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  • Writer's pictureHenry K. Miller

Saturday 18 February

Motion Picture Studio makes brief reference to ‘the closing down of the F.-P. Lasky studios’. The back page of the paper, which tracks activity across British studios, no longer includes Poole Street. On another page it is reported that Donald Crisp is to make ‘several films’ for the Bird Film Company, including At Your Service, and that ‘there is some talk’ of him using Poole Street.

Donald Crisp as Battling Burrows, 'a gorilla of the jungles of East London', in Broken Blossoms (1919).

Born in Britain – he invented a backstory for himself that was taken apart only after his death – Crisp had entered the film business as part of D. W. Griffith’s company, as an actor and assistant; notably, he had played the monstrous father in Griffith’s Limehouse-set melodrama Broken Blossoms, opposite Lillian Gish as his daughter. He became a director at Famous Players-Lasky in the late 1910s, arriving in London in September 1920 to direct the second batch of Poole Street films, The Princess of New York and Appearances, the latter being the first film Alma Reville worked on at the studio. After a break Crisp had directed a third film for British FP-L, The Bonnie Briar Bush, in late 1921. All three of Crisp’s British FP-L films were written by the Scottish-born screenwriter Margaret Turnbull, another likely mentor of Hitchcock’s.

There was no categorical announcement that FP-L was ceasing production at Poole Street, just a steady accumulation of news of this kind.


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