January 2, 2017


Julius Hagen (1884-1940) b. Hamburg, Germany.

Hamburg-born producer and flamboyant studio head Julius Hagen began his career in his father’s cigar business, and was involved in theatrical productions before entering the film industry with Ruffells’, the rental firm, and later as UK manager for Universal. In 1919, he co-founded the distributors W&F Film Service; and in 1923 he became manager of the British and Colonial Studios. Hagen was an energetic and innovative producer of bilingual pictures and in 1927 formed the W&P Film Company, setting up production at the old St. Margaret’s Studios; now named Twickenham Film Studios under the leadership of Hagen, Leslie Hiscott and Henry Edwards. Hagen was immediately faced with a major problem with the arrival of "the talkies". In order to equip his new studio with the expensive RCA equipment required, he used the studio at night and leased it to others during the day. In 1928 he founded the Strand Film Company to specialise in ‘Quota Quickies’ including the Bernard Vorhaus directed The Ghost Camera (1933) and The Last Journey (1936). Hagen won a contract with Warner Bros in 1929 which proved very successful and allowed Twickenham Film Studios to develop a reputation for both quality and quantity. Then in 1935 he created JH Productions to produce more lavish films such as Broken Blossoms (1936), Spy of Napoleon (1936) and Juggernaut (1936). Nicknamed the Tsar of Twickenham, in late 1935 he bought Consolidated Studios at Elstree to fortify his Twickenham resources for making ‘quota quickies’. Hagen also acquires the newly built Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, London. The announcement that the receivers had been called in was made in January 1937. In 1938, Hagen declared bankruptcy and died two years later, a broken man, with half-a-million pounds in debts.

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