Photographing Fairies

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
Photographing Fairies (1997)

Photographing Fairies is a British movie produced by BBC released on 19 september 1997. 106 minutes.

The movie is adapted from the novel of the same name by Steve Szilagyi, a fiction based on real events known as the "Cottingley Fairies" affair. Two young girls, Elsie Wright (1900-1988) and Frances Griffiths (1907-1986), produced five photographs showing (fake) fairies which were accepted as genuine by many and especially Conan Doyle which wrote some articles in The Strand Magazine including Fairies Photographed (december 1920) and The Evidence for Fairies (march 1921).





  • Director : Nick Willing
  • Screenplay : Chris Harrald, Nick Willing, Steve Szilagyi (book)
  • Producer : Michele Camarda
  • Executive Producer : Alan Greenspan, Mike Newell
  • Co-Producer : Fonda Snyder, Lawrence Weinberg
  • Music : Simon Boswell
  • Cinematography : John de Borman
  • Film Editor : Sean Barton
  • Casting : Susie Figgis
  • Production Design : Laurence Dorman
  • Art Director : Philip Elton
  • Set Decoration : Shirley Lixenberg
  • Costume Design : Hazel Pethig

Plot summary

Charles Castle is disturbed when his wife dies in the snowy mountains of the Swiss Alps. He then worked as a photographer during World War I and later set up a photo shop where he specializes in placing faces of dead soldiers into pictures of living parents for posterity. During his activities he becomes interested in the photos of supposed fairies taken by two young girls in the countryside. When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle approaches Charles about his own interest in the photos of fairies as a declaration of hope, Charles travels to the country to find out more. He discovers a small white flower that the young girls have been eating. When he eats the flowers Charles experiences a hallucinogenic effect that slows down life perception and allows him to perceive the fairies that have appeared in the young girls photos, and he believes that the flowers give him the ability to communicate with his dead wife. When local Reverend Templeton finds his wife Beatrice dead he believes that Charles is responsible and as he finds a way to photograph the supposed fairies with primitive camera equipment, Charles finds himself in conflict with Templeton and the result leaves a bitter-sweet resolution.