The 1930s: The Exclusive Years
In 1913 Enrique Carreras bought his first cinema in Hammersmith, London, gradually expanding his company into a chain. By 1934 he was seeking ways to gain develop his involvement in the cinema industry and went into partnership with William Hinds, the owner of a jewellery shop group (who had also appeared in amateur variety shows under the stage name of Will Hammer). Hinds formed Hammer Productions in November 1934, but together with Carreras they also formed a separate film distribution company, Exclusive Films Ltd., in 1935 although the two companies were considerably intertwined in the industry. Enrique's son James also joined the company was followed by grandson Michael about eight years later. William Hinds' son Anthony Hinds was also destined to be a major figure in the success of the company.
Before the second world war Hammer Productions made several films, of which the most ambitious was The Mystery of the Marie Celeste, filmed in the summer of 1935. Then production ground to a halt and by 1939 it was no longer considered to be an active British film production company. Both James Carreras and Anthony Hinds saw active service during the Second World War before returning to work for Exclusive in Wardour Street, London, in 1945.
Exclusive continued to distribute films and, because of the close links between the two companies, many films around this era are incorrectly believed to be Hammer films.
Information drawn in part from The Hammer Story by Marcus Hearn and Alan Barnes, published by Titan Books