardy tackle was shipped to Indian Maharajahs, Canadian industrialists, Argentine cattle barons, New Zealand sheep ranchers, noblemen all over Europe and, of course, English royalty. As James Hardy notes with a nearly concealed wry grin, ;We were an empire in those days.; I rarely buy DVDs, because 99.99% of those I see for sale aren't worth watching once, never mind a second time. But I'd highly recommend ;The Lost World of Mr. Hardy; -- it would make a superb Christmas present for a fly angler. --DETROIT FREE PRESS, Eric Sharp Oct 2010

It was the time when the rivers were full of salmon, and a proper angler only used Hardy tackle to catch them. WHEN HARDY'S RULED THE WAVES, RIVERS & LAKES There is a very poignant moment in this DVD when one of the company s old staff says of the modern-day Hardy equipment: There s nothing there that I would want to make now. Unfortunately, Hardy was going bust by clinging on to its old values. And now, as managing director Richard Sanderson points out: Less than 5% of what we sell will be made at Alnwick. No longer a manufacturing company, sales and marketing is the game now. This isn t just the story of a fishing tackle company that lost its way in the modern world: it s the tale of many, many firms that clung too long to their old-fashioned values of quality above quantity, and found that too few people cared less. Cheap was good. Never mind the quality, look at the price. Ah, but those golden days! Hardy was once the biggest employer in the Northumberland town of Alnwick. For fishermen, a trip to London and visiting Hardy s in Pall Mall was akin to seeing Buckingham Palace. Hardy ruled the world, supplying tackle to maharajahs, film stars and royalty. When Zane Grey wanted the most expensive reel in the world built. he came to Hardy s. It said that it could build the dearest, but it would also be the best too. Nobody doubted it. But the world didn t stay still. The foundry, gut shop and fly-making all went. One of its old premises is now a squash club, tanother an instant print shop. Hardy still makes cane rods, but you feel that even this final link with the past may soon go. The film-makers, Andy Heathcote and Heike Bachelier, tell the Hardy story with sympathy and a touch of hope, not for Hardy s perhaps, but for those who still believe in hand-making beautiful things. Cane rodmaker Edward Barder is one of these, though even he questions the wisdom of putting beauty before profit. It s an inordinately long time to spend on something, 60 hours or more, is it not? Every reader of this magazine will love this DVD. It s a little long at 93 minutes but it has pace, some wonderful anecdotes, sensitive filming and tight editing. You know the ending, you won t want it to end. It is enhanced by some great footage from the Hardy archives of the 1920s, including a quite wonderful sequence of a ghillie doing all the hard work with a 40lb Norwegian salmon, while the angler claims the glory and the leaves the ghillie to carry back both rod and fish. Unmissable. Buy it now. --CLASSIC ANGLING magazine, Keith Elliot, July 08

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Ellis on 28 Mar. 2008
Format: DVD
I don't fish. But like those other quintessentially English, paternalistic entrepreneurs of the late Victorian age, Cadbury and Lever, I was aware that Hardy and Alnwick in Northumberland were synonymous with a family business producing the best in the world.....but unlike the aforementioned two other families, their product was used, not by the man on the Clapham omnibus, but was a bespoke luxury item enjoyed by Monarchs, Maharajah's and every angler who could aspire to owning one. I was curious to know how Hardy's had survived into the 21st Century.

The DVD, as the title, The Lost World of Mr Hardy, suggests, focuses mainly on an earlier, gentle age, where many of the population of the small northern town worked for the Hardy Brothers in their factory. Archive film, still photos, anecdotes, interviews with managers and craftsmen (none of whom seemed to have worked there for much less than 50 years) showed the development of fly fishing tackle through the early beginnings to the heyday of the 1920s when the "Perfect" reels were first produced - much collected by today's enthusiasts. Throughout all, meandering, like the rivers being fished, there is footage of lazy, hazy summer days, blue skies, anglers' casting and trout and salmon rising.

Like many similar labour intensive manufacturers, Hardy's hit a bad patch in the 1960s when cheaper imports threatened their economic viability. They looked to diversify into broadening their production into Coarse and Sea Fishing tackle. Certainly some production is now abroad, with the UK providing only sales and marketing. However, it was great to see some ex-employees still continuing the traditional hand made methods. I thought that the film provided a very balanced view of technology versus the traditional.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Brian Taylor on 17 Mar. 2008
Format: DVD
Angling purists, social historians, anyone who fishes, has North East connections, Hardy collectors and everyone who respects tradition must watch this DVD, "The Lost world of Mr Hardy."
For in it, Andy Heathcote and Heike Bachelier have distilled the essence of Britishness.
On one level it pays tribute to the great British artisans, the craftsmen and women of Alnwick, those Hardy employees who created the world's finest fishing kit. Over 100 years of excellence is seen through the eyes of those who were intimately involved. It relates personal stories of the people who were there. Interviews and archive film footage are skilfully woven to paint a wonderful portrait of a bygone age.
On a second level, it is a requiem for UK manufacturing and a toll of the bells for our industrial heritage. A wake up call to what globalisation means to our traditions and a realisation that things will never be the same again.
On yet a third level, it is a widening beacon of light for those who want to achieve the `British Dream' (similar to the American one but quieter and more reserved). It shows that individuals can uphold the core values and skills of previous generations and turn them into cottage industries.
On a personal level, my old Hardy rods and reels just became so much more important to me.
Superb editing and evocative music made this a joy to watch.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John R. Brown on 30 July 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
An iconic production which will fascinate both the angler and the student of traditional British craftmanship.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ephemera on 8 Jun. 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Being a sentimental bloke I just had to purchase this DVD and am very pleased that I did. It was lovely to see those old Hardy movies that were, at the time, light years ahead for a company dealing in angling matters. To see those HUGE salmon coming to the net (or gaff) made my mouth water and brought back fond memories of my own father catching big salmon over 40 years ago. If you like to see the development of those famous rods and reels of the Hardy Company, then this DVD is a must purchase... you won't regret it at all. Enjoy the history and thanks to Hardy for producing the product.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tim vacher on 2 Feb. 2014
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Absolutely wonderful documentary about the finest made fishing tackle in the world being produced in Alnick. This harks Bach to a time of record Salmon catches and a bygone age so superb craftsmanship when only the very best would do and a visit to Hardys was as important to the Gentry as going to a grand ball or the opera!

This is a must for any sportsman who appreciates quality and the skill that put England on the map. Imagine Downton Abbey meets Fred Dibnah, a real treat and after watching it I ordered two more copies for my Brothers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Doug on 14 Sept. 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Well filmed and easy to follow, this short documentary follows the history of the Hardy brand. Told though the memories of Jim Hardy, last of the family to work for Hardy's.

Anyone passionate about fly fishing and Hardy history will appreciate this DVD. A perfect gift for a collector of classic fishing equipment (unless he has it already).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By 27 JFB on 16 Oct. 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Transports the viewer to a different time and place. A truly fabulous film about Hardy Tackle and makes evident the reputation for quality and affection with which the company is still held. Informative interviews, fascinating insights and great early footage.
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