HandMade Films

HandMade Films is a British film production and distribution company. Notable films from the studio include Monty Python's Life of Brian, Time Bandits and Withnail and I.[1]

HandMade Films
Private
IndustryFilmmaking, distribution
Founded1978
FounderGeorge Harrison
Denis O'Brien
HeadquartersLondon, England, UK
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
David Francis
Websitewww.handmadefilms.film

HistoryEdit

HandMade Films was formed by former Beatle George Harrison and business partner Denis O'Brien in 1978 to finance the Monty Python film Life of Brian.[1] Harrison had first been introduced to O'Brien by actor Peter Sellers in 1973. Soon after, the two went into business together.[2]

When the original financiers of Brian, EMI Films, pulled out of the project less than a week before filming was to commence, the creators had to find other financing.[3][4] Harrison, a friend and fan of the Pythons, mortgaged his home in order to finance the feature.[1] Eric Idle of the Pythons later called it "the most anybody's ever paid for a cinema ticket in history".[5] Life of Brian grossed $21 million at the box office in the US.[2]

Harrison explained: "The name of the company came about as a bit of a joke. I'd been to Wookey Hole in Somerset ... [near] an old paper mill where they show you how to make old underpants into paper. So I bought a few rolls, and they had this watermark 'British Handmade Paper' ... So we said ... we'll call it Handmade Films."[2] The first film distributed by HandMade Films was The Long Good Friday (1980), and the first they produced was Time Bandits (1981), a co-scripted project by Monty Python's Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin.[6] The film featured a new song by Harrison, "Dream Away", in the closing credits.[7] Time Bandits became one of HandMade's most successful and acclaimed efforts; with a budget of $5 million, it earned $35 million in the US within ten weeks of its release.[7]

Harrison served as executive producer for 23 films with HandMade, including Mona Lisa, Shanghai Surprise and Withnail and I. He made several cameo appearances in these films, including a role as a nightclub singer in Shanghai Surprise, for which he recorded five new songs.[8] According to Ian Inglis, Harrison's "executive role in HandMade Films helped to sustain British cinema at a time of crisis, producing some of the country's most memorable movies of the 1980s."[9]

Financial problemsEdit

Following a series of box office bombs in the late 1980s and excessive debt incurred by O'Brien, which was guaranteed by Harrison, HandMade's financial situation became precarious.[10][11] The company ceased operations in 1991[1] and was sold three years later to Paragon Entertainment, a Canadian corporation.[12] Afterwards, Harrison sued O'Brien for $25 million for fraud and negligence, resulting in an $11.6 million judgment in 1996.[13][1]

Subsequent historyEdit

In 1994, the company was acquired by Paragon Entertainment Corporation of Toronto, Canada, which restarted production under the HandMade name in 1996-1997.[14] The company's most notable release of that era was Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998). In 1999 Patrick Meehan and Cartier Investments acquired HandMade from Paragon.[15][16]

In June 1999, The Equator Group plc became the exclusive distributor and manager of the HandMade Films library,[17] and attempted to purchase the company from Cartier outright, but negotiations were unsuccessful until a reverse takeover agreement with Hand Made Holdings Ltd[18] announced on 15 May 2006.[19] The Equator Group reincorporated as HandMade Plc on 8 June 2006[20] and the new company was traded on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) stock exchange (changing its ticker symbol from EQG to HMF). Trading of HandMade plc shares was suspended several times, notably June to October 2009, after the company failed to provide 2008 audit results to shareholders.[21][22]

One 29 April 2010, Almorah Services Ltd tendered a takeover bid, priced at £0.01 per share in cash[23] and HMF was delisted from the AIM on 29 June 2010.[24] HandMade plc was re-registered as HandMade Limited, a private company, on 2 February 2011.[25] Handmade Limited entered administration on 11 July 2012, liquidation on 24 April 2013,[26] and was dissolved on 22 February 2018.[27]

In 2016, Park Circus purchased distribution rights to the HandMade film library.[28]

In 2017, following an investigation by the Insolvency Service, three HandMade Limited directors were disqualified from acting as a director of a company: Patrick Anthony Meehan for 13 years, David Bernard Ravden for five and a half years, and Peter William Parkinson for four years. The directors misused funds to "pay off relatives" and "on matters undisclosed to advisers, shareholder or potential investors".[26]

As of March 2019, the company remains dormant.[needs update]

FilmographyEdit

Year Title Director Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1970s
1979 Monty Python's Life of Brian Terry Jones 95% (64 reviews)[29] 77% (15 reviews)[30]
A Sense of Freedom John Mackenzie N/A
1980s
1980 The Long Good Friday John Mackenzie 96% (28 reviews)[31] N/A
1981 Time Bandits Terry Gilliam 89% (46 reviews)[32] 79% (18 reviews)[33]
Tattoo Bob Brooks 33% (6 reviews)[34] N/A
Venom Piers Haggard 43% (7 reviews)[35] N/A
The Burning Tony Maylam 86% (7 reviews)[36] N/A
1982 Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl Terry Hughens (live segments)
Ian MacNaughton (film segments)
N/A
Scrubbers Mai Zetterling N/A
The Missionary Richard Loncraine N/A
Privates on Parade Michael Blakemore N/A
1983 Bullshot Dick Clement N/A
1984 A Private Function Malcolm Mowbray 88% (8 reviews)[37] N/A
1985 Water Dick Clement N/A
1986 Mona Lisa Neil Jordan 97% (30 reviews)[38] N/A
Shanghai Surprise Jim Goddard 13% (8 reviews)[39] N/A
1987 Withnail and I Bruce Robinson 94% (31 reviews)[40] N/A
Bellman and True Richard Loncraine N/A
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne Jack Clayton N/A
1988 Track 29 Nicolas Roeg 67% (6 reviews)[41] N/A
Five Corners Tony Bill 78% (9 reviews)[42] N/A
The Raggedy Rawney Bob Hoskins N/A
1989 Checking Out David Leland 20% (5 reviews)[43] N/A
How to Get Ahead in Advertising Bruce Robinson 57% (14 reviews)[44] N/A
Powwow Highway Jonathan Wacks 100% (9 reviews)[45] N/A
Cold Dog Soup Alan Metter N/A
1990s
1990 Nuns on the Run Jonathan Lynn 47% (19 reviews)[46] N/A
New ownership - 1994
1997 The Wrong Guy David Steinberg N/A
1998 Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels Guy Ritchie 75% (65 reviews)[47] 66% (30 reviews)[48]
2000s
2006 Eloise: The Animated Series Wes Archer N/A
2008 Manolete Menno Meyjes N/A
Fifty Dead Men Walking Kari Skogland 84% (51 reviews)[49] 57% (16 reviews)[50]
2009 Planet 51 Jorge Blanco 22% (108 reviews)[51] 39% (21 reviews)[52]
Cracks Jordan Scott 43% (49 reviews)[53] 54% (12 reviews)[54]
2010s
2010 127 Hours Danny Boyle 93% (224 reviews)[55] 82% (38 reviews)[56]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e Barber, Nicholas (3 April 2019). "How George Harrison – and a very naughty boy – saved British cinema". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Harry 2003, p. 211.
  3. ^ HandMade Films at the BFI's Screenonline
  4. ^ Davies 2009, pp. 362–363; Doggett 2009, p. 262.
  5. ^ Doggett 2009, p. 262.
  6. ^ Harry 2003, p. 212.
  7. ^ a b Inglis 2010, p. 83.
  8. ^ Leng 2006, p. 244.
  9. ^ Inglis 2010, p. xvi.
  10. ^ Sellers, Robert (2013). Very Naughty Boys: The Amazing True Stories of HandMade Films. London: Titan Books. ISBN 9781781167083.
  11. ^ Dawtrey 2002, p. 207.
  12. ^ Harry 2003, pp. 214–15.
  13. ^ Morris, Chris. "George Harrison Wins $11.6 Mill. In Suit Vs. Ex-Partner" Billboard 3 February 1996: 13
  14. ^ Entertainment, Paragon. "PARAGON/HANDMADE FILMS TO MAKE FIVE FEATURES IN FIRST HALF OF 1997". www.prnewswire.co.uk. Archived from the original on 14 December 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  15. ^ "HandMade offering". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. 17 May 2006. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  16. ^ Blackwell, David (16 May 2006). "HandMade set for Aim after £15m deal". Financial Times. Pearson PLC. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  17. ^ "Equator Group PLC Interim Results - 6 months ended 30 June 1999". Investigate.co.uk. FE fundinfo. 28 October 1999. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  18. ^ "Equator Group PLC EGM Results and Board Changes". Investegate.co.uk. FE fundinfo. 8 June 2006. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  19. ^ "Equator Group PLC re-Admission to trading". Investigate.co.uk. FE fundinfo. 15 May 2006. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  20. ^ "Certificate of Incorporation on Change of Name, Company No. 3270629" (PDF). Companies House. 8 June 2006. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  21. ^ McNabb, Geoffrey (1 July 2009). "HandMade Plc shares suspended as it fails to produce accounts". ScreenDaily. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  22. ^ Allen, Katie (7 January 2010). "Aim-listed HandMade films asks for share suspension". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  23. ^ "Almorah Services Ltd Offer for Handmade plc". Investegate.co.uk. FE fundinfo. 29 April 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  24. ^ "Cancellation - Handmade plc". Investegate.co.uk. FE fundinfo. 29 June 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  25. ^ "Certificate of Incorporation on Re-Registration of a Public Company as a Private Company, Company No. 3270629" (PDF). Companies House. 2 February 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  26. ^ a b "Handmade film directors disqualified for misleading investors" (Press release). The Insolvency Service. 14 February 2017. 020 7596 6187. Archived from the original on 14 February 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  27. ^ "Dissolved" (PDF). Companies House. 22 February 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  28. ^ McNabb, Geoffrey (13 May 2016). "Park Circus to sell Handmade Films library". ScreenDaily. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  29. ^ "Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  30. ^ "Monty Python's Life of Brian Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  31. ^ "The Long Good Friday (1982)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  32. ^ "Time Bandits (1981)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  33. ^ "Time Bandits Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  34. ^ "Tattoo (1981)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  35. ^ "Venom (1981)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  36. ^ "The Burning (1981)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  37. ^ "A Private Function (1985)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  38. ^ "Mona Lisa (1986)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  39. ^ "Shanghai Surprise (1986)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  40. ^ "Withnail and I (1987)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  41. ^ "Track 29 (1988)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  42. ^ "Five Corners (1987)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  43. ^ "Checking Out (1989)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  44. ^ "How to Get Ahead in Advertising (1989)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  45. ^ "Powwow Highway (1989)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  46. ^ "Nuns on the Run (1990)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  47. ^ "Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels (1999)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  48. ^ "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  49. ^ "Fifty Dead Men Walking (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  50. ^ "Fifty Dead Men Walking Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  51. ^ "Planet 51 (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  52. ^ "Planet 51 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  53. ^ "Cracks (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  54. ^ "Cracks Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  55. ^ "127 Hours (2010)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  56. ^ "127 Hours Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 26 July 2018.

External linksEdit