Playing The Thing

Chris Morphet and "Playing The Thing"

"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.

I became aware of the film in 2002 and in 2007 I managed to track down the director, Chris Morphet, and I asked him about how and why he had made the film. When I heard the story of his travels to interview famous harmonica players I realised that "Playing The Thing" included only a small portion of what he had filmed. Chris went home and searched his house and found a dusty box full of small reels and clips of film, which had remained untouched since the editing of the film. He listened to what I wanted to do and he gave me all of the old film clips which he could find and then he signed over the ownership of "Playing The Thing" to me so I could try to restore it and the interviews to their original glory. It has been a long, slow process, but here are some great results.

© 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