I guess it is my age that made this book so very interesting to me. It tells the history of the MGM British Film Studios, celebrating 100 years between 1914 and 2014. The author, Derek Pykett, is well versed in the film industry, and has composed this book in a thoroughly ordered manner, using actors and actresses, people behind the cameras, the directors, the producers both dead and living; who tell us of their own stories.
The main narrative is basically compiled of anecdotal evidence, one short tale after the other, in a veritable blaze of information that involves the making of many great British films. The pages toward the rear of the book lists lots of major films made by the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, The Danzinger Brothers, Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg to name but a few. Many celebrities and crewmembers tell us of their memorably funny, serious, and sad tales of the world famous studios, unfortunately now gone. Particularly sad to realize that after the place was eventually razed to the ground, it has been transformed into a Tesco Store.
Lots of studio pictures, helping to show how films were made, the people who made them and the crew in their place of work. Lots of secret film tricks explained [such as] the big explosions in the centre of Borehamwood that angered residents in the middle of the night. Then there’s the huge water tank they built to film Moby Dick with Gregory Peck and Orson Welles, all the Indiana Jones films, Star Wars, 2001 Space Odyssey, Where Eagles Dare, The Shining and loads more, it is all herein encapsulated.
Having absorbed the book I can now talk with some authority about this historical legend. If you are anything at all like me, a British film buff, then this book has to be on your shelf. Even if the genre is only of a passing interest, then this extraordinary good book is still a decent read. I enjoyed it a lot.
MGM British Studios: Hollywood in Borehamwood by Derek Pykett
978-1-59393-883-3|BearManor Media pbk Oct 2015
BOOKCHAP RIDES: In which our man, Seward, Reg Seward, recounts his motivations . . .
Ros Green, Essex Book Festival Director
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