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Stoll, Sir Oswald

Producer, Executive

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A major British theatrical impresario, Sir Oswald Stoll, knighted in 1919, took over the London Coliseum in 1904 and quickly gained a controlling interest in theatres throughout Britain.

In April 1918, he founded the Stoll film company as both a distributor and producer (its first film was Comradeship (d. Maurice Elvey, 1919)), and the company was to remain a major player in British cinema through the 1930s.

The Stoll company's silent output included more than two dozen directed by Elvey from 1919 to 1924, among them such titles as The Hound of the Baskervilles (1921), starring Eille Norwood, and The Passionate Friends (1922), starring Milton Rosmer.

In 1920, it acquired a converted aeroplane factory at Cricklewood as its studio, ownership of which Stoll retained until 1938.

In the 1930s, the studio, which had been slow to adopt sound, was mainly used by independent producers and mainly for short films, but late in the decade it was used by Butcher's to make Old Mother Riley (1937) and John Baxter made several films there from the mid 1930s.

Stoll himself, a cold and formal individual, was, however, an enthusiastic supporter of the British film industry, if never a creative producer in the American mould.

Anthony Slide, Encyclopedia of British Cinema

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