Whilst the majority of Ealing Studios productions were filmed on site at the sound stages at Ealing Green, it was often necessary for film crews and units to travel abroad for filming.
Ealing Studios also took advantage of their close proximity to central London and made extensive use of various locations around the city for films such as The Ladykillers, The Blue Lamp, Pool of London and The Lavender Hill Mob - some of which was filmed in Gunnersbury Park.
There were many practical challenges with filming on location, mostly due to the size and weight of the camera equipment that was used in the mid-20th Century.
In his oral history for Gunnersbury Park Museum, recorded in 1999, Roy discusses the limitations of location filming due to the heavy equipment that was used. Listen to the clip below!
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Filming a pub scene in real life
Roy Gough: If you had, say, a sequence in a pub, you built the pub inside. I would go out and photograph some pubs, come back, the art department would build a pub because we had our own construction crew inside as you know, and then everything would be filmed, even to feign a sort of smoky atmosphere and so on, simply because you could not film with the equipment in those days in a real pub. Eh, in fact, Dougie Slocombe who was one of our eh, best lugging cameramen, on my first film ‘Painted Boats’ it was pouring with rain, and the director said “what a pity they haven’t finished the pub set because we could have gone back to London and shot all that sequence until the weather turned out”, and Dougie Slocombe said “But there’s a real pub the other side of the canal”. And he said “look, don’t be a fool Dougie, you can’t film in a real pub”. He said “well look let me have a go”. And we got a camera over there without sound – ‘Mitchell’ which is reasonably big but possible and he sent the boy out to buy a lot of [indecipherable] which are very bright lamps, and he strung these all over the pub, and got everybody to smoke up a bit, and he shot a real pub sequence.
Interviewer: And that at that time was quite unusual.
Roy Gough: That was an innovation yes. And it was years later before that ever became the normal routine when you got smaller portable lamps, smaller portable cameras and nowadays I should think anybody would never think of building a pub set.