Holiday Camp (film)

Holiday Camp is a 1947 British comedy drama film directed by Ken Annakin, starring Flora Robson, Jack Warner, Dennis Price, and Hazel Court, and also features Kathleen Harrison and Jimmy Hanley.[2] It is set at one of the then-popular holiday camps. It resonated with post-war audiences and was very successful. It was the first film to feature the Huggett family, who went on to star in "The Huggetts" film series.

Holiday Camp
"Holiday Camp" (1947).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKen Annakin
Written byPeter Rogers
Muriel Box
Sydney Box
addit. dialogue
Mabel Constanduros
Denis Constanduros
Ted Willis
Story byGodfrey Winn
Produced bySydney Box
StarringFlora Robson
Jack Warner
Dennis Price
Hazel Court
Music byBob Busby
Production
company
Distributed byGeneral Film Distributors
Release date
5 August 1947
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Budget£150,400[1]
Box office£184,300[1]

SynopsisEdit

The film documents, immediately after WWII, a working class London family's first visit to a summer holiday camp. It was the first film to feature the Huggett family, who went on to star in "The Huggetts" film series. The film is a kaleidoscope of events involving the Huggetts and others, including a pregnant young girl and her boyfriend, a sailor whose girlfriend has jilted him, a girl looking for a husband, a spinster, a pair of dishonest card sharps, and a murderer on the run.[3][4] It captures the round of organised leisure activities at the crowded camp and the ever present camp announcements.

CastEdit

DevelopmentEdit

The film was directed by Ken Annakin, who had made a number of documentaries for producer Sydney Box. When Box took over Gainsborough Pictures he hired Annakin to make Holiday Camp. It was part of Box's initial slate of pictures for the company, others including Jassy and Good Time Girl.[5]

The original story was by magazine writer Godfrey Winn. He went to a Butlin's holiday camp at Filey with Annakin to research. Annakin remembers Winn "put together a very good story" but Sydney and Muriel Box "decided we should add extra elements".[6] He says Muriel Box worked on the Dennis Price character, inspired by the Heath Murders, then they held a round table conference with Ted Willis, Peter Rogers and Mabel Constanduros. "Godfrey wasn't terribly happy about it because he thought he was going to have a single screen credit", says Annakin.[7]

Peter Rogers had worked as Muriel Box's assistant. He says he wrote "the screenplay and most of the stories... but Mabel Constanduros and one or two other people had little ideas. Sydney [Box] was always on the side of writers and always gave writers credit, even if they just had two lines in the script."[8] Rogers claims it was his idea to introduce the Dennis Price character and "the only bit that Mabel Constanduros contributed was the scene between Jack Warner and Kathleen Harrison on the cliffs."[8]

ProductionEdit

Camp exteriors were shot at Butlin's, Filey. The opening scenes of a train arriving at a seaside cliff-top station and of the passengers boarding buses outside the station were filmed at Sandsend railway station.[9]

Sydney Box used the film to introduce a number of new actors, including Susan Shaw and Hazel Court. It was Diana Dors' second film appearance.[10]

Some brief moments of Warner and Harrison exercising from the film, (and Michael Shepley playing golf), were re-used at the beginning of Into the Blue (1950 film).

ReceptionEdit

Box officeEdit

The film was the sixth most popular movie at the British box office in 1947.[11] According to Kinematograph Weekly the 'biggest winner' at the box office in 1947 Britain was The Courtneys of Curzon Street, with "runners up" being The Jolson Story, Great Expectations, Odd Man Out, Frieda, Holiday Camp and Duel in the Sun.[12]

Annakin attributed this in part "perhaps because I had come from documentary and British cinema at that time was very artificial. The Huggetts absolutely caught the spirit and feeling that existed after the war... People didn't want more fairy stories; they wanted something in which they could recognise themselves. Being of lower middle class origins myself, I felt at home with these people who were having a fine holiday in a very cheap place which provided wonderful entertainment. I think I caught the spirit of the holiday camps and we had a very warm, natural cast."[6]

Peter Rogers thought the film was a hit "the same way that the Carry Ons caught on – you've got ordinary people doing amusing things."[13]

The film made a reported profit of £16,000.[1]

CriticalEdit

Time Out wrote, "Time has mellowed the documentary quality of the film, and location shooting and authentic detail now seem less important than the presence of the whole range of British acting talent, from Dame Flora Robson to Cheerful Charlie Chester, among the cast of thousands."[14]

"I'm not embarrassed about Holiday Camp", said Annakin years later, "although the later Huggett films don't hold up well."[6]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Andrew Spicer, Sydney Box Manchester Uni Press 2006 p 210
  2. ^ "Holiday Camp (1947)". BFI. Archived from the original on 12 July 2012.
  3. ^ Holiday Camp Archived 1 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine, BritMovie.co.uk
  4. ^ Holiday Camp, IMDb
  5. ^ "PEOPLE AND PICTURES ON THE SET". The Mercury. CLXIV (23, 671). Tasmania. 19 October 1946. p. 3 (The Mercury Magazine). Retrieved 16 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ a b c McFarlane p 25
  7. ^ McFarlance p 25
  8. ^ a b McFarlane p 493
  9. ^ "Holiday Camp". REELSTREETS. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  10. ^ Vagg, Stephen (7 September 2020). "A Tale of Two Blondes: Diana Dors and Belinda Lee". Filmink.
  11. ^ "JAMES MASON 1947 FILM FAVOURITE". The Irish Times. Dublin, Ireland. 2 January 1948. p. 7.
  12. ^ Lant, Antonia (1991). Blackout : reinventing women for wartime British cinema. Princeton University Press. p. 232.
  13. ^ McFarlane 494
  14. ^ RMy, Holiday Camp, Time Out London
  • Brian McFarlane, An Autobiography of British Cinema, Methuem Film, 1997

External linksEdit