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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    Jun 2004
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    Just looked at next weeks tv guide,and saw this.

    friday 24 feb channel 4 @ 1.55 pm

    cheers Ollie.

  2. #2
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    (aaron @ Feb 24 2006, 01:31 PM)

    Cheers Ollie, i wouldn't have spotted this was on today without you flagging it...

    Lovely filum - I watched it with the fire burning and a hot mug of tea and toast - terrific!! Gordon Jackson; Mervyn Johns; Googie Withers, et al.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: Scotland julian_craster's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
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    Poster service: Pink String and Sealing Wax (1945)

    Continuing our series analysing classic film posters. Today: an Ealing classic, with a promo by John Piper

    by Paul Rennie


    Monday August 04 2008

    Studio overview

    Ealing dates back to the earliest days of cinema in Britain. It was Will Baker who established a studio in Ealing at the beginning of the 20th century. By 1912 the studio had grown to be possibly the largest in Europe - certainly the largest in Britain.

    Baker began making films on a Lumiere hand-cranked camera at the

    end of the 1890s. His first efforts were topical - the penny-pinching kind that required a minimum of post-production. At Ealing, Baker's productions became more ambitious and the studio developed large glazed stages to accommodate them.


    Businessmen whose skills were in theatrical presentation, distribution and production swiftly succeeded the early pioneers. In the 20s there were large industrially-organised production facilities in France, Germany, Britain and America. The story of how Hollywood came to global dominance combines commercial ruthlessness, political expediency and ineffective policy-making decisions.

    Michael Balcon became head of production at Ealing in 1938. The glory-days of the studio date from 1943 through to 1959, when the studios closed.


    Ealing is usually synonymous with a distinctively English species of comedy satire, whose force comes from them being simple exaggerated extensions, in the tradition of Swift, of everyday realities. The grim realities of war, austerity and reconstruction provided plenty of scope - particularly when it came to welfare provision.

    But the comedies - of which Passport to Pimlico (1949), Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949), The Lavender Hill Mob (1951), The Man in the White Suit (1951) and The Ladykillers (1955) are probably the best known - were not the only films made at Ealing. There were social-realist and police investigation films, too - all, with one or two exceptions, swiftly forgotten


    The Ealing posters were produced, from 1943, under the direction of St John Woods who reported directly to Michael Balcon. Woods had trained as an artist and graphic designer. He assembled a stable of artists and designers - a process made possible his extensive list of friends and contacts, including John Piper, Edward Bawden, Barnet Freedman, John Minton, Mervyn Peake, Edward Ardizzone. He also had an uncanny ability to match artist and theme.

    Of his recruits, James Fitton and James Boswell were the most interesting. In the 30s they helped establish The Artists' International - a group who provided a framework that encouraged artists to explore the visual projection of left-wing political values. The International used the Whitechapel gallery as a base and were active throughout east London. They played a key role, after 1937, in raising political consciousness in relation to the Spanish Civil War.


    The association between art and politics is unusual in cinema. The posters produced to advertise films remain, in the most part, anonymous arrangements of image and text. The dead-hand of the corporate lawyer usually has the final say in what is positioned where. Inevitably, the lawyers avoid all obvious reference to politics.

    So, the Ealing film posters are remarkable on two points. Firstly, and against all the odds, they are recognisable works of art by artists whose work extends beyond the usual concerns of graphic design, cinema and fine art. Secondly, they embrace and give expression to the political dimension of satire and social-realism - especially rare in cinema.

    Pink String and Sealing Wax (1945)

    The plot of Pink String and Sealing Wax is played out against the background of Victorian Brighton: seaside, passion and murder combine to melodramatic effect. The over-wrought emotional framework of the plot is expressed through the exaggeratedly decorative Victorian type chosen by the designer, John Piper, for the title.


    In the context of the second world war, this typographic detail would have seemed a strange and exotic thing. The typographic defaults of war were the modern sans typefaces. The ubiquitous Gill Sans, and its various ill-considered and bastard forms, had threatened to destroy the richly varied typographic environments of English townscape and High Street. Piper, along with John Betjeman and Nicolette Gray, were the pioneer historians of this material.

    Piper and Betjeman had, through their work for the Shell County Guides,

    explored the English seaside resorts and towns. Piper has worked up a series of aquatint prints of Brighton architecture for a limited edition book by Duckworth.


    So, the poster includes a recognisable reference to Piper's other work as a printmaker. The poster was printed lithographically and gave Piper an early opportunity to experiment with the expressive potential of the process. The inclusion of a photographic element, a detail of Googie Withers in costume, also showed the creative potential of lithography by combining the hand-made and the mechanical.

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