Mayflower Productions

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Mayflower Productions was a British-based film production company of the 1930s and 1950s.

Mayflower Pictures[edit]

Mayflower Pictures was formed in July 1937 by German-born film producer Erich Pommer and British actor Charles Laughton. John Maxwell was on the board. They announced they would make three films, all to star Laughton - Vessel of Wrath (1938), St. Martin's Lane (1938) and Jamaica Inn (1939). [1][2][3]

The films were all made. Jamaica Inn was the last film directed by Alfred Hitchcock before he left for America and marking the star debut of Maureen O'Hara, who was put under contract to the company.[4]

In March 1939 Mayflower signed a contract with Paramount for the latter to distribute four of their films in the US.[5] The fourth film would be a version of The Admirable Crichton with Laughton, Elsa Lanchester and O'Hara[6] There were also plans to make a movie about a journalist written by Bartlett Press.[7]

However the disappointing financial performance of the films saw the company lose its main backer, John Maxwell.

Laughton went to the US to appear in The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Pommer went with him to negotiate US distribution rights for the films; after this, war broke out, and as a German passport holder, Pommer was unable to return to England. O'Hara, Pommer and Laughton all went to work for RKO.[8][9] For a time, The Admirable Crichton was still discussed but the film was never made.[10] Neither was another proposed project, a biopic of Dr Samuel Johnson.[11]

Mayflower Productions[edit]

The company was re-activated in the late 1940s as "Mayflower Productions", the company of Maxwell Setton and Aubrey Baring.[12] It made seven films, mostly action stories, before the company was dissolved. The company initially borrowed money from Rank or ABPC. In December 1951 Setton arranged finance from the NFFC and the Treasury Capital Issue's Committee to finance South of Algiers provided he could get a distributor guarantee. This meant Setton only had to get a guarantee from a distributor, not actually money. Setton and Baring ultimately parted ways after a differing of opinion of what films to make. Setton set up Marksman Films.[13]


Mayflower Pictures[edit]

Mayflower Productions[edit]


  1. ^ STUDIO AND SCREEN: Films for Children--"Wuthering Heights"--Colour The Manchester Guardian 15 July 1937: 12.
  2. ^ "Laughton On Himself". Daily News. 1 (231). New South Wales, Australia. 28 August 1939. p. 7. Retrieved 21 November 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ "FILM WORLD". The West Australian. 53 (15, 964). Western Australia. 27 August 1937. p. 4. Retrieved 21 November 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ "FLINDERS RANGE FILM WILL SUIT MAUREEN OHARA". Sunday Times (2741). Perth. 10 September 1950. p. 21 (Sporting Section). Retrieved 21 November 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD: Jean Hersholt to Make Three Pictures in Character of Dr. Christian FOUR NEW SHOWS TODAY Paramount Acquires the Sole Distribution Rights for Mayflower Films Of Local Origin Disney Cartoon in French Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]08 Mar 1939: 26.
  6. ^ "Hollywood News". The Sydney Morning Herald (31, 637). 25 May 1939. p. 28. Retrieved 21 November 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ STUDIO AND SCREEN: ReligiousFilms--"Lawrence of Arabia"--Charles Laughton The Manchester Guardian (1901-1959); Manchester (UK) [Manchester (UK)]07 Oct 1937: 12.
  8. ^ Hardt, Ursula (1996). From Caligari to California: Erich Pommer's Life in the International Film Wars. Berghahn Books. p. 154.
  9. ^ "THE DIARY OF A TALKIE TOURIST". Truth (2613). Sydney. 4 February 1940. p. 40. Retrieved 21 November 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  10. ^ News of the Screen: Blue Bird" Set Laughton's Plans Rasputin" Business Incidental Intelligence The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current file); Boston, Mass. [Boston, Mass]24 Oct 1939: 10.
  11. ^ Laughton Refuses To Play Johnson The Washington Post (1923-1954); Washington, D.C. [Washington, D.C]18 Jan 1940: 8.
  12. ^ "British Company At Work Again". Weekly Times (4180). Victoria, Australia. 3 August 1949. p. 48. Retrieved 21 November 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  13. ^ Harper, Sue; Porter, Vincent (2003). British Cinema of the 1950s: The Decline of Deference. Oxford University Press. pp. 178–180.

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