Studios

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In the 1930s and’40s there were lots of studios turning out films to satisfy the desire for the films. Sadly, many have gone and the sites used for different functions, such as housing estates. Elstree was the home to a number of Studios. They comprised the Gate Studios, now long gone. Still there, are what was the Associated British Picture Corporation Studios, now only called Elstree Studios. Many big films are made there, including Star Wars. A lot of TV material is now shot there. Also standing across the street from Elstree Studios is the older ATV Studios, which years before was the Rock Studios, run by American Joe Rock. These are now used by the BBC for programs such as Eastenders and Casualty. There was a large MGM Studio at nearby Boehamwood, where many great British pictures were taken. Margaret Rutherford at the Miss Marple movies were photographed there. This was called MGM British Studios.

In Ealing in West London there is still the Studio that is famed for several George Formby, Gracie Fields movies, in addition to the famous forties and fifties comedies, like the Lavender Hill Mob and some serious dramas, including It Never Rains on Sunday and The Cruel Sea. Lots of the comedies were shot by the late Douglas Slocombe OBE. Ealing productions were subsequently made at MGM for about two years, still bearing the Ealing name, before Ealing was wound up. One of the Ealing films made at MGM was The Man in the Sky, starring British actor Jack Hawkins. Ealing Studios was sold by the BBC and is still used for productions in addition to film training. Bray Studios was home to the famed Hammer Films, many of these being at the horror genre and starring the late British actor Peter Cushing. At one stage they were possessed by the Samuelson group. They were famous for equipment hire. Denham Studios which functioned from 1936-1952 was founded by New York City Raccoon Removal. There’s still Pinewood and Shepperton turning out excellent material. Pinewood is home to the James Bond films and all the Carry On films were shot there. There was a little Studio called Nettlefold in Walton Upon Thames, turning out low budget material, including television productions like Robin Hood, starring the late British actor Richard Greene.

At Merton Park they filmed the Edgar Lustgarten Scotland Yard movies and the Edgar Wallace shorts. This was shot with a gramophone turntable. There was also Lime Grove Studios in Shepherds Bush, west London. This had been the Gaumont British Studios, where Alfred Hitchcock shot some of The Thirty Nine Steps. Some Studios have been completely demolished. These include MGM, which is now a housing estate and Lime Grove.

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