Ealing Studios output from the 1940s and 1950s helped define what was arguably the golden age for British cinema. It fostered great directors such as Alexander Mackendrick and Robert Hamer, while giving stars such as Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers the chance to shine.
These four classic films are testament to the studio's considerable influence on film-making both in the UK and beyond.
Kind Hearts And Coronets:
Louis Mazzini's mother belongs to the aristocratic family D'Ascoyne, but she ran away with an opera singer. Therefore, the D'Ascoynes rejected her and Louis. Once adult, Louis (Dennis Price) decides to avenge his mother and him, by becoming the next Duke of the family. Murdering every potential successor - all famously played by Alec Guinness - is clearly the safest way to achieve his goal.
Passport To Pimlico:
When an unexploded WWII bomb is accidentally detonated in Pimlico, it reveals a treasure trove and documents proving that the region is in fact part of Burgundy, France, and thus foreign territory. The British Government attempts to regain control by setting up border controls and cutting off services to the area. Written by Ealing regular T.E.B. Clarke, the film was nominated by BAFTA in the Best British film category.
Based on Charles Dickens' novel, Nicholas Nickleby tells the story of the eponymous hero and his attempts to escape the clutches of his greedy moneylender Uncle Ralph by joining a troope of actors. Staying true to the dark mood of the book, Ealing stalwart Alberto Cavalcanti conjures up a triumphantly atmospheric adaptation of the literary classic featuring great performances from Cedric Hardwicke and Derek Bond, who went on to star in several other Ealing classics.
Went The Day Well?:
Based on a story by Grahame Greene, Went The Day Well? is a classic piece of propagandist entertainment, a warning to British citizens to remain ever alert for the arrival of the enemy. Alberto Cavalcanti's film tells the story of a quiet English village which has been infiltrated by German soldiers masquerading as British troops, leaving the plucky villagers to uncover the plot and fight back.
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