TV Cream

Independent Producers

BRITISH LION

Long-running company with a chequered history. From humble roots under the aegis of Samuel W Smith making silent productions such as Wisp o’ the Woods and A Nonconformist Parson, the company really came into its own when the redoubtable Alexander Korda took the reins after the war, ushering in the Imperial Phase likes of The Third Man and P&P’s Tales of Hoffmann. Then, after some unseemly business with an unpaid subsidy loan in the mid-’50s, the studio was bailed out by such luminaries as the Boulting Brothers, Michael Balcon and Launder and Gilliat, paving the way for Hobson’s Choice, the St Trinian’s films, The Green Man, Lucky Jim, and countless Boulting/Sellers classics. More modernist fare arrived in the shape of The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner and the film of David Mercer’s ace Morgan: a Suitable Case for Treatment. In its latter years, supporting co-productions was its main thing, helping the likes of The Wicker Man, The Beast Must Die, The Man Who Fell to Earth and The Long Good Friday to reach the screen, even though after 1976 it was basically just another wing of – yep – EMI.

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