Looking back at the early days of cinema allows us not only the opportunity to see the development of our favourite medium but also discover the hidden gems which may have been forgotten.
Network Releasing are shining their own particular light on some of the lesser-known films from one of the most important studios in British cinema history. The Ealing Studios Rarities Collection Vol. 1 (out on the 8th of April) contains early works from directors such as Carol Reed and Basil Dean and we’ve got a clip and a couple of rare production images from the wonderfully named Cheer Up! for you today.
A struggling playwright hopes to market a musical comedy that he has written in collaboration with another equally penurious composer. Anxious to secure the backing of a millionaire, the two composers only succeed in making him angry — until, following a chain of misunderstandings, they finally emerge triumphant. Comic situations and melody play important roles in the film, which includes several spectacular dance routines.
And the details of the films included on the disc are below.
ESCAPE (1930). Director: Basil Dean
Based on John Galsworthy’s 1921 play, ESCAPE charts the experiences of Captain Matt Denant, sentenced to a term in Dartmoor after accidentally killing a plain-clothes policeman during a quarrel. Unable to bear the harsh conditions of prison life, Matt escapes across the moor – finding his freedom at the mercy of the various characters he encounters.
Starring Gerald du Maurier, Madeleine Carroll, Ian Hunter, Gordon Harker, Edna Best, Austin Trevor and Horace Hodges| Written John Galsworthy| Original Music by Ernest IrvingWEST OF ZANZIBAR (1954) Director: Harry Watt
Bob Payton learns that the Galanas, an African tribe he has befriended, are being forced by soil erosion to move from their homelands. He urges their Chief, Ushingo, to lead them into the hills where they will find fresh, fertile soil and peaceful living; but the young men of the tribe favour the attractions of Mombasa, which represent a new, exciting way of life. Payton knows that such a move would be fatal, placing the Galanas in the way of many temptations – not least the activities of ivory smugglers.
Starring Anthony Steel, Sheila Sim, Edric Connor, Martin Benson, Orlando Martins and William Simons|
Written by Harry Watt, Max Catto and Jack Whittingham| Original Music by Alan Rawsthorne performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra| Produced by Leslie NormanDisc Two
PENNY PARADISE (1938). Director: Carol Reed
Joe Higgins is the captain of a Liverpool tug, with a pretty daughter, Betty, a forgetful Irish first mate, Pat, and a predilection for spending a weekly sixpence on the football pools. When Pat forgets to post Joe’s coupon on the week a winning line is drawn, chaos and frantic comedy are the result…
Starring Edmund Gwenn, Betty Driver, Jimmy O’ Dea, Ethel Coleridge, Maire O’Neill, Jack Livesey, Syd Crossley and James Harcourt| Written by Thomas Browne, Basil Dean, W.L. Meade and Thomas Thompson| Original Music by Ernest Irving| Produced by Basil Dean
CHEER UP! (1936). Director: Leo Mittler
A struggling playwright hopes to market a musical comedy that he has written in collaboration with another equally penurious composer. Anxious to secure the backing of a millionaire, the two composers only succeed in making him angry – until, following a chain of misunderstandings, they finally emerge triumphant. Comic situations and melody play important roles in the film, which includes several spectacular dance routines.
Starring Stanley Lupino, Sally Gray, Roddy Hughes, Gerald Barry, Kenneth Kove and Wynne Weaver| Written by Michael Barringer and Stanley Lupino| Music Arranged and Performed by Percy Mackey and his Orchestra| Produced by Stanley Lupino