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Kay Kendall

Leading make-up artist Harry Frampton touches up Kay Kendall’s make-up in between scenes, on the set of Meet Mr Lucifer (1953)

Harry Frampton’s career as a make-up artist spanned around five decades, and he worked on dozens of Ealing Studios productions. Despite perhaps being seen as a typically feminine role, the make-up department at Ealing Studios was largely dominated by men.

“It was quite a surprise when [Sir Michael Balcon] appointed a woman as Head of Publicity”

There was often a pattern of hiring new female employees into low-level roles such as assistants, rather than women who were specifically trained and could fill a higher-level position. This suggests that it was more difficult for women in the film industry to climb the ladder and could be a reason as to why so many women are uncredited for their work at Ealing Studios.

Listen to Roy below talking about a surprise (for his boss) appointment.

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Female head of publicity

Audio transcript

Roy Gough: Sir Michael Balcon appointed this young woman ‘Head of Publicity’, which was a very unusual thing for a Head of Department to be a woman at Ealing. And my boss…called me in ‘cos we were directly responsible to her for supplying photographs for publicity. And he said ‘Roy, they’ve – Mick’s gone mad – they’ve appointed a woman as Head of Publicity. But I’m not taking orders from any bloody woman, and neither are you! Anything she wants done she will do through me and not with you direct.’ Well we soon got over that, because he’d gone around and she used to slip in for ideas or two, and suddenly my boss disappeared – so she won.

Interviewer: Jolly good

Roy Gough: Shouldn’t have upset anybody that Sir Michael Balcon himself put in.

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