80 years of movie magic

Mile­stone year for Pinewood

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - by Qasim Per­acha qasim.per­acha@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

PINEWOOD Stu­dios is cel­e­brat­ing its 80th an­niver­sary, hav­ing opened for busi­ness on Septem­ber 30, 1936.

The stu­dios, based in Iver, has been re­spon­si­ble for some of the big­gest movies ever, in­clud­ing Star Wars: The Force Awak­ens, Aliens, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Su­per­man and the Da Vinci Code. It is per­haps best known, how­ever, for its mega-fran­chises James Bond, Carry On and Harry Pot­ter.

Based at a Vic­to­rian man­sion called Heather­den Hall the site was owned by Col. Grant Mor­den who was MP for Brent­ford and Chiswick at the time. It was the site for the ne­go­ti­a­tion and sign­ing of the Ar­ti­cles of Agree­ment for a Treaty Be­tween Great Bri­tain and Ire­land in 1921, bet­ter known as the An­glo-Ir­ish Treaty. This is the treaty that de­clared Ire­land to be a Free State. The stu­dio also had a huge role to play in The Sec­ond World War. As well as be­ing req­ui­si­tioned for use by the Crown Film Unit, the Army Film and Pho­to­graphic Unit, RAF Film Unit, the Pol­ish Air Force Film Unit for the mak­ing of pro­pa­ganda and news films, Lloyd’s of Lon­don and The Royal Mint used the stu­dio’s stages as their of­fices.

The mod­ern stu­dio com­plex is now made up of 20 stages, with the big­gest and most fa­mous be­ing the 59,000 sq ft, 007 Stage. Orig­i­nally built for The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).

The 007 Stage burnt to the ground in 1984 and re­opened in Jan­uary 1985 with the new name, “Al­bert R. Broc­coli 007 Stage”, in time for film­ing of A View to a Kill.

An­other fire oc­curred in July 2006 just af­ter pro­duc­tion ended on the Bond film Casino Royale. The fire-dam­aged stage was de­mol­ished in Septem­ber and con­struc­tion on the new stage was com­pleted in un­der six months.

Pinewood also has an un­der­wa­ter stage – the only one of it’s king in Europe. It mea­sures an in­cred­i­ble 240 x 60 ft and is al­ways filled and main­tained. It has fea­tured in movies like The Da Vinci Code and Ba­sic In­stinct 2.

Most re­cently a deal has been bro­kered for the multimillion pound sale of the com­pany that owns Pinewood Stu­dios.

The Fi­nan­cial Con­duct Au­thor­ity ( FCA) has gave the go-ahead for a deal which would see Lon­don based as­set man­age­ment busi­ness Aer­mont Cap­i­tal LLP ac­quire the Iver Heath based stu­dios for £323 mil­lion.

Photo: J. Smith/Fox Pho­tos/Hul­ton Ar­chive/Getty Images

n IN THE BEGIN­NING: Ac­tor Robert Dou­glas stands on a cam­era dolly at the open­ing of Pinewood Stu­dios in 1936. With him are Carol Reed and Sally Eil­ers

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