"Playing The Thing" is a remarkable film documentary about harmonicas and harmonica players. It was shot in 1971/72 by Chris Morphet assisted by a small group of friends. They were all young camera and sound professionals. It was a labour of love by a harmonica player for his favourite instrument. They filmed top performers and events in England, Holland, Germany and the USA. The resulting 30 min film was premiered at the Electric Cinema in Notting Hill London in 1973.
Richard Stanley now lives in Finland where he continues to direct films. He does voice overs for commercials, and is involved generally in the creative field. He is writing an auto biography.
Paul Robinson was the audio recordist on the film. He then became a film director for a few years and then got involved with buying and selling property. He died in 2007.
Johanna Freudenberg used to be a landscape gardener and painter. She is still very active with the latter and has had various shows including her paintings of Cornish Saints shown in Truro Cathedral 2 years ago.
Gautam Choudhury was living in London when he met Chris Morphet, but he now lives in Holland. He was interested in harmonicas and using them to play Indian music. He attended his first Harmonica Festival in Winterhur, Switzerland in 1969. He met Tommy Reilly and many other famous players and is still attending the major festivals in 2017. 1n 1971 Gautam was able to introduce Chris to new harmonica instruments and music and this contributed a lot to the inclusive and comprehensive approach of the film. Gautam was present at the editing and the first showing of the film at the Electric Cinema in Notting Hill, London. Gautam kept a copy of the 16mm film and also a VHS version, which he passed to me in 2004 when I decided to restore film and the original interviews.
© Roger Trobridge
Here is a video of the film, "Playing The Thing" (1972).
You can see videos of the original interviews which contain the rediscovered and restored 16 mm film clips on this page as they are completed.
© Roger Trobridge