And so, it came to an end. Not with a whimper, but with a bang: Passport to Pimlico, one of the best known 'Ealing comedies', one of the films that (it is claimed) speaks for the whole of the studio's output and thematic interests, and one of the films that first sparked my love of Ealing many years ago.
When discussing Young Man's Fancy (1939), it was noted that these early Ealing films act as a bridge between the Basil Dean / Associated Talking Picture films produced at Ealing and the Balcon-produced films that the production company called 'Ealing Studios' would become known for. Yet even using that framework to approach these films, The Ware Case is an odd and generically unstable contribution to the Ealing back catalogue.
His Excellency is one of those films that is difficult to love, partly because it often fails to deliver a coherent experience or meaning: it has moments of jingoism and anti-foreigner attitudes that feel alien to a 21st century audience, yet also goes to great pains to mock the British patriarchal attitude to 'the colonies'; it mocks socialism yet offers a partial celebration of unionism and collective action; ridicules military might but ultimately relies on it to resolve narrative issues; celebrates a particular 'northern' personality within Britain but dilutes that through the imposition of upper class knowledge and restraint.
It is hard to know how to react to I Believe in You: in one sense, this could be dismissed as reliable Ealing social problem fodder, where nice upper and middle-class people volunteer to be probation officers to help deal with the problematic working classes, particularly the rebellious youth who frequent dance halls and get in trouble with the police (in that sense the film has been linked to Relph and Dearden's earlier The Blue Lamp, 1950).
It Always Rains on Sunday, Googie Withers' last film with Ealing, has tended to get the most focus of that list, partly due to Googie's star status, but also because it is a taut and compelling crime thriller that can been linked to late Ealing films (The Blue Lamp (1950) and Pool of London (1951) share crucial DNA with its plot and shooting style).