ealing studio

Gloria Swanson & Laurence Olivier in ‘Perfect Understanding’ 1933. 

Perfect Understanding is a 1933 British comedy film directed by Cyril Gardner and starring Laurence Olivier, Gloria Swanson and John Halliday. The film was an independent production made at Ealing Studios, conceived as an attempt to revive Swanson’s career which had suffered following the conversion to sound films. 

The big names lining up for a blockbuster King Lear: Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Jim Broadbent and Jim Carter

Jim Broadbent and Jim Carter will play Lear’s war ministers Gloucester and Kent in the BBC2 film, to be directed by theatre and film giant Richard Eyre.

I was on the set of The Dresser at Ealing Studios when Carter, who was filming Downton Abbey on the sound stage next door, came visiting and joked that he’d like to be offered a part in Eyre’s next project. And now he has. Rehearsals start in September, and filming in October.



I was a month ago at Highclere castle trying to understand the real layout of the first floor and comparing it with what we see in the serie. Somebody was asking to describe it, Ok I’ll try to do it ( may be was it already done on Tumblr, I don’t know). Sorry for the terrible drawing I made, but it may help. This one is drawn from a plan posted a long time ago, I post it under, and I’ll also try to explain what is wrong on this official plan. All the rooms we see in the first serie are more or less what we can see during the visit. We know that after, they were shot at Ealing studios. Cora’s bedroom, Sybil’s, Edith’s, Pamuk’s are “real ones”. Sybil’s is just above the main entrance, behind the huge stone arms we can see when she sits at her table. But there is some differences. Mary’s room seems to be on the left side of Cora’s but we must leave a place to Robert’s who come in Cora’s room from the left side of the window and that is not possible. Robert’s room (number 1 on my drawing) has only one window, Mary’s ( number 2) at least, has two and at Highclere it’s just the contrary. During the visit we don’t see any room which can look like Mary’s or Robert’s rooms. So, or they were artificially created or they lay somewhere else than around the gallery ( the only rooms we don’t visit are the small dressing rooms on both side of Pamuk’s room and the rooms 4 and 5 on my drawing. In any way in the serie, Mary’s bedroom has three windows, one at right angle to another one and that is also impossible at Highclere due to the four corner towers. We also have the problem of the nursery which seems to lay further on the left side of Mary’s room, but the door with the nursery sign is the one of room 2. All the staircases are the real ones, even the red staircase ( 6 on the drawing) we can see in S2CS when Anna notices lord Hepworth and Shore going upstairs. This stairs is the only one to climb until the third floor and communicates to the first floor with a small corridor. These stairs give acces to the 4 and 5 rooms. Room number 3 may be the duke of Crowborough’ room entrance, but I’m not sure at all. On the official plan (second picture), there is some errors I don’t understand why : letters A ( the wall of the room is not drawn) B ( the gallery is continuous, there is no door), C (the same, there is no wall), D ( the same, there is no stairs and no wall behind).


1. Curiously, as an American, the most impressive swearing I’ve ever heard was actually in Glasgow – although, I have to admit, it was all being done by kids from Belfast and Derry.

2. There are almost as many examples of Peter telling his Burt Lancaster and His Effortless Swearing story – for indeed that is the he in question – as there are example of Peter reciting Tucker’s Law.  And he clearly enjoys it almost as much.

3. When I watch these clips I’m also thinking fabulous and fantastic (or is it fantastic and fabulous), but it’s not so much about Peter’s instinct as it is about something else he’s demonstrating.

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