British Film Studios: An Illustrated History

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British Film Studios: An Illustrated History by Patricia Warren Batsford/Trafalgar Square, 192pps., paper, $27.50

Patricia Warren, British actress and TV producer, covers a lot of territory in telling the history of all the movie studios in England, past and present. She does it very well, too. In view of the financial ups and downs that have plagued filmmakers in Britain since Westminster Studio opened in 1897, it may come as a surprise to learn that close to 100 different studios have existed in and around London during the past century. Sadly, only a few remain.

British movies have taken a bad rap over the years, not only from us Yanks, but even from English audiences, who acquired a taste for American movies. It's a bloody shame, because so much prime stuff has come from the U.K. Off the top of the head one might mention The Private Life of Henry VIII, Thief of Baghdad, Hamlet, The Red Shoes, 30 Alfred Hitchcock pictures, the Ealing comedies, In Which We Serve, the best Dickens adaptations, The Third Man, the James Bond films, The Queen of Spades, the Hammer thrillers, Lawrence of Arabia, and hundreds more that have enriched our film heritage. …