Sydney Box

By Andrew Spicer

Sydney Box


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-6000-7
  • Pages: 233
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £15.99
  • Published Date: April 2011
  • BIC Category: Individual film directors, film-makers, Film history, theory & criticism, PERFORMING ARTS / Individual Director, PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / History & Criticism, PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / Direction & Production, The arts / Individual film directors, film-makers, Film and Media
  • Series: British Film-Makers


This is an authoritative account of the career of Sydney Box, one of British cinema's most successful and significant producers. Concentrating on the period 1940-65, it highlights the crucial but often misunderstood role that the producer plays in the film making process and, using largely unpublished material, affords an exceptional insight into the workings of the film industry.

Box's career was exceptionally varied and this study analyses the work of his company Verity Films, which produced over 100 short propaganda films during the Second World War, as well as Box's work as a feature film producer and as managing director of Gainsborough Pictures (1944­-49). It encompasses the difficulties he experienced as an independent producer in the 1950s and the formation of Sydney Box Associates, his role in early television history, and his imaginative if unsuccessful bids for British Lion and London Weekday Television in the early 1960s.

This study will be essential reading for scholars and students interested in British cinema and television history, but its focus on the frequently misrepresented or misunderstood role of the producer will make it valuable for students of film generally.


The best entry yet in the British Film Makers series, this is an astonishingly detailed work. A truly remarkable achievement, it brings Britain's post-war film industry vividly to life.


1. In praise of producers
2. The self-made man
3. The documentarist: Verity films
4. 'I had something they wanted to buy': Feature film producer
5. 'The apple of Mr Rank's mercatorial eye': Managing director of Gainsborough Pictures (1946-1949)
6. 'One a month': The Gainsborough films
7. Precarious independence: The 1950s
8. Lion hunt and after
9. Conclusion
Appendix: Costs and box-office evenues of Box's films distributed by Rank, where available


Andrew Spicer is Reader in Cultural History in the Bristol School of Art, Media and Design at the University of the West of England.

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