Exhibition dedicated to Birmingham film-maker opens

City university launches celebration of noted producer’s work.


Birmingham City University’s new contemporary art gallery, situated next to Millennium Point in the Eastside deveopment, spreads its wings with a new show reflecting the life of Birmingham-born film producer Sir Michael Balcon.

The  city-born film-maker’s  film portfolio includes major mid-century classics such as Whisky Galore, Hitchcock’s 39 Steps, Passage to Pimlico and The Blue Lamp. He helped launch the annual BAFTA awards and was knighted in 1948.

The exhibition at Parkside Gallery on the BCU campus,co-curated by film historian Professor Roger Shannon, a film historian, gives an incisive insight into the man’s life and background.

A small nugget: he named Dixon of Dock Green after his high school, George Dixon High School, which still stands today on City Road.

There are clips from some of his movies, letters and telegrams from his associates and a wide wealth of photographs of his life and works. Professor Shannon said: “Sir Michael made a unique contribution to the UK film industry; not only did he as a producer discover and nurture the talents of the greatest UK director we have had – Alfred Hitchcock – but he also headed up the finest homegrownstudio in this country, Ealing Films.”

Sir Michael’s creative talents spread to his grandchildren. His grandson is three-times Oscar winer Daniel Day Lewis while his granddaughter, Tasmin Day-Lewis is a noted director and producer movies. Her work includes Private Wound (1996), The Healing Arts (1986) and The Cat and the Canary (1978).

The exhibition takes place at Parkside Gallery on the BCU campus and is open until 27th October. Admission is free and there is a screening of The Blue Lamp at 6pm on 12 October at the same venue.