• Glennis Lorimer as the famous Gainsborough Lady, in the main title for Gainsborough Pictures
  • The famous gong of J Arthur Rank
  • Ealing Studios
  • Associated British Picture Corporation
  • Two Cities Films
  • Associated Talking Pictures
  • London Films

Silver Sirens

The Golden Age of British Film and Theatre

Richard Williams, author
By Richard Williams.
Updated: 21st March, 2017.

British cinema during the 1940s enjoyed a golden age as wartime film-makers found a new freedom to reflect the national mood, producing works of unparalleled ambition and boldness.

Audiences turned to Ealing comedy films, escapist melodrama - often from Gainsborough Pictures - and World War II propaganda.

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Latest Pictures

Margaret Lockwood as Anna Bomasch in Night Train to Munich (1940) in the BFI’s promotional booklet for its 2008 Sidney Gilliat season.  Page reads: ‘As a writer and director in the heyday of Britain’s studio system Sidney Gilliat was both a consummate entertainer and a sharp social commentator.  British cinema is all the richer for his beady eye and dry wit argues Geoff Brown.’
Margaret Lockwood
Sidney Gilliat season at the British Film Institute, London, 2008
Michael Redgrave as Davey Fenwick in The Stars Look Down (1940), screening as part of BBC4’s At the Coalface Night, 23rd May 2009
Michael Redgrave
At the Coalface Night, BBC4, Michael Redgrave in The Stars Look Down
Return of the Train, promotional advertisement by Virgin Trains from 2005.  Clever CGI transports Margaret Lockwood and Day May Whitty from The Lady Vanishes (1938) to the present day
Margaret Lockwood, Dame May Whitty, 2005 Virgin ad Return of the Train
Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave in a scene from The Lady Vanishes (1938) in the BFI’s promotional booklet for their 2008 Margaret Lockwood season.  Page reads: ‘Lockwood was Britain’s favourite female star throughout most of the 1940s bringing verve and glamour to a war-weary nation.  Josephine Botting looks back over her career and reveals a highly versatile actress.’
Margaret Lockwood season at the BFI, London, January 2008
Celebrating 20th century industrial heritage in film.  Banner for King Coal from the Showroom Cinema Sheffield.  Season runs 10th September to 15th October 2009
The Stars Look Down
King Coal | Celebrating 20th century industrial heritage in film
In a 1970 episode of It’s Tommy Cooper, British actress Joan Greenwood wears something very orange and feathery!  She holds a cheroot and cigarette for good measure.
Joan Greenwood
Joan Greenwood as Samantha in It’s Tommy Cooper (1970)
‘Great Performances of Our Time.’  It’s Tommy Cooper season 1, episode 4 opening credits.
It’s Tommy Cooper
Season 1, episode 4 opening credits | ‘Great Performances of Our Time’
Main title from It’s Toomy Cooper (1969-71)
It’s Tommy Cooper
It’s Toomy Cooper (1969-71) opening credits
Publicity photograph of British actor, Alastair Sim
Alastair Sim
Alastair Sim, British actor, publicity photograph
British actress Margaret Lockwood is a contestant on Celebrity Squares (1975), hosted by Bob Monkhouse.  Season 1 episode 2.
Margaret Lockwood
Margaret Lockwood as a contestant on Celebrity Squares (1975)
Main title from The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)
The Lavender Hill Mob
The Lavender Hill Mob (1951) opening credits
Main title from Escape from Zahrain (1962)
Escape from Zahrain
Escape from Zahrain (1962) opening credits
Main title from Bognor (1981-82)
Bognor
Bognor (1981-82) opening credits
Main title from Dee Time
Dee Time
Dee Time opening credits
Gretchen Jordache Burke (Jean Simmons) in Beggarman, Thief (1979)
Jean Simmons
Jean Simmons as Gretchen Jordache Burke in Beggarman, Thief (1979)

Recent DVD & Blu-ray Releases


What Happened Then? (1934) [DVD]
What Happened Then? DVD from Network and the British Film

Released:
6th March, 2017
Price: £9.99
Buy What Happened Then? from Amazon.co.uk

A sculptor stands trial for slitting the throat of his uncle, who had adopted and raised him after his parents died when he was a young boy.
Featuring: What Happened Then?.

A Town Like Alice (1956) [DVD]
A Town Like Alice DVD from Network and the British Film

Released:
6th March, 2017
Price: £7.57
Buy A Town Like Alice from Amazon.co.uk

Life among women prisoners of the Japanese in Malaya, especially one who is finally reunited with her Australian lover.
Featuring: A Town Like Alice.

Poison Pen (1939) [DVD]
Poison Pen DVD from Network and the British Film

Released:
19th September, 2016
Price: £6.97
Buy Poison Pen from Amazon.co.uk

A village community is set at odds by a writer of vindictive anonymous letters.
Featuring: Poison Pen.

The Long Dark Hall (1951) [DVD]
The Long Dark Hall DVD from Network and the British Film

Released:
12th September, 2016
Price: £6.79
Buy The Long Dark Hall from Amazon.co.uk

A chorus girl is murdered and her married lover is accused.
Featuring: The Long Dark Hall.

Carve Her Name with Pride (1958) [DVD]
Carve Her Name with Pride DVD from Network and The British Film

Released:
12th September, 2016
Price: £9.99
Buy Carve Her Name with Pride from Amazon.co.uk

In 1940, the young British widow of a French officer is enlisted as a spy, and after various adventures dies before a German firing squad.
Featuring: Carve Her Name with Pride.

The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934) [DVD]
The Scarlet Pimpernel DVD from Network and the British Film

Released:
15th August, 2016
Price: £7.69
Buy The Scarlet Pimpernel from Amazon.co.uk

In the early days of the French Revolution, an apparently foppish Englishman leads a daring band in rescuing aristocrats from the guillotine.
Featuring: The Scarlet Pimpernel.

» See all DVDs and Blu-ray releases.


Newly Added Productions