Created on 30 June 2014

Location information received last week.

Our Server problems appear to be behind us and we have, hopefully, made all the necessary amendments that were outstanding. Thank you to all those that were so patient with us. Last week we were able to add at least Google Images to support all the information provided including that from Nick Farmer concerning The Big Sleep and screen shot bs014 in particular.  Nick, who served at Marylebone Lane Police Station until 1977 also provided us with this additional interesting background information.

"When you watch the film the scene after Roger Mitchum enters the Police station and meets Richard Todd and John Mills is the ground floor Charge Room and the cell passage can be seen to the rear. The next scene is on the first floor, in what was the old CID Office. Note the curtains are drawn as it is meant to be at night. At times the local Police, then at their New Police Station in Seymour Street (now also closed) had to go down to Marylebone Lane Police Station and explain to "tourists" that we had moved, although it appeared open, as the film crew had actors in uniform!"

Many thanks for that Nick.

 
Created on 30 June 2014

British B's

British B films, many made at the Merton Park or Twickenham Studios in south west London. Many of these wonderful films are available on YouTube, almost invariably in black and white, sometimes known as Quota Quickies and as all of them were made on very limited budgets, in the 50's and 60's, with no cash for elaborate sets, they just used the local streets, the real streets.

These essays in crime were hugely popular and provide the social background to how we were, three-piece suits, wives at home in the kitchen, vehicles, attitudes, shop fronts, street furniture, food and speech. 

Google:-  British B films, Edgar Lustgarten, Scales of Justice, Scotland Yard and Edgar Wallace and you may well be pleasantly surprised. There are many snips and trailers, but also many complete films are to be found, thus allowing a delicious wallowing in nostalgia.

John Tunstill

 
Created on 22 June 2014

Location and film related detail received this week

Dave Buckley has been in touch with us about Love Thy Neighbour and particularly ltn008b-008h, all of which are in front of what was EMI-Canon studios on one side of Shenley Road, Borehamwood, Herts. However, he has additionally referred us to http://avengerland.theavengers.tv/studios/defaut.htm. On that page, select Studio Buildings under Associated British Studios, there can be seen various photos, some of which show the front of the building and the private access road pictured in the stills. If you also look at Studio Map you will see how much of the site is now Tesco's. No doubt, like me, you will then be wandering around the other Studios and Set pictures wondering where all your time has gone.

Dave also mentions two related books. Elstree Confidential by Paul Welsh, MBE which he says is a fund of information about the studios, the films made there and the film stars who appeared in them, together with personal anecdotes. Also, Elstree, the British Hollywood which details all the studios in the area of which there were four in the High Road alone! Thanks Dave for all that background.



I have been in touch with the Thames Police Museum in Wapping with regard to a film I am currently working on and received valued help from its Hon. Curator Rob Jeffries. Besides helping me, he gave some additional information which besides being interesting itself could be helpful to us when researching similar London based films. He said that in 1954, the year I am dealing with, the Met Police would not have agreed to renting out police boats and crews to take part in commercial films so there was a trade in old police launches that could be bought second hand by companies working on the river that could be made to look like police boats. This was the case until comparatively recently when they were making James Bond's The World is not enough. They wanted to use real police officers and boats but the Met declined to take part. This changed when the Met cottoned on that there was cash to be made out of this and Rob was part of one the very first occasions when police launches and crews could be rented out to film companies....(Prime Suspect Six). Thanks again Rob for that.

 
Created on 14 June 2014

Locations identified in recent days.

We are always very pleased to receive emails giving us specific detail for those film stills that we have been unable to provide a location. Whilst information, when received, is added to the shot(s) in question the update is not immediately known to our audience unless someone happens to be regularly viewing that film in question. So, you might like to know that in recent days we have received specific information on the following films:

The Face of Fu Manchu from Dave Lally covering 004 and the 029's

The Night We Got The Bird from Timothy Lidbetter covering 009 and 010

On The Beat from Di Davies covering 001 and 002

Thank you all for your help and interest, it is much appreciated. Next step, some NOW shots please!

 
Created on 06 May 2014

INFORMATION FROM THE OFFICE OF
MICHAEL THORNTON
TELEPHONE/FAX: 01248 852615
MOBILE: 07595 323006

e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

INQUEST ON MOVIE LEGEND JEAN KENT


An inquest into the death of movie legend Jean Kent, one of Britain’s top box-office stars in the 1940s and 1950s, will take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday of this week, May 8, at the Active Business Centre, St. Andrews Castle, 33 St. Andrews Street South, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 3PH, with the Senior Coroner for Suffolk, Dr. Peter Dean, presiding.

The hearing will be in Miss Kent’s married name, Joan Mildred Hurst.

No witnesses are being called, but the evidence will reveal that Miss Kent, a wealthy 92-year-old widow, was found naked on the floor of her bedroom at her secluded home, Thornglade, in the village of Westhorpe, near Stowmarket, on November 28 by her housekeeper, Mrs. Rita Betts, with a television, a television stand, and a disabled heavy chair across the left-hand side of her upper body. She had suffered serious injury to her chest and three ribs had been fractured.

Miss Kent was taken by ambulance to West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St. Edmunds, where she died in the early hours of November 30.

The star’s Executor, national newspaper journalist and former national film and theatre critic Michael Thornton, who was named by Miss Kent as Next of Kin, said today: “The Coroner has now passed to me all the relevant findings and documents in the case.

“I do not think it would be proper for me to pre-empt what Dr. Peter Dean is going to say at the inquest, but I can certainly confirm that his findings will refute the wilder stories that were in circulation at the time of Jean’s death, to the effect that intruders might have broken into her house and attacked her. One report even used the word, “murdered”. As the police have established, that certainly did not happen. At the time that her housekeeper found her, the front-door of the house was still locked, and the alarm system was in operation”.

One week after Thursday’s inquest, the British Film Institute is honouring Jean Kent at the National Film Theatre on May 15, when Michael Thornton will introduce the star’s most celebrated and also most notorious film, Good-Time Girl, which was refused a certificate by the British Board of Film Censors until a violent scene in which the star was raped was cut, and other changes were made. Even then, the film was still banned by the watch committees in several major UK cities, including Birmingham.

The film also starred Dennis Price, Diana Dors, Dame Flora Robson and Jill Balcon, the mother of Daniel Day-Lewis.


ENDS


Michael Thornton: 01248 852615 or 07595 323006.

 
Created on 31 January 2014

London in Colour - 1927

Many of us know of William Friese-Greene, a pioneer of early cinematography, perhaps primarily as a result of the film "The Magic Box" (1951) which features on the ReelStreets Website. However, following his fathers death in 1921 his son Claude carried on the development of the additive colour film process called Biocolour and toured the UK capturing the dramatically changing scene that followed the First World War. His journey from Land's End to John O'Groats between 1924 and 1926 and entitled The Open Road was featured in a series of programmes by the BBC back in 2006 and is now available on DVD.
 
It has recently come to my notice that some footage shot by Claude in London during 1927 and subsequently remastered by the BFI is available to be seen at:
 
 
With the flickering removed it is hard to imagine just how old this footage is, better than most of our home movies of the 1950/1960's!
 
With nearly six minutes of footage it covers many locations that appear variously throughout films  listed on ReelStreets and in a few instances almost provides a retrospective "THEN" shot. Because of the popular locations included, many films can be associated with the places featured and I have related a few but I am sure those with a greater experience than I can add a better comparison, which I am happy to do if they would give me the detail. Maybe they could pen a follow-up Blog!
 

Location Featured  - Film                                         

Tower Bridge Road
Callan (1974)
Panning the Thames, Trinity House and Tower of London
Pool of London (1951) 
Going Over London Bridge 
Brothers In Law (1957)
View of Tower of London from London Bridge
Continued journey over London Bridge
Looking down Whitehall  
Rockets Galore (1958)
Whitehall and the Cenotaph
Dial 999 (1955)
Whitehall towards Trafalgar Square
Subterfuge (1968)      
Hyde Park Corner
True as a Turtle (1957)
Marble Arch
The Optimists of Nine Elms (1973)
Kensington Gardens
Carve Her Name with Pride (1958)
Peter Pan Statue
Three Hats for Lisa (1965)
Petticoat Lane
A Kid for Two Farthings (1955)
Looking over Westminster Bridge
Albert Embankment to Houses of Parliament
Street Corner (1953) 

 

 

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