MGM-British Studios

Last updated
MGM-British Studios
MGM-British Studios
Former namesAmalgamated Studios
General information
TypeFilm studios
AddressElstree Way, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire
CountryUnited Kingdom
Coordinates 51°39′39″N0°15′33″W / 51.6608°N 0.2592°W / 51.6608; -0.2592
Construction started1935 (1935)
Completed1937
Demolished1970 (1970)
Owner
Technical details
Floor areaOver 70,000 square feet (6,500 m2) on 7 stages

MGM-British was a subsidiary of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer initially established (as MGM London Films Denham) at Denham Film Studios in 1936. It was in limbo during the Second World War; however, following the end of hostilities, a facility was acquired in Borehamwood (one of several known as Elstree Studios), which remained in use until it was closed in 1970.

Contents

Pre-war

MGM London Films Denham Ltd was formed in 1936. [1] The films produced during the initial period at Denham Film Studios were A Yank at Oxford (1938), The Citadel (1938), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939) and Busman's Honeymoon (US: Haunted Honeymoon, 1940). The first production head was Michael Balcon. However, he left after a single film and was replaced by Victor Saville. The subsidiary was in abeyance during the war.

Meanwhile, Amalgamated Studios Ltd constructed a large studio on the north side of Elstree Way, Borehamwood, between 1935 and 1937. [2] A January 1937 deal for eight films to be made for the American studio Columbia Pictures soon collapsed. The company was unable to meet the cost of building work, and in February 1939 sold the facility to the Rank Organisation, [2] which was not interested in using the studios itself, but wanted to stop John Maxwell's rival British International Pictures (BIP) from being able to compete more effectively with Rank's recently opened Pinewood Studios. [3] During the war, the studios were leased from Rank by the Ministry of Works which used them for storage purposes. [4]

Post-war

MGM-London purchased the former Amalgamated Studios, Borehamwood, in April 1944, [5] and changed its name to MGM British Studios Ltd in 1946. [1] After improvements, the studio contained seven stages with over 70,000 square feet (7,000 m2) of floor space. MGM's Edward, My Son (1949), with Spencer Tracy and Deborah Kerr, was the first film to be produced at the studio.

Films made at the MGM-British Studios for the parent company included Ivanhoe (1952) and The Dirty Dozen (1967). Production designer Alfred Junge's castle setting for the former was to dominate the Borehamwood skyline for some years afterwards. The facilities were hired by other companies; 20th Century Fox shot the films Anastasia (1956) and The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958), for which a large set of a Chinese town, complete with artificial lakes, covering some 500,000 square feet, was constructed. [6] When Ealing Studios sold its own studios in 1956, the company moved production of their last few films to MGM-British (with their logo now reading Ealing Films rather than Ealing Studios). Lew Grade's ITC used it for filmed television series, including The Prisoner (1967–68). One of the last films shot there, MGM's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), has been cited as one of the primary causes behind the closure of the studio, owing to Stanley Kubrick's production occupying more and more of the available studio space—eventually using all of it—for almost two years.

The studio facility was in operation until 1970, one of the last productions being ITC's UFO television series. At that time, MGM made a production and distribution deal with EMI, and began to use its facility (EMI-Elstree Studios, formerly Associated British Elstree Studios) becoming MGM-EMI, an arrangement which only lasted until 1973, with MGM having a financial interest in only a few films. MGM's own Borehamwood site was cleared and redeveloped for industrial use and housing.

Selected productions

See also

Related Research Articles

Ealing Studios Television and film production company

Ealing Studios is a television and film production company and facilities provider at Ealing Green in West London. Will Barker bought the White Lodge on Ealing Green in 1902 as a base for film making, and films have been made on the site ever since. It is the oldest continuously working studio facility for film production in the world, and the current stages were opened for the use of sound in 1931.

Associated Television Former ITV service for London and the Midlands

Associated Television was the original name of the British broadcaster ATV, part of the Independent Television (ITV) network. It provided a service to London at weekends from 1955 to 1968, to the Midlands on weekdays from 1956 to 1968, and to the Midlands all week from 1968 to 1982. It was one of the "Big Four" until 1968, and the "Big Five" after 1968, that between them produced the majority of ITV networked programmes. In 1982, ATV was restructured and rebranded as Central Independent Television, under which name it continued to provide the service for the Midlands.

Borehamwood Town in southern Hertfordshire, England

Borehamwood is a town in southern Hertfordshire, England, 12 miles (19 km) from Charing Cross. Borehamwood has a population of 31,074, and is within the London commuter belt. The town's film and TV studios are commonly known as Elstree Studios.

Elstree Studios 8 separate film and TV studios in Borehamwood, England

Elstree Studios is a generic term which can refer to several current and demolished British film studios and television studios based in or around the town of Borehamwood and village of Elstree in Hertfordshire. Production studios have been located in the area since 1914 when film production began there. Two sites remain in use in Borehamwood: Elstree Studios on Shenley Road and the BBC Elstree Centre on Eldon Avenue.

<i>Quatermass and the Pit</i> (film) 1967 British science fiction horror film by Roy Ward Baker

Quatermass and the Pit is a 1967 British science fiction horror film from Hammer Film Productions, a sequel to the earlier Hammer films The Quatermass Xperiment and Quatermass 2. Like its predecessors it is based on a BBC Television serial, in this case Quatermass and the Pit, written by Nigel Kneale. It was directed by Roy Ward Baker and stars Andrew Keir in the title role as Professor Bernard Quatermass, replacing Brian Donlevy, who played the role in the two earlier films. James Donald, Barbara Shelley and Julian Glover appear in co-starring roles.

Seven Arts Productions

Seven Arts Productions was a production company which made films for release by other studios. It was founded in 1957 by Eliot Hyman, Ray Stark, and Norman Katz.

Associated British Picture Corporation Film production company

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.

Gate Studios Part of Elstree Studios

Gate Studios was one of the many studios known collectively as Elstree Studios in the town of Borehamwood, England. Opened in 1928, the studios were in use until the early 1950s. The studios had previously been known as Whitehall Studios, Consolidated Studios, J.H. Studios and M.P. Studios.

Martin Benson (actor) English character actor (1918–2010)

Martin Benjamin Benson was a British character actor who appeared in films, theatre and television. He appeared in both British and Hollywood productions.

BBC Elstree Centre TV studios in Hertfordshire, England

The BBC Elstree Centre, sometimes referred to as the BBC Elstree Studios, is a television production facility, currently owned by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The complex is located between Eldon Avenue and Clarendon Road in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, England.

British and Dominions Imperial Studios Former film studios in Elstree, England

Imperial Studios were the studios of the British and Dominions Film Corporation, a short-lived British film production company located at Imperial Place, Elstree Way, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire. The studios were active from 1929 to 1936, when they were destroyed by fire.

The Danzigers

Edward J. Danziger (1909–1999) and Harry Lee Danziger (1913–2005) were American-born brothers who produced many British films and TV shows in the 1950s and 1960s.

Elstree Studios (Shenley Road) Film and TV production facility in England

Elstree Studios on Shenley Road, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire is a British film and television production centre operated by Elstree Film Studios Limited. One of several facilities historically referred to as Elstree Studios, the Shenley Road studios originally opened in 1925.

This is a timeline of the history of the former British television broadcaster ATV. It provided the ITV service for London at weekends and the Midlands on weekdays from 1955 to 1968, and for the Midlands all week from 1968 to 1982.

New Elstree Studios was a British film studio complex that was the main production centre for the Danziger Brothers from 1956 to 1962, and was one of several sites collectively known as "Elstree Studios". 60 B-movies and 350 half-hour TV episodes were filmed there, for both British and American markets.

Frank Clarke (1915–2002) was a British film editor. He worked for many years for the British branch of MGM at Elstree Studios.

References

  1. 1 2 Ricks, Steven. "Studio Days". The Tally Ho. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  2. 1 2 Wood, Linda (2009) [1st pub. 1986]. British Films 1927 - 1939 (PDF). London: BFI Library Services. p. 32. Retrieved 21 January 2022.
  3. Warren, Patricia (2001). British Film Studios: An Illustrated History. London: B.T. Batsford. p. 82.
  4. Warren, p. 83
  5. "MGM Buy Film Studios at Elstree". The Manchester Guardian . April 18, 1944. p. 5.
  6. Warren, p.85