Based on: “The Big Pickup” by Trevor Dudley Smith, and “Dunkirk” by Major J.S. Bradford and Lt. Col. Ewan Butler
Starring: John Mills, Robert Urquhart, Ray Jackson, Meredith Edwards, Bernard Lee, Richard Attenborough, Sean Barrett, Maxine Audley
Production Company: Ealing Studios
Kent Filming Locations: Teston Bridge
In the summer of 1940, over 300,000 troops were evacuated from the shores of Dunkirk. Ten years later, Dunkirk was filmed, commemorating this iconic event.
As the Blitzkrieg starts, a squad of British infantry led by Corporal “Tubby” Binns (played by John Mills) is sent into Belgium to face the German forces. But as the Allies are slowly pushed out of Belgium into France and the German army advances towards Calais, the British troops have to retreat. Left behind without their commanding officer, the squad barely manage to stay ahead of the advancing enemy. But their biggest challenge is yet to come as the Luftwaffe repeatedly bombs the harbour where the soldiers are meant to embark for home.
Early in the film, scenes show the soldiers in Belgium where they blow up a bridge as German troops advance over it. However, eagle eyed viewers will recognise that it is in fact in Teston near Maidstone! The Grade I listed bridge was constructed in the 14th or 15th Century and crosses the River Medway.
Like many districts in Kent, Maidstone has its fair share of historic locations and villages. Near Maidstone is the picturesque village of Harrietsham. The historic village contains a number of listed buildings and featured in the 1949 classic Kind Hearts and Coronets.
The film was released in 1958 and is now available on DVD.
Starring: John Mills, John McCallum, Elizabeth Sellars
Production Company: J. Arthur Rank Organisation , Europa, British Film-Makers
Kent Locations Used: Gravesend, Stangate Creek
The Long Memory is a black and white 1953 film based on the 1951 novel of the same name by Howard Clewes. The crime thriller is about Philip Davidson (John Mills) who is wrongfully convicted for murder and given parole after 12 years. Will Philip choose revenge upon the witnesses who lied during the trial, or give himself a fresh start?
Directed by Robert Hamer (Kind Hearts and Coronets, Dead of Night, Father Brown), the film stars John Mills (Gandhi, Bean, Great Expectations), John McCallum (Skippy, Boney, Attack Force Z) and Elizabeth Sellars (The Barefoot Contessa, The Chalk Garden, The Day They Robbed the Bank of England).
Queen Street and Granby Road in Gravesend feature in the film as the locations for the two Tim Pewsey residences.
The marshes of the Medway Estuary around Stangate Creek and Iwade were used as the location where Phillip Davidson’s (John Mills) barge is moored.
The historic market town of Gravesend is on the south bank of the River Thames and boasts a cast iron pier, promenade and high street. The area is easily accessible with train links at the nearby Ebbsfleet International station and is close to the M25. The Gravesend area has previously welcomed film productions such as The Interceptor(2015), Babylon(2014) and Age of Heroes (2011).
O Dreamland is a short documentary film made in 1953 by just the director Lindsay Anderson and a cameraman and is about amusement park Dreamland in Margate.
The film takes the audience on a tour of Dreamland in Margate and its various attractions such as bingo, arcades, rides, café and mechanical puppets set to background noise and music.
The 12 minute film was made with basic equipment – a single camera and an audiotape recorder and after completion it was shelved and likely never to be shown however Anderson decided to screen the film as part of the Free Cinema programme.
Dreamlandhas been closed since 2006 but there are redevelopment of the site is being undertaken with plans to re-open in 2014.
Margateis a delightful seaside town with a sandy beach, harbour, arcades, galleries and period housing. Margatehas become a popular location having previously welcomed productions such as Sky Atlantic drama The Tunnel (2012), BBC One’s improvised drama True Love (2012) and feature film Last Orders (2002).
Stars: Roger Livesey, Honor Blackman, Richard Burton
Production Company: Association of Cinema Technicians (A.C.T.)
Kent Locations Used: New Romney, Romney Marsh
British comedy film Green Grow the Rushes is based on the 1949 novel of the same name by Howard Clewes. Captain Biddle (Roger Livesey) smuggles alcohol along with Robert (Richard Burton), who poses as a fisherman, but when a reporter, Meg (Honor Blackman), arrives in town as well as a group of Government officials investigating the lack of farming on the marshes, will their scheme be exposed?
The film is directed by Derek Twist (Police Dog, Rx For Murder, All Over the Town) and stars Roger Livesey (The Entertainer, A Matter of Life and Death, The League of Gentlemen), Honor Blackman (Goldfinger,The Avengers, Bridget Jones’s Diary) and a young Richard Burton (Anne of the Thousand Days,Nineteen Eighty-Four, Where Eagles Dare).
Green Grow the Rushes was filmed in New Romney and on Romney Marsh which double as the town and marshland.
Starring: Pauline Stroud, Dennis Price, John McCallum, Stanley Holloway, Diana Dors
Production Company: ZSA
Kent location used: Folkestone – The Leas Cliff Hall, The Metropole, Rotunda Amusement Park and Folkestone West Train Station
Lady Godiva Rides Again is a British comedy film about a small town girl who wins a local beauty pageant and finds herself unprepared for the cutthroat world of fame when she competes in a rigged Fascination Soap beauty competition.
The film was inspired by the 1950 Miss Kent beauty pageant which was held at The Leas CliffHall where director and writer Frank Launder was one of the judges in the competition.
The film was directed by Frank Launder (The Lady Vanishes, The Green Man, The Great St. Trinian’s Train Robbery) who also co-wrote alongside Val Valentine (We Dive at Dawn, Rich and Strange, Blue Murder at St. Trinian’s).
The cast includes Pauline Stroud(Skyport, Harpers West One), John McCallum (The Long Memory,Skippy, Boney), Dennis Price (Kind Hearts and Coronets, Tunes of Glory, Victim), Stanley Holloway (My Fair Lady, Brief Encounter, The Lavender Hill Mob) and Diana Dors (The Unholy Wife, I Married a Woman, A Kid for Two Farthings).
The production visited Folkestone where they filmed at The Leas CliffHall, which was used as the location for the beauty competition and The Metropole, which was the setting for the seaside hotel hosting the Fascination Soap Pageant. Folkestone West Train Station features in the film for the scenes where Marjorie Clark (Pauline Stroud), arrives and meets Dolores August (Diana Dors). The now closed Rotunda Amusement Park was also used for the scenes where Larry (John McCallum) and Marjorie visit and go on rides.
Folkestone is a town in the Shepway district of Kent and boasts a beach, quaint streets and many studios and galleries at the Creative Quarter. The Leas CliffHall is a theatre and entertainment venue offering splendid views across the channel. The Metropole is an old spa hotel which has been redeveloped into flats. The area has used for filming by productions such as The Tunnel(2013), Is Anybody There? (2009) and The Darling Buds of May (1991 – 1993).
Lady Godiva Rides Again was released in cinemas on October 1951 and is now available to buy on DVD.
Starring: Dennis Price, Alec Guinness, Valerie Hobson, Joan Greenwood, Hugh Griffith
Production Company: Ealing Studios, Michael Balcon Productions
Kent Locations:Leeds Castle, Harrietsham, Boughton Monchelsea
Kind Hearts and Coronets is based on the novel Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal byRoy Horniman which tells the story of Louis Mazzini, an aristocrat descendent who sets out to murder eight D’Ascoynes family heirs in order to become the Duke.
The film has become a timeless classic, being regarded as one of best British films of all time. It has been included in both Time magazine and the BFI top 100 British films of all time.
Eight of the D’Ascoynes, are played by the legendary Alec Guiness who are one by one they are murdered in a variety of ways from poisoning to drowning and even exploding.
Leeds Castle doubled as Chalfont Castle, the D’Ascoynes family home. Located on the outskirts of Maidstone, Leeds Castlewas built as a Norman stronghold and became the home of royalty, including Henry VIII when he visited Kent. Surrounded by a mote and 500 acres of gardens, the Castle became a monument to the Tudor era and a popular tourist destination. It has previously been used for productions such as The Hairy Bikers Food Tour of Britain(2009) and Lady Jane(1987).
The film also shot outside The Cock Inn pub in Boughton Monchelsea village for the scene where Louis (Dennis Price) takes photos and meets Henry (Alec Guinness). The village is on the outskirts of Maidstone and contains an array of urban and rural land and historic features including a church built in 1100 and a 16th century manor house.
Harrietsham village was also used for the scene where Louis (Dennis Price) rides around the village. Harrietsham is a rural village to the east of Maidstone and has many Grade I listed buildings including The Old House and Saxon Church of St John the Baptist.
Kind Hearts and Coronets was released in 1969 and is now available on DVD.
Starring: Googie Withers, Jean Kent, John McCallum, Derek Bond, Henry Mollison, Chips Rafferty, Sonia Holm
Production Company: Ealing Studios
Kent Locations Used: Romney Marsh, St Clements Church, Dungeness beach, The New Inn, The Woolpack Inn
Joanna Godden (Googie Withers) inherits Little Baynham Sheep Farm after the death of her father and decides to defy tradition and run the farm herself. However, her resilient dedication to make the farm a success as well as stubbornness to accept help means she risks losing the man she truly loves.
Starring Googie Withers (Shine, Dead of Night), Jean Kent (The Browning Version, The Prince and the Showgirl), John McCallum (Skippy, Barrier Reef), Derek Bond (The Hand, Scott of the Antartic), Henry Mollison (The Man in the White Suit, Chelsea Story), Chips Rafferty (Mutiny on the Bound, the Sundowners), and Sonia Holm (Miranda, the Calendar).
A historical British drama largely filmed on location on the idyllic Romney Marsh. The Marsh covers an area of 100 square miles and is one of three great coastal marshlands of Southern England. Dungeness features as the setting for the romantic scenes where Joanna and her fiancé Martin (DerekBond) take a trip to the beach. Romney Marsh and Dungeness have since welcomed productions such as Parades End (2012) and The Inspector Lynley Mysteries – Natural Causes (2006).
St Clement’s Church in Old Romney features in the film as the local church where a Christmas carol service is held for the villagers. It is one of the oldest churches in Kent, constructed in the 12th century. The same church later doubled as Dr Syn’s Dymchurch parish in Walt Disney’s production of Dr Syn(1964).
The No.3 train was hired out by the production team from the Kent and East Sussex Railway for the scene at Lydd Town Station, where Joanna greets her sister. The train was disguised with plates reading ‘SE&CR’. Kent and East Sussex Railway has also featured in Last Passenger(2013).
Other Kent Locations include The New Inn, a grade II listed pub situated on New Romney High Street and The Woolpack Inn, a 600 year old Inn located in the heart of the marsh.
The Film first premiered in 1947 and is now available to buy on DVD.
Written By: Charles Dickens (Novel) & David Lean (Adaptation)
Starring: John Mills, Valerie Hobson, Tony Wager, Bernard Miles and Martita Hunt
Production Company: Cineguild, National Symphony Orchestra
Kent Locations Used: St Mary’s Marshes, The River Medway
Great Expectations was the first of David Lean’s two adaptations of Dickens’ classic novels (Oliver Twist followed in 1948). The film tells the story of young Pip (Tony Wager), a good natured orphan, who lives with kind blacksmith Joe Gargery (Bernard Miles) and his often abusive wife “Mrs. Joe”. Whilst visiting the graves of his deceased parents he meets an escaped convict named Abel Magwitch. In fear for his life Pip agrees to get the man some food before he is discovered and captured again.
Pip’s fortunes appear to change with the arrival of Miss Havisham (Martita Hunt) in his life. A tragic recluse, Miss Havisham lives in one room in her large house surrounded by memorabilia from her ill-fated wedding. Inviting Pip to her home to amuse her, she encourages her spiteful daughter Estella to break his heart. Eventually Pip (John Mills) attracts the attention of a mysterious benefactor who pays for him to travel to London and learn to be a gentleman in the hope of him achieving his “great expectations”.
Restoration House in Rochester was Dicken’s inspiration for“Satis House”, the decaying mansion of Miss Havisham. Faithful to Dicken’s, the production carefully reproduced Restoration House in Denham Sudios in Buckinghamshire. Restoration House is the amalgamation of two medieval buildings that were combined in the 16th or 17th century. A Grade 1 listed building, it is rumoured that Charles II stayed there the night before he was restored to the throne, thus giving the building its name.
The River Medway and the adjacent St Mary’s Marshes appear in scenes where Pip and his friend, Herbert Pocket, row their boat to a small inn whilst waiting for the Paddlesteamer to arrive. Their boat later crashes into the Paddlesteamer in one of the most dramatic scenes in the film. The Paddlesteamer used in the film is called the “The Empress” which was owned by Weymouth Company Cosens & Co and brought down to Kent especially for the shoot. It is often confused with the Kent based “Kingswear Castle” Paddlesteamer that featured in the BBC 1999 drama of Great Expectations and the 1998 drama of Our Mutual Friend. The Kingswear Castle is still in use today and offers members of the public tours along the river starting at its base at The Historic Dockyard in Chatham.
Sheila Townsend’s Grandad, Jimmy Ennew, was a freeman of the river Medway and rented his row boat ‘The Ivy’ to the production team for filming. Sheila was 14yrs old at the time and remembers the excitement of sitting on the pier watching the filming.
Although the film features several important Kent locations, the novel on which the adaptation was based showcases many more. The church where Pip visits the graves of his deceased parents and has his first terrifying encounter with Magwitch was based on St James’ Church in Cooling. In the novel, Dickens mentions 5 lozenge shaped graves where Pip’s brothers were buried. It is believed that he was inspired by the 13 graves of the same shape within the church graveyard.
The tranquil park behind Rochester Cathedral, once a vineyard planted by monks from St Andrews Priory, is a convenient route for modern day tourists visiting the Cathedral to visit Restoration House in Crow Lane. In Dickens’ time the location was an open space and in his Great Expectations novel he chose it to form the last part of Pip’s regular route to visit Miss Havisham and Estella. Dickens based the character of Miss Havisham on an old woman who was his neighbour at his childhood home of Number 2 (now number 11) Ordnance Terrace in Chatham.
Great Expectations was released in 1946 and is available on DVD.
For more information on filming in Kent please contact: email@example.com
Inspired by the Chaucer tales, this classic film by cinema legends Powell and Pressburger tells the story of a modern day pilgrimage to the beautiful city of Canterbury. Set in the 1940’s amidst the drama of World War II, the film opens with the chance meeting of American G.I Bob Johnson (John Sweet), Land Girl Alison Smith (Shelia Sim) and British Soldier Peter Gibbs (Dennis Price).
On disembarking a train headed for Canterbury, the three arrive in the sleepy fictional village of Chillingbourne. Soldier Peter Gibbs has been stationed at a nearby Army Camp, Alison is due to start work on a local farm and G.I Bob accidentally got off the train believing it to be the stop for Canterbury. On leaving the station to walk to the town hall, Alison is attacked by the Glue Man, a mysterious assailant who pours glue onto the hair of local girls. The three decide to stay in the area in order to do some sleuthing.
Filmed at Denham Studios and on location around Kent, the film is a visually stunning walk through some of the most scenic locations in the county. Selling Train Station cameos as Chillingbourne Station, where the three main protagonists first meet. Several Kentish villages were used for the fictional location of Chillingbourne. The historical village of Wingham was established in Roman times but it has been inhabited since the Stone Age. In 1286, the Archbishop of Canterbury founded a college in the area and many of the local buildings date back to this time, including The Red Lion Inn which was used for exterior shots of The Hand of Glory Inn for the film.
Another local Kent village, Fordwich was used for r exterior shots of “Chillingbourne” village. Before the Wantsum Channel, a stretch of water that divided The Isle of Thanet from Kent, dried up Fordwich was the main port serving Canterbury.
Near the picturesque village of Chilham, Chilham Mill provided the perfect backdrop for the charming scene where American soldier Joe sails in a row boat with the local children. The mill is the best preserved on the River Stour. It is said that the village itself was inspiration for the name of fictional village Chillingbourne in the film and if true, this would certainly not be the last time Chilham inspired filmmakers. A popular tourist attraction for the county, TV drama’s such as Miss Marple (2006) and Poirot(1995) have filmed in the village.
Another local mill in nearby village Wickhambreaux also appeared in the film. As Joe and land girl Alison ride on a cart through the beautiful Kent countryside, the mill features in the background of the shot. The perfect rural setting, the village was once home to Joan of Kent who was wife to Edward Plantagenet, the father of infamous English King Richard II.
The City of Canterburysteals the show at the end of the film as the setting for the dramatic parade of soldiers through the main High Street. The city skyline is dominated by the stunning Cathedralwhich is the oldest in England. Canterburyis a place that is both steeped in heritage and tradition and a modern, bustling city. A Canterbury Tale gives a modern day viewer an insight into how the Second World War affected the city, but even with visible bomb damage, many of the streets used can still be recognised today. The Cathedralitself paid homage to A Canterbury Tale in 2006 when the film was screened in the Cathedral Nave.
Set in early World War II, Contraband is about a Danish sea captain, delayed in a British port when a blackout occurs. The darkness brings chaos with smugglers and spies wanting to take advantage and the captain is forced to participate in a game of cat and mouse through the dark streets of London looking for important papers that belong to the ship. However, he discovers something a lot bigger than a few thieves trying to make a quick profit.
Directed by Michael Powell (Black Narcissus, A Matter of Life and Death, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp), the film stars Conrad Veidt (Nazi Agent, Casablanca, Above Suspicion), Valerie Hobson (The Voice of Merrill, Background, Knave of Hearts) and Hay Petrie (Noose, The Monkey’s Paw, The Queen of Spades).
Ramsgate, particularly the harbour and railway station doubled as the fictional town Eastgate-on-Sea in the film.