Ealing Studios was the name of a British film production company best known for a series of comedy films produced in the decade after the end of World War II.
The original Ealing Studios, founded in 1931, was not a production company at all; it was merely the Ealing Green studio of a small-time production company named Associated Talking Pictures. (The history of film-making in the London borough of Ealing dates back to almost three decades earlier.)
A management shake-up in 1938 led ATP to change its name to Ealing Studios. The new head of production, Michael Balcon, took the then-struggling production company in a new direction, bringing in gifted writers, directors, cinematographers and actors, though keeping the company on a small scale. The films you probably associate with the name Ealing were made while Balcon and his high standards were in charge. It was his goal to make pictures that evoked the very feeling of British (especially English) culture, such that you'd hear "Ealing" and think tea and crumpets and the best things about the Good Old Ways.
They also created serious drama and dark, tragic stories of postwar austerity, along with award-winning war pictures using documentary filmmakers and techniques.
The studio facilities at Ealing were sold to The BBC in 1955, and the company continued to make a trickle of films at Borehamwood until 1959. Ealing Studios was revived anew in 2002. Today, they make films and television series (Shaun of the Dead, Downton Abbey), with an eye to innovation, sustainability and the latest visual and sound recording technology.
Films produced by this company include:
- Keep Your Seats, Please! (1936)
- Went the Day Well? (1942)
- The Halfway House (1944)
- Dead of Night (1945)
- Nicholas Nickleby (1947)
- Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
- Passport to Pimlico (1949)
- Whisky Galore! (1949)
- The Blue Lamp (1950)
- The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)
- The Man in the White Suit (1951)
- Mandy (1952)
- The Cruel Sea (1953)
- The Titfield Thunderbolt (1953)
- The Ladykillers (1955)
- Dunkirk (1958)
- Shout-Out: In the Stefan Poliakoff TV miniseries Shooting the Past, an American businessman buys a Big Fancy House outside London, home of the massive Fallon Photo Collection, and attempts to evict it and its Quirky Household curators; chief archivist Oswald Bates (Timothy Spall) says the businessman must be made to respect them and not think of them as "pathetic dusty people that just stepped out of an Ealing comedy with Margaret Rutherford."note He's got a point: many (by no means all) Ealing films dealt with similar situations in a whimsical style.