Media | 1940 | Sound | B/W
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Film concerning the British film industry and its chances of competing with Hollywood. Lots of behind the scenes footage.
Cameras at night in New York. Cinemagoers paying money to box office and entering cinema. They look very smart, one old man in suit and overcoat with big bushy moustache. Shots of the money crossing on the counter. American newspapers with headlines.
Shot of the houses of parliament with the River Thames in the foreground, shots of bus driving around Piccadilly circus. Then outside an MGM cinema with sign for "Our Vines Have Tender Grapes" starring Edward G. Robinson and Margaret O'Brien, then outside a Warner Brothers cinema Leicester Square where "Rhapsody in Blue" is showing. Then another showing "Road to Utopia" starring Bob Hope, Bing Crosby an Dorothy Lamour, we see the public entering the theatre and buying tickets for "Road to Utopia" from a kiosk inside the cinema, there is a shot of an overhead sign for the 3' and 4'6 tickets Shot of a queue for presumably the same cinema, people in 1940's clothing, man in light coloured raincoat smoking a pipe, he cant be older than about 30, the narrator explains that the nations finances are being drained by the British people's desire to spend money to see American films.
An interior scene in an office with a man of around 50 sitting opposite two slightly younger men at a desk, he explains to the two men that many more British films will soon be available. Scenes showing British film studios, exterior and interior, with an elaborate set design inside, the film is "A Matter of Life and Death " - an overweight old man with a white handlebar moustache and clothed only in a white towel walks onto set and greets a younger man dressed as a WW2 airman, he also has a handlebar moustache, and he slaps 'Colonel Blimp' on the back as he walks on set, Blimp strides on amid a chorus of guffaws. Camera closes up on actor Raymond Massey in 18th century 'Captain Cook' style costume. Some exterior shots of the studios, with sets being constructed and worked on, one of these is a set for "Caesar and Cleopatra" - this long awaited historical comedy was more than a year in the making, and cost a million and a quarter pounds, we see a large Roman style building with a large funeral pyre burning in front of it, to the right of the camera, the story was written by George Bernard Shaw "Britain's greatest dramatist" with Gabriel Pascal directing, he has specialised in bringing Shaw's plays to the screen, Pascal directs an actor, then calls "action" and a crowd of Roman soldiers charge. Gracie Fields is seen in a scene she was "beloved throughout the empire" Gracie sings a cheeky number in a north England accent, she is all in black with a large black rimmed hat and a string of pearls round the neck, . George Formby relaxes on set and discusses script, which he holds with two colleagues. They discuss exactly what an 'airy wave' ought to be, George corrects both his colleagues. " Private life of Henry VIII " poster starring Charles Laughton. Film producer Alexander Korda sits at desk and smokes cigar. Denham studios shown with sign stating that the studios are under construction. Construction workers in cloth caps carry a length of piping across the site of Denham studios, " Scarlet Pimpernel " when Leslie Howard, Howard is in a black cloak and white cravat tie, forgets his lines , a blooper , Jack Beddington Documentary. A shot from set of " In Which We Serve " with Coward descending a ships gangplank with the then queen and king of England.
J Arthur Rank sits at his desk in black suit, white shirt, black tie, he was not from a film background, but a very successful industrialist. Shot of Rank in Hollywood's "Twentieth Century Fox" film studios. Shot of Darryl Zanuck in an office with Peggy Cummings and young looking Rex Harrison, they look at papers. There are shots of Ida Lupino and former matinee idol Ronald Coleman taking a drag on a cigarette. Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce and C. Aubrey Smith walk onto a croquet lawn, Smith wears a striped blazer looking like he's just come from Oxford or Cambridge, very craggy face like a rock face, Rathbone looking very distinguished, in tweeds. "Britain has an abundance of creative talents" A then unknown Stuart Granger in a scene with Anne Crawford. Margaret Lockwood and James Mason appear in scenes respectively, Mason was then unknown to Hollywood, he appears 'swashing his buckle' in a pirate movie. Michael Balcon sits in a garden and talks with two others. Carol Reed walks into an office where an older director sits at a desk, " The years between " is shown on a clapper board with the names of Valerie Hobson and Michael Redgrave underneath the title, they are shown in a scene discussing the man's desire to return to his old job after the war, which the woman is now doing. " I live In Grosvenor Square " appears on another clapperboard starring Anna Neagle and Dean Jagger, they sit by a haystack and kiss, " Pink Strings and sealing Wax " is next with Mervyn Johns and Googie Withers, Withers is displaying rather a plunging neckline, and heaving bosom. " Wanted for Murder " is next up, starring Eric Portman, Portman stands in half-light with a woman, he has on a suit and hat with white collar and striped shirt, and white handkerchief in the breast pocket of his jacket, they argue she screams for help, and he tells her that she had her chance, it appears that Mr Portman is about to do the woman in. Next is "Remember the Unicorn" starring George Formby on the clapperboard, George is seen amidst some Scots guards playing the banjo/ukulele, he wears a similar uniform in navy with a plume coming from the top of his hat, he grins inanely, he then conducts the men in song with his fingers. There is a final shot of an audience of young and old, and the camera shows the expressions on their faces.
To request more details on this film, please contact us quoting Film number 8227.