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Villagers queue to see rediscovered film

ACTOR Melvyn Hayes was among 180 people who crammed into Goudhurst village hall to see the first showing of a rediscovered film set in the village.

The firm, entitled Adventures in the Hopfields and shot in 1953, was one of the first ever films in Britain recorded with magnetic sound. Mr Hayes appeared in it as a child actor.

He went on to support Cliff Richard in films like Summer Holiday and The Young Ones, and played Gloria in the TV comedy hit It Ain't Half Hot Mum. He was joined at the premiere of the film at the weekend by fellow child actor in the film, Anthony Hayes. Mr Hayes gained fame in the TV series Colditz and Raffles.

Barry Littlechild, a film collector from Tunbridge Wells, who bought the film after it was discovered by a fellow collector in a skip in Chicago, said: "People were just amazed. They said it was the first night they saw everyone in Goudhurst getting on with each other and chatting."

Mr Littlechild said even the scramble for tickets that had left some people unable to see either of the film's two showings in the village had not caused any bad feeling.

Adventures in the Hopfields, starring nine-year-old Mandy Miller, tells the story of an East End girl who stows away on a train to Goudhurst with hop pickers to find her lost dog.

It was shot for children's Saturday morning cinema clubs in the days before morning television took over. Its director, John Guillermin, went on to direct the Hollywood disaster movie Towering Inferno.

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