The Dam Busters (film)
The Dam Busters is a 1955 British epic war film starring Michael Redgrave and Richard Todd. It was directed by Michael Anderson; the film recreates the true story of Operation Chastise when in 1943 the RAF's 617 Squadron attacked the Möhne and Sorpe dams in Nazi Germany with Barnes Wallis's bouncing bomb. The film was based on the books The Dam Busters by Paul Brickhill and Enemy Coast Ahead by Guy Gibson; the film's reflective last minutes convey the poignant mix of emotions felt by the characters – triumph over striking a successful blow against the enemy's industrial base is tempered by the sobering knowledge that many died in the process of delivering it. The film was admired and became the most popular motion picture at British cinemas in 1955. In 1999, the British Film Institute voted The Dam Busters the 68th greatest British film of the 20th century, its depiction of the raid, along with a similar sequence in the film 633 Squadron, provided the inspiration for the Death Star trench run in Star Wars: A New Hope.
A remake has been in development since 2008, but has yet to be produced as of 2019. In the early years of the Second World War, aeronautical engineer Barnes Wallis is struggling to develop a means of attacking Germany's dams in the hope of crippling German heavy industry. Working for the Ministry of Aircraft Production, as well as his own job at Vickers, he works feverishly to make practical his theory of a bouncing bomb which would skip over the water to avoid protective torpedo nets; when it hit the dam, backspin would make it sink whilst retaining contact with the wall, making the explosion far more destructive. Wallis calculates that the aircraft will have to fly low to enable the bombs to skip over the water but when he takes his conclusions to the Ministry, he is told that lack of production capacity means they cannot go ahead with his proposals. Angry and frustrated, Wallis secures an interview with Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris, the head of RAF Bomber Command, who at first is reluctant to take the idea seriously.
However, he is convinced and takes the idea to the Prime Minister, who authorises the project. Bomber Command forms a special squadron of Lancaster bombers, 617 Squadron, to be commanded by Wing Commander Guy Gibson, tasked to fly the mission, he recruits experienced crews those with low-altitude flight experience. While they train for the mission, Wallis continues his development of the bomb but has problems, such as the bomb breaking apart upon hitting the water; this requires the drop altitude to be reduced to 60 feet. With only a few weeks to go, he succeeds in fixing the problems and the mission can go ahead; the bombers attack the dams. Eight Lancasters and their crews are lost, but two dams are breached and the overall mission succeeds. In credits order. Following the success of the book The Dam Busters, Robert Clark the head of production at Associated British Picture Corporation approached its author Paul Brickhill about acquiring the film rights as a vehicle for Richard Todd; the company's production manager was, however, of the opinion that, due to its numerous personnel and raids, it would not be able to film the book in its entirety.
As a result, Clark requested that Brickhill provide a film treatment which described his vision for the film. Brickhill agree to do it without payment in the hope of selling the film rights. To assist him, Clark teamed him up with Walter Mycroft, the company's director of production. Brickhill decided to concentrate the film treatment on Operation Chastise and ignore the raids. After the Air Ministry agreed to make available four Lancaster bombers at a cheap price which helped make the production viable, Associated British decided to proceed with the film and agreed with Brickhill on the film rights in December 1952 for what is believed to have been ₤5,000. After considering C. S. Forester, Terence Rattigan, as well as Emlyn Williams and Leslie Arliss, R. C. Sherriff was selected as the screenwriter with planned August delivery of the screenplay. Sherriff agreed with Brickhill's opinion that the film needed to concentrate on Operation Chastise and exclude the operations covered in the book. In preparation for writing the script, Sherriff met with Barnes Wallis at his home returning accompanied by Brickhill, Walter Mycroft and production supervisor W.
A. "Bill" Whittaker on 22 March 1952 to witness Wallis demonstrating his original home experiment. To Wallis's embarrassment he couldn't get it to work, no matter. Just prior to the film's scheduled release, Guy Gibson's widow Eve took legal action to prevent it, Brickhill and Clark were mired in months of wrangling with her until references to her husband's book Enemy Coast Ahead were included; the flight sequences of the film were shot using real Avro Lancaster bombers supplied by the RAF. The aircraft, four of the final production B. VIIs, had to be taken out of storage and specially modified by removing the mid-upper gun turrets to mimic 617 Squadron's special aircraft, cost £130 per hour to run, which amounted to a tenth of the film's costs. A number of Avro Lincoln bombers were used as "set dressing"; the Upper Derwent Valley in Derbyshire doubled as the Ruhr valley for the film. The scene where the Dutch coast is crossed was filmed between Boston and King's Lynn and other coastal scenes near Skegness.
Additional aerial footage was shot above Windermere, in the Lake District
Cinema of the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom has had a significant film industry for over a century. While film production reached an all-time high in 1936, the "golden age" of British cinema is thought to have occurred in the 1940s, during which the directors David Lean, Michael Powell, Carol Reed produced their most acclaimed work. Many British actors have achieved worldwide fame and critical success, such as Maggie Smith, Roger Moore, Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Daniel Day-Lewis, Gary Oldman, Kate Winslet; some of the films with the largest box office returns have been made in the United Kingdom, including the third and fourth highest-grossing film series. The identity of the British industry as it relates to Hollywood, has been the subject of debate, its history has been affected by attempts to compete with the American industry. The career of the producer Alexander Korda was marked by this objective, the Rank Organisation attempted to do so in the 1940s, Goldcrest in the 1980s. Numerous British-born directors, including Alfred Hitchcock and Ridley Scott, performers, such as Charlie Chaplin and Cary Grant, have achieved success through their work in the United States.
In 2009, British films grossed around $2 billion worldwide and achieved a market share of around 7% globally and 17% in the United Kingdom. UK box-office takings totalled £ 1.1 billion with 172.5 million admissions. The British Film Institute has produced a poll ranking what they consider to be the 100 greatest British films of all time, the BFI Top 100 British films; the annual BAFTA awards hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts are considered to be the British equivalent of the Academy Awards. The first moving picture was shot in Leeds by Louis Le Prince in 1888 and the first moving pictures developed on celluloid film were made in Hyde Park, London in 1889 by British inventor William Friese Greene, who patented the process in 1890; the first people to build and run a working 35 mm camera in Britain were Robert W. Paul and Birt Acres, they made the first British film Incident at Clovelly Cottage in February 1895, shortly before falling out over the camera's patent. Soon several British film companies had opened to meet the demand for new films, such as Mitchell and Kenyon in Blackburn.
Although the earliest British films were of everyday events, the early 20th century saw the appearance of narrative shorts comedies and melodramas. The early films were melodramatic in tone, there was a distinct preference for story lines known to the audience, in particular, adaptations of Shakespeare plays and Dickens novels; the Lumière brothers first brought their show to London in 1896. In 1898 American producer Charles Urban expanded the London-based Warwick Trading Company to produce British films documentary and news. In 1898 Gaumont-British Picture Corp. was founded as a subsidiary of the French Gaumont Film Company, constructing Lime Grove Studios in West London in 1915 in the first building built in Britain for film production. In 1898 Hepworth Studios was founded in Lambeth, South London by Cecil Hepworth, the Bamforths began producing films in Yorkshire, William Haggar began producing films in Wales. In 1902 Ealing Studios was founded by Will Barker, becoming the oldest continuously-operating film studio in the world.
In 1902 the earliest colour film in the world was made. In 2012 it was found by the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford after lying forgotten in an old tin for 110 years; the previous title for earliest colour film, using Urban's inferior Kinemacolor process, was thought to date from 1909. The re-discovered films were made by pioneer Edward Raymond Turner from London who patented his process on 22 March 1899. In 1903 Urban formed the Charles Urban Trading Company, which produced early colour films using his patented Kinemacolor process; this was challenged in court by Greene, causing the company to go out of business in 1915. In 1903 Frank Mottershaw of Sheffield produced the film A Daring Daylight Robbery, which launched the chase genre. In 1911 the Ideal Film Company was founded in Soho, distributing 400 films by 1934, producing 80. In 1913 stage director Maurice Elvey began directing British films, becoming Britain's most prolific film director, with 200 by 1957. In 1914 Elstree Studios was founded, acquired in 1928 by German-born Ludwig Blattner, who invented a magnetic steel tape recording system, adopted by the BBC in 1930.
In 1920 Gaumont opened Islington Studios, where Alfred Hitchcock got his start, selling out to Gainsborough Pictures in 1927. In 1920 Cricklewood Studios was founded by Sir Oswald Stoll, becoming Britain's largest film studio, known for Fu Manchu and Sherlock Holmes film series. In 1920 the short-lived company Minerva Films was founded in London by the actor Leslie Howard and his friend and story editor Adrian Brunel; some of their early films include four written by A. A. Milne including The Bump, starring C. Aubrey Smith. By the mid-1920s the British film industry was losing out to heavy competition from the United States, helped by its much larger home market – in 1914 25% of films shown in the UK were British, but by 1926 this had fallen to 5%; the Slump of 1924 caused many British film studios to close, resulting in the passage of the Cinematograph Films Act 1927 to boost local production, requiring that cinemas show a certain percentage of British films. The act was technically a success, with audiences for British films becoming larger than the quota required, but it had the effect of creating a marke
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
Culture of the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom's culture is influenced by its history as a developed state, a liberal democracy and a great power. To a lesser extent the culture of Greece has somewhat influenced British culture via Humanism. British literature, cinema, theatre, media, philosophy and education are important aspects of British culture; the United Kingdom is prominent in science and technology, producing world-leading scientists and inventions. Sport is an important part of British culture; the UK has been described as a "cultural superpower", London has been described as a world cultural capital. A global opinion poll for the BBC saw the UK ranked the third most positively viewed nation in the world in 2013 and 2014; the Industrial Revolution, which started in the UK, had a profound effect on the family socio-economic and cultural conditions of the world. As a result of the British Empire, significant British influence can be observed in the language, law and institutions of a geographically wide assortment of countries, including Australia, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, the United States and other English speaking nations.
These states are sometimes collectively known as the Anglosphere, are among Britain's closest allies. In turn the empire influenced British culture British cuisine; the cultures of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland are diverse and have varying degrees of overlap and distinctiveness. First spoken in early medieval England, the English language is the de facto official language of the UK, is spoken monolingually by an estimated 95% of the British population. Individual countries within the UK have frameworks for the promotion of their indigenous languages. In Wales, all pupils at state schools must either be taught through the medium of Welsh or study it as an additional language until age 16, the Welsh Language Act 1993 and the Government of Wales Act 1998 provide that the Welsh and English languages should be treated in the public sector, so far as is reasonable and practicable. Irish and Ulster Scots enjoy limited use alongside English in Northern Ireland in publicly commissioned translations.
The Gaelic Language Act, passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2005, recognised Gaelic as an official language of Scotland, commanding equal respect with English, required the creation of a national plan for Gaelic to provide strategic direction for the development of the Gaelic language. A 2010 poll among Scots saw a majority view Scots as a dialect of English and not a separate language; the Cornish language is a revived language that became extinct as a first language in Cornwall in the late 18th century. Under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, the UK Government has committed to the promotion of certain linguistic traditions; the United Kingdom has ratified the charter for: Welsh, Scottish Gaelic and Scots and Irish and Ulster Scots. British Sign Language is a recognised language. Owing to its long history and regional accents vary amongst the four countries of the United Kingdom, as well as within the countries themselves; some nearby cities have different dialects and accents, such as Scousers from Liverpool and Mancunians from Manchester, which are separated by just 35 miles.
Notable Scouse speakers include John Lennon and Paul McCartney of The Beatles, while Mancunians include Liam and Noel Gallagher from Oasis. The Cockney accent is traditionally spoken by working-class Londoners. Michael Caine is a notable exponent, as is Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion, whose dialect includes words that are common among working-class Londoners, such as ain't: "I ain't done nothing wrong", said Doolittle. Received Pronunciation is the accent of standard English in the UK, with speakers including the British Royal Family. Brummie is the dialect of natives of Birmingham in the West Midlands of England: notable Brummies include rock musicians Ozzy Osbourne, Jeff Lynne, Rob Halford. Geordie is the dialect of people from Tyneside in northeast England: musicians Brian Johnson, Mark Knopfler and Sting are Geordies. Ant & Dec are notable television presenters with Geordie accents. Notable exponents of Scottish accents include Sean Connery, comedian Billy Connolly, The Proclaimers; the West Country accent from southwest England is identified in film as "pirate speech" – cartoon-like "Ooh arr, me'earties!
Sploice the mainbrace!" Talk is similar, while famous pirates hailed from this region, including Blackbeard. Well-known exponents include actor/producer Stephen Merchant, musician Tricky, journalist/writer Julie Burchill; the Northern Irish accent includes golfer Rory McIlroy and actor Liam Neeson the actor Daniel Day-Lewis adopts a strong Northern Irish accent in In the Name of the Father. The actor Russell Brand has a strong Essex accent, actor Sean Bean is known for his distinctive Yorkshire accent, the comedian Eric Morecambe possessed a Lancashire accent
Richard Andrew Palethorpe Todd was an Irish born English actor. He received a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Male, as well as an Academy Award for Best Actor nomination and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor nomination for his role in the film The Hasty Heart. Richard Todd was born as Richard Andrew Palethorpe-Todd in Ireland, his father, Andrew William Palethorpe Todd, was an Irish physician and an international Irish rugby player who gained three caps for his country. Richard spent a few of his childhood years in India, where his father, an officer in the British Army, served as a physician, his family moved to Devon and Todd attended Shrewsbury School. Upon leaving school, Todd trained for a potential military career at Sandhurst before beginning his acting training at the Italia Conti Academy in London; this change in career led to estrangement from his mother. When he learned at age 19 that she had committed suicide, he did not grieve long for her, he admitted in life, he first appeared professionally as an actor at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park in 1936 in a production of Twelfth Night.
He played in regional theatres and co-founded the Dundee Repertory Theatre in Scotland in 1939. He appeared as an extra in British films like Good Morning, Boys, A Yank at Oxford and Old Bones of the River. At the beginning of World War 2, Todd joined the British Army, receiving a commission in 1941, he served in the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry before joining the Parachute Regiment and the 7th Parachute Battalion as part of the British 6th Airborne Division. On 6 June 1944, as a captain, he participated in Operation Tonga during the D-Day landings, he was among the first British soldiers to land in Normandy as part of Operation Overlord. His battalion parachuted in after glider-borne forces had landed to capture the Pegasus Bridge near Caen. During the operation he met John Howard on the bridge and organized the repulse of several counter-attacks by the Wehrmacht forces holding the area. After the war, Todd was unsure, his former agent, Robert Lennard, had become a casting agent for Associated British Picture Corporation and advised him to try out for the Dundee Repertory Company.
Todd did so, where he appeared with Claudia Grant-Bogle. Lennard arranged for a screen test and Associated British offered him a long-term contract in 1948, he was directed by Alberto Cavalcanti. The film was a minor hit and Todd's career was launched. Todd had appeared in the Dundee Repertory stage version of John Patrick's play The Hasty Heart, portraying the role of Yank and was subsequently chosen to appear in the 1948 London stage version of the play, this time in the leading role of Cpl. Lachlan McLachlan; this led to his being cast in that role in the Warner Bros. film adaptation of the play, filmed in Britain alongside Ronald Reagan and Patricia Neal. Todd was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for the role in 1949, he was voted favourite British male film star in Britain's National Film Awards. The film was the tenth most popular movie at the British box office in 1949. Todd was now much in demand, he was lent out to a new company, Constellation Films, to appear in a thriller, The Interrupted Journey.
Alfred Hitchcock used him in Stage Fright, opposite Marlene Dietrich and Jane Wyman – Hitchcock's first British film located in Britain since 1939. Associated British put him in a drama, Portrait of Clare, which did not perform well at the box office. Neither did Blood, for London Films, in which Todd had a dual role. Director King Vidor offered Todd a lead in a Hollywood movie, Lightning Strikes Twice. Far more popular was The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men, in which Todd played the title role for the Disney Corporation. Associated British put him in 24 Hours of a Woman's Life, with Merle Oberon; the Rank Organisation borrowed him for Venetian Bird, directed by Ralph Thomas. Disney reunited the Robin Hood team in The Sword and the Rose, with Todd as Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk, it performed well in Europe. The same went for Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue, in which Todd played the title role. Disney pulled back on making costume films as a result. In 1953, he appeared as Heathcliff.
Nigel Kneale, responsible for the adaptation, said the production came about purely because Todd had turned up at the BBC and told them that he would like to play Heathcliff for them. Kneale had to write the script in only a week. Todd's career received a boost when 20th Century-Fox signed him to a non-exclusive contract and cast him as the United States Senate Chaplain Peter Marshall in the film version of Catherine Marshall's best selling biography, A Man Called Peter, a popular success. More popular was The Dam Busters in which Todd played Wing Commander Guy Gibson; this was the most successful film at the British box office in 1955 and which would become the defining role of Todd's movie career. 20th Century Fox offered Todd another historical picture, The Virgin Queen, playing Sir Walter Raleigh opposite Bette Davis' Queen Elizabeth I. It do not do as well as Peter. In France he played Axel Fersen opposite Michèle Morgan in Marie Antoinette Queen of France, popular in France but
The Gaumont-British Picture Corporation was a company that produced and distributed films and operated a cinema chain in the United Kingdom. Gaumont-British was founded in 1898 as the British subsidiary of the French Gaumont Film Company, it became independent of its French parent in 1922 when Isidore Ostrer acquired control of Gaumont-British. In 1927 a leading silent film maker, the Ideal Film Company, merged with Gaumont; the company's Lime Grove Studios made films including Alfred Hitchcock's adaptation of The 39 Steps, while its Islington Studios made Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes. In the 1930s the company employed 16,000 people. In the United States, Gaumont-British had its own distribution operation for its films until December 1938, when it outsourced distribution to 20th Century Fox. In 1941 the Rank Organisation bought its sister company Gainsborough Pictures. Gaumont-British developed or acquired large "super-cinemas" such as the New Victoria in Bradford opened in 1930, the Gaumont in Manchester opened in 1935, the Gaumont State Cinema in Kilburn, opened in 1937.
They took over many smaller cinemas across the country owning 343 properties. One such property was the Holderness Hall in Hull, built by the pioneering William Morton in 1912 and managed by him until 1930 when he could no longer compete. Many of the Gaumont cinemas had a theatre organ for entertainment before the show, in the intervals, or after the show; the name "Gaumont" was adopted to describe the style of the flat-top organ console case, for some Compton organs built from October 1931 to 1934. Cinema exhibition in the UK was characterised by alignments between distributors. After the Odeon and Gaumont takeovers, Rank had access to the product of 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney, Universal, United Artists and its own film productions. Rivals ABC had only MGM and its own ABPC productions. With ample supply of product, Rank maintained the separate Odeon and Gaumont release pattern for many years; some Odeon cinemas were renamed Gaumont. As attendances declined during the 1950s many cinemas on all circuits were closed and the booking power of the Gaumont circuit declined.
In January 1959 Rank restructured its exhibition operation and combined the best Gaumonts and the best Odeons in a new Rank release, while the rest were given a new "National" release. In 1961, Paramount objected to Rank consigning its Dean Martin comedy All in a Night's Work to the national circuit and henceforth switched its allegiance to the ABC circuit. With the continuing decline in attendances and cinema numbers, the National release died on its feet and henceforth there were two release patterns, Rank and ABC. There was no reason to perpetuate the Gaumont name and in towns that lost their Odeon, the Gaumont was renamed Odeon within a couple of years of the latter's closure. So, the Gaumont name continued to linger until, in January 1987, the last Gaumont, in Doncaster, was renamed Odeon. A subsidiary of Gaumont British – G. B. Equipments Ltd made a number of 16 mm film sound projectors in Britain before and during World War II, including models such as the G. B.-Scope A and B, Grosvenor and G.
B. K and L series. After WW II G. B. Equipments Ltd decided not to manufacture models of their own – instead they began to manufacture, under license, models of American design by Bell & Howell; these models, branded as either G. B.-Bell & Howell or Bell & Howell-Gamount in Great Britain, were identical to the American models except in model number. During the 1950s G. B.-Bell & Howell either manufactured, or distributed, a number of 8 mm and 16 mm cine-cameras and projectors. In 1888 Abram Kershaw established a business in Leeds making photographic items, including lanterns and projection equipment. Kershaw produced cinema projectors under the Kalee trade name from the 1910s; the company became part of Amalgamated Photographic Manufacturers, forming the Kershaw-Soho Ltd group. The brand Kalee continued to be used until the Kershaw group was acquired by Gaumont British to become G. B.-Kalee Ltd. Both GB-Kershaw and GB-Kalee were used as brand names for a range of 8 mm and 16 mm cine-cameras, movie projectors, slide projectors and still cameras.
G. B.-Kalee was the distributor in the United Kingdom for the 16 mm and 35 mm Arriflex cinema camera as well as a range of professional cinema projectors and sound equipment under the brand name Gaumont-Kalee. List of Gainsborough Pictures films Gaumont-British Picture Corporation Limited Documents and clippings about Gaumont-British in the 20th Century Press Archives of the German National Library of Economics
Blackmail (1929 film)
Blackmail is a 1929 British thriller drama film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Anny Ondra, John Longden, Cyril Ritchard. Based on the 1928 play of the same name by Charles Bennett, the film is about a London woman, blackmailed after killing a man who tries to rape her. After starting production as a silent film, British International Pictures decided to adapt Blackmail into a separate sound film, it became the first successful European talkie. Both versions are held in the British Film Institute collection. Blackmail is cited as the first British sound feature film. Voted the best British film of 1929 in a UK poll the year it was released, in 2017 a poll of 150 actors, writers and critics for Time Out magazine ranked Blackmail as the 59th best British film ever. On 26 April 1929, Scotland Yard Detective Frank Webber escorts his girlfriend Alice White to a tea house, they have an argument and Frank storms out. While reconsidering his action, he sees Alice leave with Mr. Crewe, an artist she had earlier agreed to meet.
Crewe persuades a reluctant Alice into coming up to see his studio. She admires a painting of a laughing clown, uses his palette and brushes to paint a cartoonish drawing of a face, he gives her a dancer's outfit and Crewe sings and plays "Miss Up-to-Date" on the piano. Crewe steals a kiss, to Alice's disgust, but as she is changing and preparing to leave, he takes her dress from the changing area, he attempts to rape her. In desperation, Alice kills him, she angrily tears a hole in the painting of the clown leaves after attempting to remove any evidence of her presence in the flat, but accidentally leaves her gloves behind. She walks the streets of London all night in a daze; when the body is found, Frank finds one of Alice's gloves. He recognizes the dead man, but conceals this from his superior. Taking the glove, he goes to see Alice at her father's tobacco shop, but she is too distraught to speak; as they speak in the shop's telephone booth, arrives. He had seen Alice go up to Crewe's flat, he has the other glove.
When he sees Frank with the other one, he attempts to blackmail them. His first demands are petty ones, they accede. Frank learns by phone that Tracy is wanted for questioning: he was seen near the scene and has a criminal record. Frank tells Tracy he will pay for the murder. Alice is apprehensive, but still does not speak up; the tension mounts. When the police arrive, Tracy's nerve breaks and he flees; the chase leads to the British Museum, where he clambers onto the domed roof of the Reading Room and slips, crashing through a skylight and falling to his death inside. The police assume. Unaware of this, Alice feels compelled to give herself up and goes to see the Chief Inspector at New Scotland Yard. Before she can confess to him, the inspector receives a telephone call and asks Frank to deal with Alice, she tells Frank the truth—that it was self-defense against an attack she cannot bear to speak of—and they leave together. As they do, a policeman walks past, carrying the damaged painting of the laughing clown and the cartoon canvas where Alice painted over her name.
The film began production as a silent film. To cash in on the new popularity of talkies, the film's producer, John Maxwell of British International Pictures, gave Hitchcock the go-ahead to film a portion of the movie in sound. Hitchcock thought the idea absurd and surreptitiously filmed the entire feature in sound, along with a silent version for theatres not yet equipped for talking pictures. Blackmail, marketed as one of Britain's earliest "all-talkie" feature films, was recorded in the RCA Photophone sound-on-film process; the film was shot at British and Dominions Imperial Studios soundstage in Borehamwood, the first purpose-built sound studio in Europe. Lead actress Anny Ondra was raised in Prague and had a pronounced Czech accent, felt unsuitable for the film. Sound was in its infancy at the time and it wasn't possible to post-dub Ondra's voice. Rather than replace her and reshoot her scenes, actress Joan Barry was hired to speak the dialogue off-camera while Ondra lip-synched her lines.
This makes Ondra's performance seem awkward. Hitchcock used several elements that would become Hitchcock "trademarks" including a beautiful blonde in peril and a famous landmark in the finale. Without informing the producers, Hitchcock used the Schüfftan process to film the scenes in the Reading Room of the British Museum since the light levels were too low for normal filming; the film was a commercial hit. The sound was praised as inventive. A completed silent version of Blackmail was released in 1929 shortly after the talkie version hit theaters; the silent version of Blackmail ran longer in theaters and proved more popular because most theaters in Britain were not yet equipped for sound. Despite the popularity of the silent version, history best remembers the landmark talkie version of Blackmail, it is the version now available although some critics consider the silent version superior. Alfred Hitchcock