April 20, 2014

Studios

Studio Photograph

Cast of Just William’s Luck outside Southall Studios.

Studio Photograph

Site of Southall Studios today.

In 1924, film producer G.B. Samuelson converted a Southall aircraft hangar in Gladstone Road into a 7,500-square-foot film stage but it was largely redundant until the 1930s. Over the next two decades the building had several occupants including Kingsway General Films Ltd, Britone Sound Studios, Metropolitan Film Studios and Cromwell Film Corporation. In 1936, the studio was gutted by fire but quickly rebuilt with three sound stages. The studio was hired out for the production of several inexpensive `Quota Quickies’ including the John E. Blakeley directed musical Dodging the Dole (1936) and Leopold Jessnerís Children of the Fog (1937).

During the war years the studio was utilized as a ballroom and ice-rink. After WWII, the studios were leased to producer Sydney Box and Alliance Film Studios Limited, who also owned the nearby London studios of Twickenham and Riverside. Film productions in the latter half of the 1940s included the John Paddy Carstairs directed Dancing with Crime (1947) and Francis Searleís spooky comedy Things Happen at Night (1947).

In 1946, the respected documentary filmmaker John Grierson was appointed joint Executive Producer of Group 3 at Southall Studios where he remained until 1954. His productions included C.M. Pennington-Richards fantasy comedy The Oracle (1953) and Lewis Gilbertís Time Gentlemen Please (1952). In 1954, the studio commenced television productions with the three stages employing 47 staff as a television production centre. Early tv productions included syndicated series Colonel March of Scotland Yard. The studio closed in 1957 and was later demolished.

Many thanks to Bill Cooke for his contribution.



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