The Ealing Music & Film Festival starts this year on Wednesday 10th February and features some great sounding musical performances, including some blues at The Red Room – formerly The Ealing Club (home of the blues in 1960s London and where the Rolling Stones started out back in the day).
But of course, this is a film site and you’ll probably be more interested in which cinematic treats will be in store.
Well being based in the London Borough of Ealing, you’d be decidedly out of luck if none of the films on offer heralded from the famous Ealing Studios. And thankfully your luck is in.
Ealing Studios (incidentally the oldest film studios still in production in the world) is best known for the comedies they produced in the 1940s and 1950s and that particular flavour is represented by the fantastic 1951 Alec Guinness starrer The Lavender Hill Mob. Directed by Charles Crichton (who many years later went on to direct A Fish Called Wanda) the film has a delightfully silly heist plot centering around the theft and melting down of gold bullion. It’s very funny.
Also from Ealing Studios the much rarer dramatic 1940 film The Proud Valley.
Starring the campaigning actor and singer Paul Robeson, one of the earliest African-American performers to regularly have his name above the title, the film makes full use of his singing skills as he plays an American visiting a Welsh mining valley who’s singing voice leads him to be invited to join both the mine and its male voice choir.
Interestingly it was apparently the first film to be premiered on radio before it was seen on screen – the BBC reportedly played an hour long edit of the film soundtrack as an audio play on the Home Service a week and a half before the London release.
This will be a great opportunity to see one of Ealing Studios lesser known dramatic features.
Other films programmed include Bride and Prejudice (directed by local filmmaker Gurinder Chadha and partly filmed in nearby Southall), and a collection of films by young local filmmakers including the feature Desire by Acton based Gareth Jones.
Screenings will take place at the University of West London and at Ealing Town Hall.
The film schedule runs as follows:
Wednesday 10th February
7pm at the University of West London
A programme of Locally Produced and Directed Films (including discussion with the directors)
Friday 12th February
7.30pm at Ealing Town Hall
Bride and Prejudice
Saturday 13th February
11.00am at University of West London
The Proud Valley
2.00pm at University of West London
The Lavender Hill Mob
For tickets and more information, check out the website.