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Canberra Times (06/May/1927) - Film Making in a Tube




For more than three hours a British film company took possession of the Maida Vale tube station, London, recently for a special scene in the Piccadilly Picture, Ltd.'s production of "Down Hill," directed by that most promising of the new school of English producers, Mr. Alfred J. Hitchcock.

Late travellers arriving at the station we're puzzled by the huge sunlight arc lamps installed along the escalator and vestibule, until the familiar face of Mr. Ivor Novello, in yellow grease paint, and a camera on trestles, explained the situation. In the street were loudly purring generators on lorries.

The reluctance of official bodies to give facilities to film productions in the country has long, been a by-word that the courteous and active aid of the Underground authorities in this instance is to be commended.

Special staffs were retained both at the station after it was closed and at the Kilburn and Baker Street switchboards.

Scenes were made by Mr. Novello entering the station and booking a ticket, but the real interest lay in a wonderful "shot" on the moving escalator — the first of its kind made in England.

The bore of the escalator gave some surprising lighting effects, and Mr. Hitchcock is making the "slow" descent of the character something half symbolic.

Each episode of "Down Hill" marks a step in degradation, and this dwindling figure, bore down steadily until it disappears from the camera's view, closed one of the important stages of the story.