British Film Stars: The Rank Charm School

In the late 1940s, the British film company Rank ran what was known as the Company of Youth. Today, it is best remembered as the ‘Rank Charm School’, a place that trained young contract performers who were being prepared for stardom on British cinema screens. Many major figures of British cinema in the 1950s and 1960s passed through its doors. This season of films focuses on five of the Charm School’s ‘graduates’: Diana Dors; Jean Simmons; Claire Bloom and Christopher Lee, with each offering a different version of British film stardom.  

Curated by Rachel Hayward, HOME’s Head of Film Strategy and Andy Willis, Senior Visiting Curator: Film at HOME. 

In this season

Cult/ Dracula

Fri 26 Jan

Dracula is seen by many as the film that consolidated Hammer studios reputation as the ‘house of horror’, Christopher Lee, a Rank charm school ‘graduate’,…

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The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

Sun 28 Jan

A classic of Cold War cinema, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is based on the novel of the same name by John…

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Previously in this season


Adapted by Dalton Trumbo from Howard Fast's novel, today Spartacus is remembered as one of the best historical epics of all-time and a film that…

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Elmer Gantry

Elmer Gantry, driven by the captivating performances of leads Burt Lancaster and Simmons, is Richard Brooks’ thoughtful adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s novel about a charismatic…

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Yield to the Night

Diana Dors continued her productive collaboration with director J. Lee Thompson, this was their fourth film together, with the lead role in Yield to the…

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The Weak and the Wicked

Partly based on the experiences of writer Joan Henry, herself an ex-prisoner, The Weak and the Wicked showcases some of the best talents within British…

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