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FILM BOOM...

HOLLYWOOD'S Rod Steiger, Mexican stetson tilled lo shield a stubble covered jaw, talks with lead- ing lady, Marla Landi, on the tel of his first British film,

"Across the Bridge."

Rank Organisation making

record number of movies

By BILL STRUTTON, of our London staff

# The Rank Organisation is spreading its net far and wide to capture international stars and stories. At present

it is making no fewer than eight films at once.

THEY tell me this is a

world record capping anything any of the Holly- wood "greats" are doing. And it seems to squash finally the fear in the film

world here that television

is killing the cinema.

Everywhere in the studios, which circle the west of Lon-

don, the story is roughly the same-of studios busy on am- bitious new productions which aim to compete solidly and healthily with British tele- vision's vastly improving fare.

Pinewood's farthest-flung in- ternational location has been

in Australia, where Peter Finch and a cast and loca- tion crew, under director Jack Lee, did the outdoor sequences of "Robbery Under

Arms." Its interiors are all

being shot back here in Pine-

wood.

Moviemakers claim that

this type of big subject, filmed in color and looming large on the world's wide screens, finds no competition as yet from television and will still pull the millions into the

cinemas.

In Spain, down in the Sev- ille country, where the gui- tars thrum and the flamenco singers wail till dawn, Rod

HUSKY newcomer to British film» Tony Wright »trip» to the wain to enjoy the Mediterranean sunshine he gol to like so well while working in Europe. He's currently in Mar- seilles with a Rank film unit, making "Seven Thunders."

Steiger bas been happily and I hilariously at work on his first big British film, "Across the Bridge." He plays the part of a ruthless German-born financier fleeing his country.

The whole unit had just returned to Pinewood the day I was there recently.

They were sunburned from the hot, Spanish outdoors, somewhat hollow-eyed from their night revels in Sevil v. where they worked from dawn till dusk, right through the siesta hours, and then played from dusk to dawn in Sev- ille's cafes.

Said Steiger heavily, "The Spaniards only wake up at night. It seemed foolish to go to bed. We would finish in a nightclub, clapping our hands and singing at about five or six in the morning, and then get up again at seven to start filming.

"If we had tried that routine in England's climate I, for one, would not have

survived."

Former model

gTARRING with Steiger is

a new discovery - Marla Landi, an Italian beauty working in London.

Marla, who is Princess Mar I garet's favorite model, was

launched in films here by a * countryman, Italian-born pro

I ducer Guido Coen.

For Dirk Bogarde, their I prize box-office possession, the

Rank Organisation has just ¡jj geared up a massive pro

Igramme of films whose costs

total over a million and a quarter sterling.

The films will keep Dirk working the slave hours of a top world star for at least the next two yean.

Straight after "Campbell's

SEARCH FOR STARS

BEA i TIFVL Cornwall location of "Dangerous Exile" is enjoyed by Belinda Lee during a break in shooting. With Belinda in this pen d story concerning the disappearance of the Dauphin of

France are Louis Jourdan and Australian Keith Michell.

Kingdom" Bogarde plunges into a period film, "A Tale of Two Cities." On top of that he moves in to head the cast of "The Wind Cannot Read," from the novel by Richard

Mason.

Finally, and most ambiti- ously of all, he is slated for the title role early next year of "Lawrence of Arabia."

It is a part at which some of the greatest stars ol the screen have cast covetous eyes.

On Pinewood's stage four Ée cameras are turning on the

most sordid set of alL It is a

Marseilles slum bedroom fig- uring in "Seven Thunders," an exciting wartime escape story set in the old quarter of the port which the Germans blew sky-high in 1943.

Not the least exciting thing abo this production is that it

stars two of Britain's new

style movie idols, Stephen Boyd and Tony Wright, both tough and masculine and given to positive, sometimes violent ways of playing their

parts.

Both the craggy Irish-Can- adian Stephen Boyd, who was such a hit in "The Man Who

Never Was" and who has just returned from making "Island in the Sun" in the West Indies, and his co-starring colleague, the blond and strapping Tony Wright, provide a refreshing change from the bowler-hatted dandies whose simpering

nuances are calculated to set

only the more genteel hearts a-fluttering.

Tony strode over in a filthy singlet and baggy trousers. He winked and said, "Back to the old country next week,

mate. We are off to Mar- seilles to do the outdoor shots.

Just my cup of tea."

French star

JN France, Tony Wright is

a great star. His real act- ing career started in the

studios around Paris.

From across the Channel Rank scouts saw his rising popularity and bagged him with a contract. His first big role here was in "Tiger in the

Smoke."

For feminine interest in

"Seven Thunders" the pro- ducer has imported the tiniest star I have ever laid eyes on, petite French star Ann Gaylor,

GERMAN actor Hardy Kruger, at Pinewood for "The One That Got Away," it greeted warmly hy English

actress Muriel Pavlow.

trim, fragile, flowerlike. Her popularity is growing hugely

on the Continent.

Stephen Boyd, his eyes

riveted on her wherever she walks, breathes, "Isn't she wonderful?"

As I walked towards the exit Tony Wright nudged me and grinned. I looked back. Stephen was sitting in the chair next to Ann, staring into her eyes and repeating the French words she was teach- ing him.

It was her first day on the

set.

French - Hollywood - Broad- way star Louis Jourdan has come to London to begin work on his first British film, another period story, called "Danger-

ous Exile."

Louis Jourdan, who strode lithe and smiling into a packed London reception for him, gets my nomination as

the most courteous and un- complicated star I have ever met. And the most enduring.

With his crew cut, and dressed in immaculate Con-

tinental style, with high-but-

toned check coat and drain-

pipe trousers, Louis looked

about half the age he must now surely be.

He will be starring opposite Belinda Lee, who, however much she now chooses to avoid the title, can scarcely escape being the most glam- orous star item in Rank's feminine constellation.

To make sure of their

appeal to all kinds of audi- ences, Pinewood is reversing, in a startling way, the con- ventional approach to filming war epics by telling this time a war story against the British

themselves.

It is "The One That Got Away," and concerns the dar- ing escape from Allied cap- tivity, after repeated bold tries, of the German pilot

Franz Von Werra. The book of Von Werra's exploits has had huge sales in Britain.

To play the starring role, Pinewood has imported an- other Continental, this time the blond and gifted Hardy Kruger, a star of Germany.

Having brought him to Bri-

tain and fitted him out with

a working permit, they packed him off again to Sweden, where director Roy Baker has been filming the snowbound sequences supposed really to be set in Canada.

"I looked Canada over for location spots," Roy said. "Trouble was it was far too cold. The cameras would

have frozen up. So we picked Sweden. I promise you won't

notice the difference."

With television film-makers elbowing side by side with Britain's film producers for shooting room, the British studios are full to bursting.

At Pinewood the man with the biggest headache is the executive producer, who, like a juggler trying to keep too many objects in the air at once, sends one film unit out on location on such and such a day so that another film unit finishing its work in, say, Brussels can step into its place before the cameras on, the studio floor.

In this way a studio, with facilities for making three films at a time, is, in fact, making no fewer than eight by keeping them floating around

the world.

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