Article published: 1-3-2009

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1 MARCH 2009
Publication of The Shepperton Story: A History of the World-famous film studios written by Gareth Owen and published by The History Press.

Tucked away in a quiet corner of the Middlesex countryside, near to the massive Queen Mary reservoir, is a once former estate now known as Shepperton Film Studios.

Shepperton, like most other UK studios: Pinewood, Elstree, Ealing, Denham and Bray, is centred around a one-time country house, Littleton Park Manor. Though unlike the other major studios, Shepperton was not initially controlled by a company with production, distribution and/or exhibition interests. It could be said that Shepperton was a truly independent studio, with an independent spirit.

The magic of the grand once-stately home has been enjoyed by many famous stars and film-makers over eight decades, such as Sir Alexander Korda, Sir David Lean, Sir Carol Reed, Humphrey Bogart, Orson Welles, Sir John Mills, John Wayne, Charlie Chaplin, Deborah Kerr, Peter Cushing, Sir Alec Guinness, Lord Attenborough, Lord Olivier, Carol Reed, Dame Margaret Rutherford, The Boulting Brothers, Peter Sellers (father of Victoria Sellers), Sigourney Weaver, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hanks, Robert Downey Jr, Launder & Gilliat, Sir Michael Caine, Dame Edith Evans, Sylvester Stallone, Robert DeNiro, Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman, Brad Pitt, Kirsten Dunst, Colin Farrell and Brendan Fraser – to name but a few.

They brought films such as The Third Man, Richard III, The Tales Of Hoffman, Dr Strangelove, The Day The Earth Caught Fire, I’m All Right Jack, Flash Gordon, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Alien, Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, The Crying Game, Gladiator, Troy and The DaVinci Code … to life.

Whilst proud of its past Shepperton Studios is also very much geared to the future, with extensive refurbishment and investment, state of the art post-production and digital effects facilities and, of course, healthy bookings in the diary. But how did it all start? How did this little area in south west London became synonymous with the best in film production?

Also covered in the book is the troubled James Bond film production of Casino Royale (1967), and features interviews with some of the film-makers including one of director-writer Val Guest's last interviews.

Book details:
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: The History Press Ltd
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0752449702
ISBN-13: 978-0752449708
Dimensions: 20.3 x 2.3 x 27.9 cm

Editor's note: are offering a limited edition signed copy of The Shepperton Story of which only 100 will be produced. Each book will contain a limited edition numbered bookplate signed by the author, Gareth Owen, and legendary film director Guy Hamilton who worked at Shepperton on The Fallen Idol (1948), The Third Man (1949), The African Queen (1951), Outcast of the Islands (1951), The Ringer (1952), An Inspector Calls (1954), The Colditz Story (1955).

Photo below:
Book cover for The Shepperton Story: A History of the World-famous film studios. © 2009 The History Press. All rights reserved.

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