ealing studios

The Classic Film Show isn’t only about Hollywood. It’s probably fair to say that we do not watch as many British films as we should so it’s great to see three obscure Ealing Studios titles being resurrected on DVD. Of the four I have only seen Pink String and Sealing Wax which I remember being enjoyably melodramatic and set in a very Victorian England.

I have a particular fondness for Ealing movies. Partly because that is where I come from – indeed the studios are ten minutes from here – but have always loved films such as The Lavender Hill Mob, The Man in the White Suit and especially The Ladykillers. 

Here is some info on the movies from the Optimum website:

San Demetrio, London (1943)

San Demetrio, London (1943)

San Demetrio, London follows the compelling true story of a crew of British seaman who in 1940 were forced to abandon ship after being torpedoed by German forces. Having been set adrift in their lifeboat for twenty four hours the crew of the San Demetrio must come to a fateful decision: to either withstand the harsh, deadly and fatal conditions of an unrelenting November Atlantic or risk re-boarding the hazardous, flaming decks of the San Demetrio with it’s highly explosive cargo of 12,000 tonnes of aviation fuel in an attempt to sail it back home to safety of the British coast.

Directed by Charles Frend (The Cruel Sea, Scott Of The Antarctic and TV shows The Man In A Suitcase and Dangerman) and written by Robert Hamer (School For Scoundrels, Kind Hearts And Coronets), San Demetrio, London is brimming with dramatic tension and is a gripping, inspiring testament to the rarely acknowledged bravery of the merchant navy during the second world war.

 

Johnny Frenchman (1945)

Johnny Frenchman (1945)

From the director of Scott Of The Antarctic, The Cruel Sea and San Demetrio, London (Charles Frend) comes the whimsical, heart warming comedy Johnny Frenchman.

Veteran theatre comedian Tom Walls plays the Harbour Master in a small Cornish fishing village whose constant run ins with a French fish poacher, played by Francoise Rosay, often leave him outwitted and sworn to revenge. To make matters worse the French poacher’s son, played by Paul Dupuis, is starting to make romantic advances towards the harbour master’s young, impressionable, beautiful blonde daughter, played by Patricia Roc. But as the threat of Nazi Germany rears its ugly head, common adversaries suddenly realise that the future of the village depends on them putting their differences aside and joining forces to fight the good fight.

Johnny Frenchman follows in the comedic traditions of the ever reliable Ealing Studios and includes a cast that features genuine Cornish villagers and actual members of The French Resistance.

Pink String and Sealing Wax (1945)

Pink String and Sealing Wax (1945)

In 1890’s Brighton the young son of a puritanical chemist longs to escape the repressive environment of his family life and the overbearing restraints of his cruel, pious father. Eventually finding refuge in a local tavern he his immediately attracted to the sordid glamour of the drinking classes and the gritty world that they inhabit. He also finds himself becoming infatuated with the tavern’s landlady, which will inadvertently lead to him being drawn into a plot to kill her abusive husband.

Directed by Robert Hamer (Kind Hearts And Coronets, San Demetrio, London and School For Scoundrels) , Pink String And Sealing Wax stars Googie Withers (The Lady Vanishes), Mervyn Johns (Dead Of Night) and Gordon Jackson (Whisky Galore, The Quatermass Experiment) in a film that cleverly entwines the dynamics of a thriller with biting social commentary and a multi-layered plot structure that contrasts the parallels of the British class system.

The Square Ring (1953)

The Square Ring (1953)

Richly comic, tensely dramatic, romantically moving – THE SQUARE RING looks beyond the stadium lights of 1950s boxing and into the lives of the men who fight for fame and fortune – and the women who fight to hold them.

Featuring an enviable British cast including Carry On stalwerts Bill Owen and Sid James (Carry On Sargeant, Carry on Nurse), and a touching performance from a young Joan Collins (Dynasty, Fear in the Night), THE SQUARE RING is an Ealing classic not to be missed.

 

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