British Lion Films

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Opening logo, 1971

British Lion Films is a film production and distribution company active under several forms since 1919. Originally known as British Lion Film Corporation Ltd, it went into receivership of 1 June 1954.[1] From 29 January 1955[2] to 1976 the company was known as British Lion Films Ltd, and was a pure distribution company with a filmography of 232 films. As a production company they are still active and have produced over 170 films.[3]

British Lion was founded in November 1927 by Sam .W. Smith (brother of Herbert Smith). By the end of World War II, the company had released over 55 films, including In Which We Serve, for which writer/producer Noël Coward received an Academy Award. It is best known for the period when it was managed by Sir Alexander Korda. Korda's company London Films bought the controlling interest in British Lion in 1946 and then acquired Shepperton Studios, basing its productions there. In 1949, due to financial problems, they accepted a loan from the National Film Finance Corporation. Not being able to pay it back, the company went into receivership in 1955. As a result British Lion Films Ltd. was formed as a distribution company in January 1955, with the Boulting brothers, Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat as directors. Until 1976 their distributor filmography included 155 films.[4]

British Lion Films Ltd was taken over by EMI in 1976. The collection was subsequently sold to Cannon, then Weintraub Entertainment, then Movie Acquisitions Corporation, which was renamed Lumiere Pictures, then UGC (DA), now with StudioCanal. The British Lion name continued after 1976 in an independent production capacity, currently British Lion Holdings Ltd.

Selected films produced or distributed by British Lion[edit]

A = The Archers
I = Individual Pictures
LF = London Films

References[edit]