General Film Distributors (GFD), later known as J. Arthur Rank Film Distributors and Rank Film Distributors Ltd., was a British film distribution company based in London. It was active between 1935 and 1996, and from 1937 it was part of the Rank Organisation.
General Film Distributors was created in 1935 by the British film distributor C. M. Woolf (1879–1942) after he had resigned from Gaumont British and closed his distribution company Woolf & Freedman Film Service.
In 1936, J. Arthur Rank and the paper magnate Lord Portal,convinced him to make it a daughter company to their General Cinema Finance Corporation, which just had acquired the British distribution rights for all Universal Pictures titles (by buying a large chunk of Universal in the US). One year later it became the cornerstone in The Rank Organisation.
General Film Distributors kept its own name within the Rank Organisation until 1955, when it was renamed J. Arthur Rank Film Distributors,which in turn was renamed Rank Film Distributors Ltd. in 1957. Rank Film Distributors was acquired by Carlton Communications in 1997 and closed.
It was C.M. Woolf's secretary who devised the man-with-a-gong trademark which was adopted by the Rank Organisation when it was founded in 1937. [ better source needed ]Athletes who played the Gongman in the film sequence over the years, included boxer Bombardier Billy Wells and wrestler Ken Richmond. Also, George Francis Moss Snr played the Gongman.
During the 20 years General Film Distributors had its original name, the company distributed over 450 mainstream films.A British DVD distributor, active since 2005, uses the same name but is unrelated to this company.
John Grierson CBE was a pioneering Scottish documentary maker, often considered the father of British and Canadian documentary film. In 1926, Grierson coined the term "documentary" in a review of Robert Flaherty's Moana.
Joseph Arthur Rank, 1st Baron Rank was a British industrialist who was head and founder of the Rank Organisation.
The Rank Organisation was a British entertainment conglomerate founded by industrialist J. Arthur Rank in April 1937. It quickly became the largest and most vertically integrated film company in the United Kingdom, owning production, distribution and exhibition facilities. It also diversified into the manufacture of radios, TVs and photocopiers. The company name lasted until February 1996, when the name and some of the remaining assets were absorbed into the newly structured The Rank Group Plc. The company itself became a wholly owned subsidiary of Xerox and was renamed XRO Limited in 1997.
The Gongman is a company trademark for the J. Arthur Rank Organisation. It was used as the introduction to all Rank films, many of which were shot at their Pinewood Studios, and included those Rank distributed. The Gongman logo first appeared on films distributed by General Film Distributors, which was established in 1935 by the British producer C. M. Woolf and J. Arthur Rank; it was C.M. Woolf's secretary who thought of the man-with-a-gong trademark. When the Rank Organisation was established in 1937, with General Film Distributors as one of its cornerstones, the logo was adopted for the whole organisation.
The Rank Group is a gambling company based in the United Kingdom. Rank was involved in the cinema and motion picture industry until 2006, and continues to use the Gongman logo originally used by the Rank Organisation's film distribution subsidiary General Film Distributors. Its brands now include Mecca Bingo, and Grosvenor Casinos, the UK's largest casino operator.
Turn of the Tide (1935) is a British drama film directed by Norman Walker and starring John Garrick, Geraldine Fitzgerald and Wilfrid Lawson. It was the first feature film made by J. Arthur Rank. Lacking a distributor for his film, Rank set up his own distribution and production company which subsequently grew into his later empire.
The Incorporated Television Company (ITC), or ITC Entertainment as it was referred to in the United States, was a British company involved in production and distribution of television programmes.
Sir John Woolf and his brother James Woolf were British film producers. John and James founded the production companies Romulus Films and Remus Films, which were active during the 1950s and 1960s, and the distribution company Independent Film Distributors, which was active 1950–59 and handled the UK distribution of films such as The African Queen and Gift Horse, as well as several films made by their two production companies.
Associated British Picture Corporation (ABPC), originally British International Pictures (BIP), was a British film production, distribution and exhibition company active from 1927 until 1970 when it was absorbed into EMI. ABPC also owned approximately 500 cinemas in Britain by 1943, as well as a station on the ITV television network. The studio was partly owned by Warner Bros. from about 1940 until 1969; the American company also owned a stake in ABPC's distribution arm, Warner-Pathé, from 1958. It formed one half of a vertically integrated film industry duopoly in Britain with the Rank Organisation.
Anglo-Amalgamated Productions was a British film production company, run by Nat Cohen and Stuart Levy, which operated from 1945 until roughly 1971. Low-budget and second features, often produced at Merton Park Studios, formed much of its output. It was the UK distributor of many films produced by American International Pictures (AIP), who distributed AA's films in the United States.
Christopher Columbus is a 1949 British biographical film starring Fredric March as Christopher Columbus and Florence Eldridge as Queen Isabella. It is loosely based on the 1941 novel Columbus by Rafael Sabatini with much of the screenplay rewritten by Sydney and Muriel Box.
Edward Black was a British film producer, best known for being head of production at Gainsborough Studios in the late 1930s and early 1940s, during which time he oversaw production of the Gainsborough melodramas. He also produced such classic films as The Lady Vanishes (1938). Black has been called "one of the unsung heroes of the British film industry." In 1946 Mason called Black "the one good production executive" that J. Arthur Rank had. Frank Launder called Black "a great showman and yet he had a great feeling for scripts and spent more time on them than anyone I have ever known. His experimental films used to come off as successful as his others."
The Documentary Film Movement is the group of British filmmakers, led by John Grierson, who were influential in British film culture in the 1930s and 1940s.
Stuart Legg was a documentary filmmaker who was a leading figure in both the United Kingdom and Canada as a pioneering director, writer and producer. During his long filmmaking career, Legg's work was largely unknown, although he had won an Academy Award during the Second World War.
GFD may refer to:
The Company of Youth was an acting school for young contract players for the Rank Organisation who were being groomed for stardom. It was commonly known as the Rank Charm School.
Charles Moss Woolf was a British film distributor.
Francis Donald Klingender was a Marxist art historian and exponent of Kunstsoziologie whose uncompromising views meant that he never quite fitted into the British art history establishment.