As the webmaster of Elstree Calling, an unofficial website dedicated to Elstree Film Studios, you would think that I would delighted to hear that a new book celebrating Hammer Film's years at the studios had been published. And you'd be right!
Written by Wayne Kinsey, a fellow life-long Hammer Films fan, this book will not disappoint those like myself who are interested in the history of Hammer Films and indeed Elstree Film Studios. To prove my point readers will notice that Kinsey adds informative facts such as which of the stages were used for certain films. But there is more. Readers, like myself, who are interested in when, where and how much, will also lap up location details, production notes and budget details all prised from the official Hammer archive.
Featuring a large selection of production stills and behind the scenes photos, the book takes up from where the author left the story before in a previous book: 'Hammer Films: The Bray Studios Years'. And this book then takes the reader on an exhuastive journey, a journey which brings the story and the reader right up to date with the Hammer story.
Although mainly a Hammer horror fan, author Kinsey has found it in his heart to give 'Hammer Special Comedy Presentation' fans like myself a special treat in adding mentions of Hammer's comedies. For instance the three hugely-popular On the Buses films, which the author is the first to admit made Hammer a great deal of money.
The author interviewed a great number of people for this book including Patrick Allen and Val Guest. Both of the aformentioned, an actor and a director repectively, passed away last year. So fellow admirers of Allen and Guest will savour the recollections and thoughts of these much-missed contributors.
My only one real criticism of the book, and it is only a small one, is that apart from the excellent cover there isn't any colour photos included in the book. Which is shame, as I'm sure there are plenty within the archives.
So to sum up,'Hammer Films: The Elstree Studios Years' is in my opinion the first and the last word in books on Hammer and their years at Elstree. I only hope this isn't the last book which Kinsey writes on any part of the British film industry.