Denham Studios


Walt Disney’s ‘Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men’ was the last major film production at Denham Studios. The massive film making complex, covering 165 acres and seven sound stages was built in Buckinghamshire by the Hungarian impresario Sir Alexander Korda. It was finally demolished in the 1970’s.

Richard Todd describes his final days at Denham Studios filming 'Robin Hood' in his autobiography ‘Caught in the Act’:

“The last few days on a happy picture are always a bit scrappy and nostalgic, as one by one the members of the cast and unit come to say goodbye, and 'Robin Hood' was no exception. But my last day at Denham Studios was a particular sad time. Ours was the last film to be made there, ever, as the Rank Organisation who owned it had decided to close film operations there, and had let it go to be used as a supply depot for the US Army. Walking about in the empty corridors and echoing sound stages was a lonely experience, indicative, perhaps, of the decline of film making in England. Much of the cinematic activity in Britain had been kept going by American productions using up frozen sterling earnings, and for that bridging operation many of our actors and technicians had reason to be grateful.

I was at Denham on that final day to film in the afternoon the Associated British trailer for the forthcoming annual Royal Film Performance, and Perce Pearce had arranged a splendid luncheon party for me and the few remaining people still there.

It really was a celebratory farewell ‘do’, as he had just seen a rough-cut of the whole film and was delighted with it.”

For more of the history of Denham Studios, including a map of the complex, click on the label Denham Studios in the right hand column of the website.

2 comments:

Clement of the Glen said...

Denham Studios
Sir Alexander Korda
Richard Todd
Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men

neil said...

some of the biggest sound stages in the world and as a film studio was of the size to compete with the best in Hollywood. It's location with the Lake at the back - used as a location for Treasure Island when the small boat with Long John Silver and Jum Hawkins arrive - and it's proximity to the River Colne where some of the sequences in Story of Robin Hood were filmed, was an added bonus to this huge site. Some of the sets built by Carmen Dillon for Robin Hood at Denham - Robin Hood's camp for instance was at least 200ft long and Nottingham Castle complete with Moat was constructed on a similar sized stage. There would have been no studio in England that could have offered such facilities. I still drive, on occasions, past the Denham Film Studios - or at least what is left of them - and still I feel a shiver of excitement when I look inside. Some of the geat classic films of English cinema were made here - Story of Robin Hood being rated alongside the best. Later on Rob Roy (at Elstree) I did feel that the sets were much more restricted. Back to Denham though, my favourite of all British Studios, it was a magic place and although hugely ambitious, I thank Alexander Korda for building these studios and wish so much that he could have pulled it off. It came so close to being a long term success. Story of Robin Hood was a fitting climax to those Denham years and I do believe that the film would have been nowhere near as good if it hadn't been made at Denham