Balcon, Michael

(1896—1977) film producer

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British film producer and production executive. He was knighted in 1948. Born in Birmingham, Balcon began his career as a regional film distributor in 1919 and produced his first film, Woman to Woman, in 1923 with Alfred Hitchcock as art director, screenwriter, and assistant director. Subsequently Balcon founded Gainsborough Pictures (1928) and became director of production with Gaumont-British (1931) and MGM-British (1936), during which time he was responsible for films such as Man of Aran (1933), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), and The Thirty-Nine Steps (1935).

But the studio with which his name became synonymous was Ealing, where he was director and chief of production from 1937 to 1959. Classic comedies that were produced under his guidance included Kind Hearts and Coronets, Passport to Pimlico, and Whisky Galore (all 1949), The Man in the White Suit (1951), The Lavender Hill Mob (1952), and the last Ealing comedy, The Ladykillers (1955); many of these films featured Alec Guinness. Hue and Cry (1947), The Blue Lamp (1950), The Cruel Sea (1953), The Divided Heart (1954), and Dunkirk (1958) were among his other notable films. In 1964 he also served for a time as chairman of British Lion Films.

From Who's Who in the Twentieth Century in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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