After the departure of Balcon to the British arm of MGM, the Rank Organisation took an interest in Gainsborough and popular films such as Oh, Mr Porter! (1937) were made. By 1937 Gaumont-British were in financial crisis, and closed their Lime Grove studios, moving all production to the Poole Street studio. During World War II, the tall factory chimney on the site was considered dangerous in the event of bombing, and Gainsborough Studios were evacuated to Lime Grove for the duration of the war.
From 1942 to 1946 a series of morally ambivalent costume melodramas were produced by Gainsborough for the domestic market mostly based on recent popular books by female novelists. These included The Man in Grey (1943), Madonna of the Seven Moons (1944), Fanny by Gaslight (1944), The Wicked Lady (1945) and Caravan (1946) based around a stable of British actors including Margaret Lockwood, James Mason, Stewart Granger and Patricia Roc. The studio also made modern-dress comedies and melodramas such as Love Story (1944), Time Flies (starring Tommy Handley, 1944), Bees in Paradise (with Arthur Askey directed by Val Guest, 1944), They Were Sisters (1945), and Easy Money (1948).
Subsequent productions, led by Betty Box (who at the time was the only major female producer in British cinema), included Miranda (1948) and the Huggett family series with Jack Warner, Kathleen Harrison, and Petula Clark. Unhappy with the performance of the studio, Rank closed it in early 1951.
The former Islington Studios, in Poole Street, remained largely derelict after their closure in 1951 apart from occasional art performances, including two epic Shakespearean productions by the Almeida Theatre Company, April–July 2000, directed by Jonathan Kent and starring Ralph Fiennes, and a closing Hitchcock season in October 2003.
The buildings began to be cleared in 2002, and apartments named Gainsborough Studios were built on the site in 2004, by architects Munkenbeck and Marshall.
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