Ideal Film Company

Last updated

Ideal Film Company
Type Production company
Distribution company
Industry Film production
Film distribution
FounderHarry Moses Rowson
Simon Rowson
Number of locations
Parent Gaumont British (1927-1934)

The Ideal Film Company (often known as Ideal Films or simply Ideal) was a British film production and distribution company that operated between 1911 and 1934.


The company, based in Soho, London, was started by the two Jewish brothers Harry Moses (1875-17 August 1951) and Simon (1877-26 June 1950) Rowson (born Rosenbaum). They were born in Manchester, where their father, an immigrant from Suwałki in Congress Poland, worked as a butcher. [1]

After having begun as a pure distribution company in 1911, Ideal also began producing films in 1916. In 1917, the company acquired the first of the Elstree Studios in Borehamwood from the Neptune Film Company. During the silent era, the Ideal Film Company became one of the leading British production companies, benefiting from the post-First World War boom in films. [1] However the company was badly hit by the Slump of 1924, and stopped its production, while the distribution arm continued. In 1927 the company was merged into the Gaumont British empire, where it continued to distribute under its own name until 1934.

During its 23 years, the company distributed almost 400 films and produced more than 80. Most of the films produced by the company are now considered lost, but a number still survive. Perhaps the company's best known film is The Life Story of David Lloyd George , a 1918 biopic of the British prime minister David Lloyd George, directed by Maurice Elvey.

Simon Rowson went on to become an adviser to the government on British film, and was the first president of the British Kinematograph Society (1931-1938). [1] His son, Leslie Rowson, became a renowned British cinematographer.

Selected list of films produced

Related Research Articles

Goldwyn Pictures Former American motion picture production company

Goldwyn Pictures Corporation was an American motion picture production company that operated from 1916 to 1924 when it was merged with two other production companies to form the major studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was founded on November 19, 1916, by Samuel Goldwyn, an executive at Lasky's Feature Play Company, and Broadway producer brothers Edgar and Archibald Selwyn, using an amalgamation of both last names to name the company.

Frank Lloyd British film director

Frank William George Lloyd was a British-born American film director, actor, scriptwriter, and producer. He was among the founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and was its president from 1934 to 1935.

Alan Crosland American actor and film director

Alan Crosland was an American stage actor and film director. He is noted for having directed the first film using spoken dialogue, The Jazz Singer (1927).

Richard Oswald Austrian film director

Richard Oswald was an Austrian director, producer, screenwriter, and father of German-American film director Gerd Oswald.

David Powell (actor) Scottish actor

David Powell was a Scottish stage and later film actor of the silent era.

George Berthold Samuelson was a director and film producer.

Billy West (silent film actor) American actor

Billy West was a film actor, producer, and director. Active during the silent film era, he is best known as a semi-successful Charlie Chaplin impersonator. Beyond acting, he also directed shorts in the 1910s and 20s, as well as produced films. West ultimately retired in 1935.

Kate Lester British actress

Kate Lester was an American theatrical and silent film actress. Her family, the Suydams of New York, were staying in Britain at the time of her birth.

Werner Krauss German actor

Werner Johannes Krauss was a German stage and film actor. Krauss dominated the German stage of the early 20th century. However, his participation in the antisemitic propaganda film Jud Süß and his collaboration with the Nazis made him a controversial figure.

Lloyd Ingraham American actor and director

Lloyd Chauncey Ingraham was an American film actor and director.

Maurice Elvey was one of the most prolific film directors in British history. He directed nearly 200 films between 1913 and 1957. During the silent film era he directed as many as twenty films per year. He also produced more than fifty films - his own as well as films directed by others.

Alec B. Francis English actor

Alec B. Francis was an English actor, largely of the silent era. He appeared in more than 240 films between 1911 and 1934.

Eliot Stannard English screenwriter

Eliot Stannard was an English screenwriter and director. He was the son of civil engineer Arthur Stannard and Yorkshire-born novelist Henrietta Eliza Vaughan Palmer. Stannard wrote the screenplay for more than 80 films between 1914 and 1933, including eight films directed by Alfred Hitchcock. He also directed five films. During the early 1920s, he worked on most of the screenplays for the Ideal Film Company, one of Britain's leading silent film studios.

Pathé Exchange Former film production and distribution company

Pathé Exchange was an independent American film production and distribution company from 1921 through 1927 after being established in 1904 as an American subdivision of French firm Pathé.

Charles Hutchison American actor

Charles Hutchison was an American film actor, director and screenwriter. He appeared in more than 40 films between 1914 and 1944. He also directed 33 films between 1915 and 1938. Though he directed numerous independent silent features, he is best remembered today as Pathé's leading male serial star from 1918 to 1922. In 1923 he went to Britain and made two films Hutch Stirs 'em Up and Hurricane Hutch in Many Adventures for the Ideal Film Company. He made one last serial in 1926, Lightning Hutch, for distribution by the Arrow Film Corporation. It was meant to be a comeback vehicle, but the production company went into bankruptcy just as it was released.

Percy Marmont English actor

Percy Marmont was an English film actor.

The Life Story of David Lloyd George is a 1918 British silent biopic film directed by Maurice Elvey and starring Norman Page, Alma Reville and Ernest Thesiger. The film "is thought to be the first feature length biopic of a contemporary living politician". Finished in 1918, it was not shown publicly until 1996.

Hepworth Picture Plays was a British film production company active during the silent era. Founded in 1897 by the cinema pioneer Cecil Hepworth, it was based at Walton Studios west of London.

Selznick Pictures American film company

Selznick Pictures was an American film production company active between 1916 and 1923 during the silent era.

Arrow Film Corporation was an American film production and distribution company during the silent era from 1915 to 1926. An independent company it operated alongside the established studios. Originally formed to supply films for Pathé Exchange, the company quickly separated and concentrated on a mixture of medium and low-budget productions. The company was sometimes referred to as Arrow Pictures.