The British Film Industry
The British film industry has been grown rapidly over the past 150 years since film was first developed. It started with an advance from one static shot to a series of shots linked together. As the initial progress and innovations were being made the First World War took place which slowed down the British Film industry. Meanwhile in America the film industry was making similar progress and without feeling the effects of the war great progress was made with the emergence of Hollywood. The first films to be produced were the silent movies as the technology had not been invented to incorporate sound as well as the picture. The early silent movies caught the imagination of the public with the first stars such as Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplain appearing on the scene and Hollywood became the centre of the film industry. After the effects of the war disappeared the British film industry soon caught up with the Americans.
The first studios to appear were Ealing Studios in 1902 and they are now the oldest continuously operating studio in the world. In 1914 Elstree Studios were founded and this was followed quickly by Elstree Studios and Cricklewood Studios. Lime Grove Studios in 1915 was the first building built solely for film production and as the industry grew so new companies appeared. In the early 1930’s the silent movies were replaced by the sound movies and the British film industry flourished. More studios such as Denham and Shepperton appeared and the standard for British film making was set by the popular Hitchcock movies. The Second World War saw a combination of documentaries and films promoting Britain’s efforts and just after the war had finished the Rank Organization was formed. The period of the late 1940’s and 1950’s saw the British film industry at its most popular, as war films and comedies drew great favor from the domestic audiences.
Many stars were born in this time such as Sir John Mills and Jack Hawkins. The industry was given a boost in the 1960s with the production of the James Bond movies which became global phenomena’s. Actors such as Roger Moore and Sean Connery were viewed around the world. As the film industry was progressing in Britain the same was happening in Hollywood but to even a greater extent. Hollywood was experiencing global success putting the British film industry into the shadows. Many of the country’s greatest acting, writing, directing and producing talent were tempted to relocate across the Atlantic trying to develop their talent and make their fortune.
Meanwhile in Britain the industry would experience peaks and troughs in terms of its success. Between 1970 and 1990 the amount of investment in the industry was cut and the numbers of films being made in the country fell dramatically. Since the 1990s the popularity of the industry has was again risen. The success of films such as “Four Weddings and a Funeral”, “Saving Private Ryan” and “The Crying Game” acted as a catalyst as the country once again became an attractive location for making films. The success of the Harry Potter Films has just continued the trend and the film studios are nowadays full with work.
Britain is a great location for the film industry. The recent filming of “Paddington”, “ Star Wars” and “Fury” has merely confirmed the country’s reputation within the film industry There is an abundance of stage trained actors, highly skilled film workers and top class special affects houses. With the government continuing to support the industry with attractive tax concessions, the future for the country’s film industry once again looks bright.