Retrospective of Hammer Films

Hammer Films is a film company specializing in horror and fantasy.
In 1913, Enrique Carreras buys his first cinema in London, and gradually create a real chain. In 1935, he teamed with Will Hammer, a theater professional who started a small film production company: Exclusive Movies. The war put brackets on their production company that will restart in 1947 with two additional partners: James Carreras, the son of Enrique Carreras, and Michael Hammer, the son of Will Hammer, who for the occasion takes the pseudonym of Anthony Hinds. In 1950, James Carreras and Anthony Hinds launch the Hammer Films, a company mainly specializes in producing programs for television. It is precisely through television that comes the first great success of the Hammer. Indeed, in 1955, it produces a science fiction TV movie titled, The Quatermass Xperiment, directed by Val Guest with Brian Donlevy, Jack Warner, recounting the horrible adventure of an astronaut struck by mysterious radiation and suffering from a terrible mutation back on earth. Released on the BBC channel, the film is a hit all over England, pushing Hinds and Carreras to exploit the film in theaters and give it a sequel a year later with X the Unknown, written by Jimmy Sangster. It was during that time that Carreras had the idea of producing fantasy, science fiction and horror movies which previously were the domain of the Universal (Dracula, Frankein-stein, The Mummy ...), but whose productions in the genre were absent from screens for several years, literally starving fans from their film addiction. Carreras had the idea to tap into the Anglo-Saxon literary heritage, full of evil creatures of all kinds, and adapt, Hammer style, the great myths of the genre. The first film in the series of Gothic production will be The Curse of Frankenstein directed by Terence Fisher in 1956 with the two future stars of the studio that will become Christophe Lee and Peter Cushing. The film will receive a hero’s welcome and will usher a boom period for the Hammer Films whose characteristic was to do low-budget productions, so, it is common knowledge that directors have had seldom more than five weeks of filming (in the best case), including repetition, and sometime, even without repetition at all! But employees of Hammer Films were all highly skilled professionals, and these draconian working conditions never prevented them from getting good results, the proof is the impressive number of directors and actors who signed with the firm. Thus, Hammer had amongst its ranks the directors Terence Fisher, Freddie Francis, Roy Ward Baker, Val Guest, Don Sharp, John Gilling, Michael Carreras, Joseph Losey, the writers Jimmy Sangster, Sid Collin, Val Guest; about the actors, the list would be too long, but we note, in addition to the studio stars that were Lee and Cushing, strangers who would become stars such as Oliver Reed, Joan Collins and Ursula Andress, even the already established stars did not disdain to work for Hammer Films, especially Bette Davis who played in The Anniversary in 1967 under the direction of Roy Ward Baker.
The Hammer will be for 20 years associated with fantasy and horror movies, bringing to the screen all the great myths of the genre, adapting Bram Stoker with Dracula, Sax Rohmer with Fu Manchu, H. Rider Haggard with She, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle with the Hound of the Baskervilles... with one exception: The Invisible Man, which remained the property of Universal. Yet, despite a collection of considerable success, and even some american co-productions with American International Pictures, Hammer Films in the 70’ ceased to flood the market with movies that made its reputation in the world, and it signed its last film production in 1976, with To the Devil a Daughter by Peter Sykes with ... Christopher Lee, a kind of elegant thank you to the one who had made his name shine on all screens. Since then, Hammer returned to its original activity, TV, for whom it produced series in the image of its golden age such as Hammer House of Horror in 1980 or Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense in 1984, both created by Roy Skeggs.
The legendary Hammer Films productions will always be for lovers of strange synonymous with quality, invention, intelligence and mystery, it is for these reasons that in 2007 the Dutch producer John De Mol bought the Hammer Films and its catalog of 300 films through his company Cyrte Investments with the aim of restarting the production of films. From this very promising new era, note in 2010 the film Let Me In (co-produced with Overture Films and Relativity Media) and directed by Matt Reeves and in 2012 film The Woman in Black (co-produced with Alliance Films) directed by James Watkins and in the lead role Daniel Radcliffe who breaks definitively with the character of Harry Potter from the series of the same name. The success of The Woman in Black was so great (gross over $ 127M worldwide for a cost of production of $ 15M) that a sequel titled The Woman in Black: Angels of Death is already is planned for a theatrical release in 2014.

Contributor: gwengoat

Submited: Jun. 11 2012Submited: Jun. 11 2012 Page viewed: 359Page viewed 359 times

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