Lancashire Film Institute
University of Wigan
The Gaumont Trust
The Lost Films

Twentieth Century Spatchcock

The Hollinwood studios of 20th Century Spatchcock produced over 20,000 films.  Many have been destroyed - sometimes accidentally - but this new project seeks to locate and catalogue as many of these films as possible.

DW Blunt and Alfred Spatchcock were prolific film makers. They may not be remembered for the quality of their films but what they lacked in quality they more than made up for in quantity.

At one point they were making as many as six films a day at The Tripe Factory, their studios in Hollinwood near Oldham.   Their first film The Stink was shot in The Tripe Factory in less than two hours. Then they started filming on location in the immediate vicinity of the factory before moving further afield.

In just one day they made The Mancunian Trilogy - The Third Mancunian, The Thin Mancunian and The Invisible Mancunian.  This was a particularly challenging film as they were unable to find an invisible man to play the starring role despite placing an advert in the Hollinwood Globe & Advertiser.

The next day they filmed on location in Rossendale shooting Mr Blunt Goes to Accrington and Dirty Rawtenstall Scoundrels in the morning and The Wizard Of Oswaldtwistle after a three hour lunch in The Coach and Horses.

They then moved north, making Men In Blackburn and Mississippi Burnley before spending a weekend in Blackpool where they made Tramspotting and the first four Blackpool Rocky films.

They even crossed the Pennines to make The Grapes Of Rotherham with a young Henry Honda.

Their films cover every genre from epics (Gone With The Window Cleaner) to horror (The Cocktail Cabinet of Dr Calimari) and war (Fags Of Our Fathers).   To capitalize on the popularity of cowboy films they invented the north western genre with films such as Huyton Noon, Once Upon A Time In The North West and True Millstone Grit.

Gradually their output declined. By the time the  studio closed on New Year's Eve 1999, they were making only one film a day.

Their films may have been forgotten by the public but they are still shining examples for students of how not to make a film.

For a full account of 20th Century Spatchcock, see Dr Ripley's newly-published book.

Alfred Spatchcock 1923
Alfred Spatchcock, pictured c1923.

DW Blunt c1921
DW Blunt, arguably the creative force behind 20th Century Spatchcock.

A Taste Of Honeycomb
The Lost Films of 20th Century Spatchcock is published by TMB Books and tells the story of the Spatchcock studios between 1921 and 2004, with details of dozens of 'lost films' that have been discovered by celebrated local librarian, Dr Derek J Ripley.

Acclaimed broadcaster Andy Kershaw has described Dr Ripley’s work as “the definitive appreciation of Spatchcock!” and advises that “Anyone who has managed to get through
From Here To Maternity or Wendy Does Wigan will want - and need - this book.

Highlights include the first extended essay on the Lancashire Office of Information's public information films, including Always Wear A Hat! and How To Eat Tripe, alongside the first published analysis of Spatchcock's blue movie period in a chapter on The Golden Age of Filth.  Over 200 pages of facts and details about a hitherto forgotten north west film studio. 

More details here. 

© Copyright 2012  LEB Ltd T/A The Lost Films of 20th Century Spatchcock