Mason on top of new London pix

LONDON — London Films, the venerable British production company founded by Alexander Korda in the 1930s, is returning to active filmmaking under the leadership of American producer Morgan Mason.

Mason was hired as chief exec in January by company owner Johann Eliasch. Eliasch is preparing to float London Films in June on the Alternative Investment Market.

Together they plan to produce three to five films a year, mixing low-budget contempo pics with big-budget remakes from the London Films library, which includes such classics as “The Ghost Goes West” and “The Scarlet Pimpernel.”

Big Ben lives

The company’s well-known Big Ben logo will be revived to introduce these new pics, which will be distributed through its own international sales arm. It will invest its own money from the AIM flotation for co-financing against foreign rights. The public offering is being underwritten by Shore Capital.

In recent years London Films, which has gone through several ownership changes since its Korda days, has concentrated solely on exploiting its library, containing 500 hours of film and TV programming, including classic BBC series such as “I, Claudius” and “Poldark.”

Mason is best known as one of the producers of “sex, lies, and videotape,” and as the founder of the William Morris Agency’s independent films division.

A Nice HQ

He ankled the Morris agency 2-1/2 years ago and headed for the south of France with his pop-star wife, Belinda Carlisle, where he based himself at Nice’s historic Victorine Studios.

Mason’s father was the film star James Mason, who named him Alexander Morgan after Korda. “That’s why it’s ironic that I’m running his company,” he told Daily Variety. “What we’re trying to do at London Films is really what Korda did in the beginning — making international films from Britain.”

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