My uncle, Isidore Ostrer, created and ran The Gaumont British Picture Corporation Limited, which was the largest movie company in the UK in the 1930s, employing 16,000 people, including directors like Hitchcock, and stars like James Mason, Margaret Lockwood, Robert Donat, Conrad Veidt, Boris Karloff, Charles Laughton, John Mills, Claude Rains, Noel Coward, and hundreds more. Part One of the book is a personal biography of the Ostrer family, and Part Two is a history of the Gaumont company from its beginning in 1898, and the Gaumont British company, covering the financial structure, boardroom disputes, stopping production for two-and-a-half years, and involvement with television. Gaumont and its subsidiary Gainsborough produced 721 films in which 1,274 actors and actresses appeared.
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This website is a history of the Gaumont company from its origins up to 1922 when my uncle, Isidore Ostrer, acquired Leon Gaumont's control of the company. A detailed snapshot of the Gaumont-British Picture Corporation Limited in 1932, including a list of all the cinemas owned and controlled by the corporation, a list of all the films produced under the banners of Gaumont, Gaumont-British and Gainsborough from 1902 to 1950, and a list of all the film actors and directors involved.
My uncle, Isidore Ostrer, was the president of the corporation, and uncle Mark Ostrer was the chairman, who oversaw the 343 cinemas, theatres, dance halls, and restaurants owned, controlled or managed by the corporation and associated companies.
My father, Maurice Ostrer, was a director of both the corporation and Gainsborough. He acted in the capacity of executive film producer. My mother acted in ten films under her maiden name, Renee Clama, until she married in 1933.
Another uncle, Harry Ostrer, worked with scripts. Previously he had been a school teacher. His daughter, my cousin, was the Gainsborough lady, who nodded her head at the beginning of each film.
Another uncle, David Ostrer, worked in distribution. His son, Bertram Ostrer, my cousin Bertie, later produced a few films including: "Dentist in the Chair" (1960), "Dentist on the Job" (1961), and "Captain Nemo and the Underwater City" (1969).
Isidore's daughter, Pamela Ostrer, my cousin, was in the film "Jew Suss" in 1934. In 1939 she appeared with James Mason (under her married name, Pamela Kellino), in an independent film, "I Met A Murderer". She divorced Kellino, married Mason, and moved to Beverley Hills. The rest of her career, a few supporting roles in undistinguished films and her appearances on American television, are not relevant to this website.
The use of projection television in selected cinemas in the 1930s for live coverage of sporting events, and the negotiation with William Fox to merge the corporation, and the closing down of the studios for two-and-a-half years in the 1930s, are more filly covered in my book: The Ostrers & Gaumont British.
The studio in Lime Grove, Shepherd's Bush W12
1914 and 1932
Click on each of the pictures above for a detailed write-up about the studio.
CLICK HERE to open a list of the executives.
CLICK HERE to open a photo gallery of the executives.
CLICK HERE to open a list of the associated companies in the corporation.
CLICK HERE to open a list of the 343 Cinemas, Theatres, Dance Halls, and Restaurants owned, controlled or managed by Gaumont-British Picture Corporation Limited and Associated Companies.
CLICK HERE to open a complete list of all 721 films produced by Gaumont and Gainsborough.
CLICK HERE to open a complete list of all the 1,274 actors and actresses who appeared in the Gaumont and Gainsborough films, and the 88 directors.
CLICK HERE to open a list of the stars who appeared in the Gaumont and Gainsborough films.