Coordinates: 51°35′04″N 0°29′56″W / 51.584569°N
0.498902°W / 51.584569; -0.498902
Denham Film Studios, circa 1938
Denham Film Studios
Denham Film Studios were a British film production studio operating
from 1936 to 1952. Founded by Alexander Korda, notable films made at
Brief Encounter and David Lean's Great Expectations.
From the 1950s to the 1970s the studio became best known for recording
film music, including the scores for Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo,
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Star Wars.
The studio buildings were demolished in 1981 and the site
re-landscaped as a business park, as of 2017 it has been turned over
to luxury flats.
2 Selected films
4 External links
The studios were founded by
Alexander Korda in 1935, on a 165-acre
(668,000 m²) site known as 'The Fisheries' near the village of
Denham, Buckinghamshire, and designed by architects
Walter Gropius and
Maxwell Fry. At the time it was the largest facility of its kind in
the UK. In 1937, Queen Mary visited the studios while The Drum was
being filmed. In 1946, ‘Stage One Music Theatre’ opened.
Designed by sound recordist and engineer Cyril Crowhurst, the stage
could accommodate 120 performers.
The studios were known by various names during their lifetime
including London Film Studios, the home of Korda's London Films. It
was merged with the Rank Organisation's
Pinewood Studios to form
D&P Studios; Pinewood is just 4 miles south of Denham. Film
makers were said to prefer Denham as a location, leading to Pinewood
Studios being used for storage during the Second World War.
Unpublished Story being filmed at Denham in 1941
Some of the notable films made at Denham include, The Thief of Bagdad,
49th Parallel, Brief Encounter, Great Expectations, Hamlet. Bernard
Miles said that "when the technicians, the electricians and carpenters
and so on, on the floor, who had been watching a scene filmed,
applauded, you knew it was good, because they'd seen the best."
Colin Sorensen, who as a schoolboy often watched the work going on at
Denham recalled the sight "of the main studio buildings, a great mass
of, probably asbestos, grey-green roofs" and the smell of "cellulose
paint merged with newly cut soft wood." The proximity of Denham
Aerodrome was sometimes problematic.
Mary Morris remembered that an
intimate scene with Leslie Howard, for
Pimpernel Smith was
"interrupted 22 times by aircraft noise."
Denham's final film was made in 1952, and the J. Arthur Rank
Company went on to rent the facility to the United States Air Force
between 1955 and December 1961. In the 1960s and 70s Rank Xerox
Art Deco office buildings and used most of the sound
stages as warehouses. Despite this, from the 1950s Denham became one
of the most important centres for recording film music, the studio
played host to Bernard Herrmann, John Barry,
Jerry Goldsmith and John
Williams, among others.
After the closing of the film studio Stage One Music Theatre was used
Pinewood Studios and
Rank Xerox to record film scores,
including for Vertigo,
The Three Worlds of Gulliver and Mysterious
Island. In 1966 the film production company Anvil Films moved into the
large music stage at Denham. Led by Ken Cameron (brother of the famous
journalist James), Ken Scrivener, Richard Warren and Ralph May, Anvil
recorded post-synching dialogue, Foley sound effects and music. By
1969, the studio claimed it was the most technologically advanced
recording studio in Europe. Important films recorded during their time
at the studio, included Ryan's Daughter, Jane Eyre, International
Velvet, Superman, Star Wars, the TV miniseries Jesus of Nazareth,
Alien and The Empire Strikes Back. The company was forced to move in
1980 when the studio was bought by a developer.
The buildings were demolished in 1980 and the site re-landscaped as a
business park. In 2007 the land was redeveloped once more as
luxury flats, with only the laboratory designed by Gropius surviving
from the original buildings.
Made on the site during construction:
The Ghost Goes West
The Ghost Goes West (1935)
Things to Come
Things to Come (1936)
The Man Who Could Work Miracles
The Man Who Could Work Miracles (1936)
The first film to be made at the studio proper was Southern Roses
(1936). Others included:
Knight Without Armour
Knight Without Armour (1937)
A Yank at Oxford
A Yank at Oxford (1937)
South Riding (1938)
The Citadel (1938)
The Divorce of Lady X
The Divorce of Lady X (1938)
Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)
The Arsenal Stadium Mystery
The Arsenal Stadium Mystery (1939)
The Stars Look Down (1939)
Q Planes (1939) - released in the US as Clouds Over Europe
Thief of Bagdad (1940) - mainly made at Denham.
In Which We Serve
In Which We Serve (1942)
Hatter's Castle (1942)
The Gentle Sex
The Gentle Sex (1943) - credits show D&P Studios.
Powell & Pressburger's
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943),
A Canterbury Tale
A Canterbury Tale (1944),
I Know Where I'm Going!
I Know Where I'm Going! (1945) and A Matter
of Life and Death (1946)
Laurence Olivier's Henry V (1944) and Hamlet (1948)
Part of David Lean's
Brief Encounter (1945).
Great Expectations (1946)
So Well Remembered
So Well Remembered (1947)
So Evil My Love
So Evil My Love (1948)
The History of Mr. Polly
The History of Mr. Polly (1949)
Treasure Island (1950)
The last film to be made at Denham was Disney's The Story of Robin
Hood and His Merrie Men (1952).
^ "Record details".
Buckinghamshire County Council. 2012. Retrieved 6
^ "Full record for 'Queen Mary's Visit To Denham Film Studios'".
National Library of Scotland. 1937. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
^ a b Malone, Chris (November 2009). Anvil of Denham - A Brief Musical
^ Skinner, James (2008). Growing Up In Wartime Uxbridge. Stroud:
Tempus Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7524-4543-4.
^ "Pinewood Studio". British Movie Classics. 2012. Retrieved 6
^ Colin Sorensen , recalling what
Bernard Miles had told him, on the
radio programme, A Schoolboy at King Arthur's Court.
^ Colin Sorensen, A Schoolboy at King Arthur's Court.
^ "Denham Studios". British Film Institute. 2012. Retrieved 6 November
^ [Matthew SweetSweet, Matthew] ( 23 Sep 2017). Sound of Cinema -
Denham Film Studios. [BBC Radio 3].
^ Ken Cameron – BSound Engineer for Crown Film Unit & Director.
^ Colin Sorensen, A Schoolboy at King Arthur's Court, radio programme
^ Blott, Unity (2 March 2017). Want to live like a Hollywood star?
Legendary film studios once frequented by Oscar-winning actors are
transformed into VERY lavish Art Deco-inspired apartments complete
with a 1930s cinema and cocktail bar. Mail Online.
Screenonline: Denham Studios
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