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Elstree Calling, the first British musical film, consists of a series of all-star vaudeville and review items drawn in part from stage shows then running in London. A couple of the dance numbers have been stencil-colored. The film is hosted in mock-formal vein by comedian Tommy Handley, wearing evening dress, as if it were being transmitted on television from BIP's film studio at Elstree. At one point, Handley reads the weather forecast.
Though Adrian Brunel was the film's supervisory director, Alfred Hitchcock is credited with "sketches and other interpolated items."
Directed by Adrian Brunel. Ensemble Numbers Staged by Jack Hulbert, Paul Murray, Andre Charlot. Lyrics by Douglas Furber, Rowland Lee, Donovan Parsons. Music by Reg Casson, Vivian Ellis, Chick Endor, Ivor Novello, Jack Strachey. Musical Conductors: Teddy Brown, Sydney Baynes, John Reynders.
Artistes in Revue: Will Fyffe, Cicely Courtneidge, Jack Hulbert, Tommy Handley, Lily Morris, Helen Burnell, The Berkoffs, Bobby Combes, Lawrence Green, Ivor McLaren, Anna May Wong, Jameson Thomas, John Longden, Donald Calthrop, Gordon Harker, Hannah Jones, Teddy Brown, The Three Eddies, The Balalaika Choral Orchestra, The Adelphi Girls, The Charlot Girls.
Recorded at Elstree London. RCA Photophone System.
According to the British Film Institute's Monthly Film Bulletin, November 1975, this means in effect that Hitchcock directed the brief sketch "Thriller," in which Jameson Thomas plays a cuckolded husband, the burlesque of The Taming of the Shrew, which features Donald Calthrop and Anna May Wong, and the scenes of Gordon Harker struggling to tune his home-made television set, watched by Hannah Jones as his wife.
Incredibly, some of the segments were in color and the storyline loosely centered around putting together a TV show (certainly before very many were aware what TV was!)
Hitchcock had a nostalgia for the music hall, and the film provides a chance to see at least its vestiges; the two numbers sung and danced with a good deal of abandon by Lily Morris for example, or the patter and songs of the Scottish comedian Will Fyffe.
While Alfred Hitchcock's sequences in Elstree Calling can hardly be said to occupy a significant or meaningful place in his peerless career, it is a significant curiosity and many Hitchcock scholars consider any serious Hitchcock collection would be incomplete without it. Made in 1930, it is believed to be in the public domain. UK Comedy / Musical. Runtime: 81:44 minutes. B/W & color w/mono sound.
We proudly possess an excellent copy of Elstree Calling recorded from European TV. We have excellent DVD reproductions at $35.00 + postage US shipping $.99 first class or $5.10 priority. Outside US $3 for air. This reproduction is sold collector to collector. The seller owns no rights to this movie and no transfer of rights is given or implied.
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