Friday, 12 November 2010

Ealing Studios is a Monument to Great British Cinema

So I've just arrived back from a stopover in Ealing. It's a great part of London to visit, not least for a chance to walk past one of the most legendary studios of them all. For an outsider there's not an awful lot of see, just a building with the iconic "Ealing Studios" logo on its front, but you can't help but think of the legendary films that have been made there and, for me at least, it sends a shiver down my spine.

Ealing Studios is truly something Britain should be proud of. It is, after all, the oldest continuously working film studio in the world. That's an impressive record, but more impressive has been the level of quality of its output. In recent years there have been lapses; the St. Trinians revival was unnecessary and the recent Burke and Hara was not well received considering the talent it boasted, but for a time in the late 40's and early 50's, Ealing Studios arguably produced some of the most unique and witty films around.

The Ealing comedies such as The Lavender Hill Mob, Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Ladykillers seem just as sharp and infused with bitingly black humour today as they were more than 50 years ago. They were showcases for perfect writing, pushed boundaries and superb acting. Watching the Ealing comedies you can understand why Alec Guinness was so appalled that he became remembered chiefly for the Star Wars films. His performances in some of these films (memorably playing 8 roles in Kind Hearts and Coronets) were some of the best that Britain has seen.

If you're ever in Ealing and you have some time to kill, make sure you stop by to have a glance at the studios. To still be making films today is remarkable, but the history and quality of output of these studios make it a monument to truly admire.

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