Meteorology and British film studios: an article of the London fog

Richard G Farmer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

Industrial winter fogs posed an almost existential threat to filmmaking in Britain during the first decades of the twentieth century, disrupting outdoor or location filming, penetrating studio buildings and delaying production schedules and increasing costs. The problem was exacerbated by many British studios being located in, or on the outskirts of London, a city famous for its ‘pea soupers’. This article, having outlined the nature and extent of the problem, explores the ways in which the British film industry responded to the fog. Some studios ceased operations in the winter, whilst some producers relocated to less meteorologically-challenging climes. Two other responses, however, allowed for year-round production in Britain: the installation of specially designed fog-dispersal plant, and the construction of new studios outside the London ‘fog-zone.’ Using fog to explore the impact of climate on the siting, design and equipping of British film studios, the article is intended to encourage recognition of the ways in which the spaces and infrastructure of film production develop in relation to specific local, regional or national level factors, and stimulate discussion of the relationship between filmmakers, studios and the natural (or, in the case of the London fog, anthropogenic) environments within which they operate.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalHistorical Journal of Film, Radio and Television
Early online date13 May 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 May 2021

Keywords

  • Britain
  • film studio
  • fog
  • meteorology

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