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Tuesday May 21st 2024

Maleficent | 2014

Robert Stromberg’s revisionist retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story is filmed mainly on sets built at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire – famous as the longtime home of the James Bond movies.

Even a fantasy needs some grounding in reality, and two National Trust properties provide the open countryside.

The enchanted Forest is the Ashridge Estate in Hertfordshire, which fulfilled a similar role in another re-tooled fairy-tale movie, the 2014 musical Into The Woods.

Ashridge is a country estate and stately home in the Chiltern Hills about 2 miles north of Berkhamsted and 20 miles northwest of London.

The estate is comprised of comprises 5,000 acres of woodlands, known as Ashridge Forest, along with commons and chalk downland, currently owned by the National Trust.

The neo-Gothic Ashridge House, currently home to the Ashridge Executive Education program of Hult International Business School, is featured as ‘Marston-Tyne Military Prison’ in Robert Aldrich's 1967 The Dirty Dozen.

Maleficent's beautiful Arcadian Moors are the grounds of the Petworth Estate in the South Downs of West Sussex.

Those hills and vistas are not quite the natural, untamed countryside they seem to be. The 700 acres were carefully fashioned to fit the 18th Century ideal of a rural paradise by famous landscape designer ‘Capability’ Brown.

They provided a favourite subject for painter JMW Turner, who regularly stayed at Petworth House, which is seen in Mike Leigh’s 2014 biopic Mr Turner, starring Timothy Spall.

The Queen (Cate Blanchett) goes riding with Walter Raleigh through Petworth's rolling green hills in Shekhar Kapur’s Elizabeth: The Golden Age, while the chapel of Petworth House is used for the wedding of Redmond Barry to Lady Lyndon in Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 masterpiece Barry Lyndon.