Starring: Terence Stamp, Samantha Eggar, Maurice Dallimore
Production Company: Collector Company, Columbia Pictures Corporation
Kent locations used: Gabriel’s Manor in Edenbridge and Westerham Village
The Collector is a psychological thriller based on the fantasies of Freddie Clegg (Terence Stamp). His obsession with collecting beautiful objects begins innocently with butterflies. However, after several years of stalking the woman he loves, Miranda (Samantha Eggar), he decides he must collect her. After locking the pretty art student in an outbuilding on his property, he hopes that in time she will fall in love with him. Miranda soon realises that there is a chance she may never escape.
Directed by Three time Oscar winner William Wyler (Miss Miniver 1943, The Best Years of Our Lives 1947, Ben Hur 1960) and starring Terence Stamp (Smallville, Wanted), Samantha Eggar (Hercules, Dr Dolittle) , Maurice Dallimore(Johnny Got His Gun).
Westerham makes a brief appearance towards the end of the film when Freddie goes looking for a doctor. Westerham is a pretty Kentish town known for its stately homes, beautiful gardens, monuments and country pubs. It is located in the Sevenoaks district and easily commutable from London.
Also located in Sevenoaks is Edenbridge, a small town with a largely medieval character. Gabriel’s Manor in Edenbridge was the perfect setting for Freddie’s house with its secluded location, private driveway and outhouse located at the front of the property.
The Collector was first released in 1965 and is now available to buy on DVD.
French Dressing is a comedy film set in the fictional seaside town of Gormleigh-on-Sea about a deckchair attendant, Jim Stephens (James Booth) who is deputised to organise a film festival. After finally convincing French movie star pin-up Françoise Fayol (Marisa Mell) to attend, a series of unplanned mishaps threatens the festival’s success.
The directorial debut of Ken Russell (Tommy, The Devils, The Lair of the White Worm), French Dressing stars James Booth (Zulu, Keeping Mum, Pray for Death), Roy Kinnear(Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Help!, The Hill) and Marisa Mell (Marta, One on Top of the Other One, Casanova ’70).
The film was almost entirely filmed in Herne Baywhich doubles as Gormleigh-on-Sea and the Kings Hall doubles as the Council Offices. The Medway Queen Paddle Steameris used in the scenes when Jim Stephens (James Booth) and Henry Liggott (Roy Kinnear) take the boat to France.
Herne Bayis a traditional seaside town offering two miles of splendid coast including a delightful beach with colourful beach huts, bandstand and seafront gardens as well as many shops and eateries and amusement arcades. Herne Bayhas been used as a film location on projects such as Boomers(2014), Big Bad World (2013) and Things I Haven’t Told You (2008).
French Dressing was released in 1964 and is now available on DVD.
Starring: Patrick McGoohan, George Cole, Michael Hordern, Tony Britton, Sean Scully, Alan Dobie
Production Company: Walt Disney Productions
Kent Locations Used: Romney Marsh, St Clement’s Church Old Romney
In 18th Century England, the Vicar of Dymchurch (Patrick McGoohan) takes on the alias of The Scarecrow. Alongside his gang of smugglers, they turn against the King and his high taxes, by smuggling goods across the Romney Marshes. The Scarecrow comes under threat from the Kings army after they learn of his rebel gang, and he becomes a wanted man. Aided by the locals, the Scarecrow must come up with a plan to get rid of the Kings army whilst maintaining his successful smuggling operations that many locals have come to rely on.
The film was released as part of the DisneyTreasures Collection in 1964. Walt Disney adapted the stories from the original DR Syn books written by Russell Thorndike, and the later book ‘Christopher Syn’ written by William Buchanan. Originally, the production was only intended to be aired in three parts on Disney’s weekly television show Wonderful World of Colour, but was later adapted for release on DVD.
The film stars Patrick McGoohan (Treasure Planet, Columbo), George Cole (The Dinner Party, My Good Friend),Michael Hordern (Wind in the Willows, The Secret Garden), Tony Britton (The Way We Live Now, Don’t Tell Father), Sean Scully (Two Door Mansion, Evil Never Dies) and Alan Dobie (The Hospice, Kessler).
Romney Marshes were the background to the production and so featured throughout the film and consist of around 100 square miles of coastal marshlands located in South EastKent. It is a popular tourist destination due to its sandy beaches, historic buildings and diverse landscape which is perfect for walkers and cyclists. Romney Marsh has also featured in Parades End (2012), Great Expectations (2012) and The Inspector Lynley Mysteries – Natural Causes(2006).
St Clement’s Church in Old Romney doubled as Dr Syn’s Dymchurch parish church in the production. Walt Disney funded the repair of the building in order to use it as a filming location. The interior was painted pink by the crew and remains so to this day.
The 3 Part TV series first aired in 1963 and is available to watch on DVD.
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).
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.
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.