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  • Bray Studios

    Just been browsing an old magazine, and see that Columbia Pictures bought a 49% stake in Bray Studios in 1968, presumably as part of their finance deal with Hammer. I know Hammer stopped using in the 1960s and finally sold it in the early 1970s, I wondered if anyone knew when they parted with their share in the studio?

  • #2
    According to Wayne Kinsey's excellent 2005 book "Hammer Films: The Bray Studios Years", they ceased making films there in 1966 as they were required by their production/distribution deal with Seven Arts-Warmer Bros (and their U.K. distributor Warner-Pathé) to use their studios at Elstree. I think they kept the house for administration. They sold it in November 1970.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by agutterfan View Post
      According to Wayne Kinsey's excellent 2005 book "Hammer Films: The Bray Studios Years", they ceased making films there in 1966 as they were required by their production/distribution deal with Seven Arts-Warmer Bros (and their U.K. distributor Warner-Pathé) to use their studios at Elstree. I think they kept the house for administration. They sold it in November 1970.
      Yeah, that was Hammer, I see my question was confusingly worded, Agutterfan. . My query is did Columbia retain their part-ownership even after they stopped releasing Hammer films in the US?

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      • #4
        Actually the new BBC version of Dracula was filmed there recently for a possible Christmas release, I hope they don't drop the ball as Dracula is one of my favourite characters.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by tv horror View Post
          Actually the new BBC version of Dracula was filmed there recently for a possible Christmas release, I hope they don't drop the ball as Dracula is one of my favourite characters.
          I find Mark Gatiss a far better writer than he is an actor. I do hope he isn’t playing Van Helsing

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          • #6
            I agree as Van Helsing is as important a character as Dracula to the story, that's why the Hammer series with Peter Cushing worked so well.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by tv horror View Post
              Actually the new BBC version of Dracula was filmed there recently for a possible Christmas release, I hope they don't drop the ball as Dracula is one of my favourite characters.
              I had lost track of events at Bray - last I'd heard the owners wanted to turn the whole thing into a housing estate and were turning down bookings for studio space and turfing out film production companies cased there. So glad it's stayed as a film production facility.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by tv horror View Post
                I agree as Van Helsing is as important a character as Dracula to the story, that's why the Hammer series with Peter Cushing worked so well.
                Cushing was excellent in The Brides of Dracula, but then absent for the rest until Dracula AD 1972 by which time the magic had gone from Hammer and the character, a descent of the original, was a pale imitation.

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                • #9
                  Yes,it's strange about Hammer and Bray, the company were at their pinnacle 1956 when it hit the jackpot with Curse of F.,it soon became,despite its relative smallness , one of the busiest Brit studios in the country, only to cease production there in the mid 60s...

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by John Skinner View Post
                    Yes,it's strange about Hammer and Bray, the company were at their pinnacle 1956 when it hit the jackpot with Curse of F.,it soon became,despite its relative smallness , one of the busiest Brit studios in the country, only to cease production there in the mid 60s...
                    Everything about Hammer is financial. Bray was more expensive to maintain than hiring out space elsewhere. By the early 1970s, they were in production deals with EMI and Rank which required using Elstee and Pinewood, so Bray wasn’t an option anyway.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Paxton Milk View Post
                      Just been browsing an old magazine, and see that Columbia Pictures bought a 49% stake in Bray Studios in 1968, presumably as part of their finance deal with Hammer. I know Hammer stopped using in the 1960s and finally sold it in the early 1970s, I wondered if anyone knew when they parted with their share in the studio?
                      1958 not '68.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Stephen Pickard View Post

                        1958 not '68.
                        You are correct, just a typo. They were making a considerable (by Hammer standards) injection of production finance at the same time. As mentioned earlier, Hammer were done with Bray by 1968

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