Posts Tagged ‘Mae Marsh’

Video for London’s Hollywood

September 22nd, 2014

A visual tour of the history of the Gainsborough (or Islington) studio in the silent years

‘a microcosm of the evolution of the British film industry during the silent era’.

Youtube video link



The Rat (1925) and the Cutts-Hitchcock Divide

July 23rd, 2014

The Rat (1925), directed by Graham Cutts and filmed at the Islington studio was the first in, what was to become, a fabulous trilogy following the adventures of a low-life Parisian Apache played brilliantly by Ivor Novello. One of the early Gainsborough Pictures it was hailed as ‘a triumph for British film industry’ and was seen as ‘a British picture that will do much to encourage the future of British effort.’


Mae Marsh and Ivor Novello in the Gainsborough Picture The Rat (1925) directed by Graham Cutts and filmed at the Islington studio

Mae Marsh and Ivor Novello in the Gainsborough Picture The Rat (1925) directed by Graham Cutts and filmed at the Islington stud


Cutts was delighted to be able to use the American actress Mae Marsh once again as he had directed her previously in Flames of Passion (1922) and Paddy the Next best Thing (1923) both filmed at the Islington studio for Graham-Wilcox productions but he also secured the added beauty of Isabel Jeans playing the vamp responsible for most of the thrills and all the trouble.

The film was also significant as it was the first film in which Cutts did not use Alfred Hitchcock, after having him as assistant director on several previous projects. Due to the clear antagonism that had surfaced between the two, Michael Balcon and separated them and was to send Hitchcock with Alma Reville to Berlin to film The Pleasure Garden (1926).

The Rat scored a big reaction in America and the review from Harrison’s Report, a New York based film trade journal, was exceptional: ‘If the majority of the pictures that are made in Great Britain are as well directed and acted and the plot is as well constructed as in that of The Rat, the American exhibitors need not worry about shortage of good pictures. All that will be necessary for the British producers to do then will be to create a demand for their product among the American public and they will find the American exhibitor a ready buyer. From the point of view of production The Rat is distinctive. The scenarist has shown unusual intelligence in the development of his plot: he has taken so good a care to do the characterising that when the heroine offers to sacrifice her life to shield the man she loves, one takes such a sacrifice as natural. The plot unfolds smoothly: the direction is skilful, the acting particularly of the principal characters is extremely artistic. Miss Marsh appears winsome and Mr Novello a he-man. It is a picture that no first rate theatre need be ashamed to show.’



London’s Hollywood: The Gainsborough Studio in the Silent Years 

Published 15th July 2014

A detailed look at the British Silent Film industry with this first ever evaluation of the history, output and achievement of the most iconic film studio in England during the silent era. 

Available in the following formats:

Hardback, £27, ISBN 9781909230132

Paperback, £14.99, 
ISBN 9781909230101



Amazon Kindle ebook, £8.99, 

ISBN 9781909230125

Apple ebook, £8.99, 
ISBN 9781909230118 (Through Apple / iTunes – search for title on iTunes bookstore)