Alexander Korda (Sándor László Kellner)
One of a large group of Hungarian refugees who found refuge in England in the 1930s, Sir Alexander Korda was the first British film producer to receive a knighthood. He was a major, if controversial, figure and acted as a guiding force behind the British film industry of the 1930s and continued to influence British films until his death in 1956. He learned his trade by working in studios in Austria, Germany and America and was a crafty and flamboyant businessman. He started his production company, London Films, in 1933 and one of its first films The Private Life of Henry VIII. Read more... (1933), received an Oscar nomination as best picture and won the Best Actor Oscar for its star, Charles Laughton. Helped by his brothers Zoltan Korda (director) and Vincent Korda (art director) and other expatriate Hungarians, London Films produced some of Britain's finest films (even if they weren't all commercial successes). Korda's willingness to experiment and be daring allowed the flowering of such talents as Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and gave early breaks to people such as Laurence Olivier, David Lean and Carol Reed. Korda sold his library to television in the 1950s, thus allowing London Films' famous logo of Big Ben to become familiar to a new generation of film enthusiasts.