British Noir Directors

Directors of British Noirs , including Americans , Frenchmen et al
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Lewis Allen
Director, Suddenly
Born in England on Christmas Day, 1905, Lewis Allen first came on the show-biz scene when he was appointed executive in charge of West End and Broadway stage productions for famed impresario Gilbert Miller. Allen also co-directed some of the productions (including the celebrated "Victoria Regina" with...
Paul Almond
Director, Seven Up!
Paul Almond's television and movie productions have won numerous awards, including: 12 Canadian Film Awards (Genies), 3 Ohio State Awards and other international awards In 2001, Paul Almond was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for having "demonstrated an outstanding level of talent and service to Canadians"...
Ken Annakin
A former salesman and journalist, Ken Annakin got into the film industry making documentary shorts. His feature debut, Holiday Camp, was a comedy about a Cockney family on vacation. It was made for the Rank Organization and was a modest success, spawning three sequels, all of which he directed. He worked steadily thereafter...
Leslie Arliss
Director, The Man in Grey
Former journalist and film critic Leslie Arliss began his film career as a screenwriter in the 1930s, mainly for Gainsborough Pictures. He continued as a writer for ten years, leaving Gainsborough in 1941 when he was offered a chance to direct at Associated British. It wasn't long before he returned to Gainsborough and brought with him a young actor named James Mason...
Anthony Asquith
Director, Pygmalion
British film director Anthony Asquith was born on November 9, 1902, to H.H. Asquith, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and his second wife. A former home secretary and the future leader of the Liberal Party, H.H. Asquith served as prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1908-1916 and was subsequently elevated to the hereditary peerage...
Robert S. Baker
Producer, The Saint
London-born Robert S. Baker served as an artilleryman in the British army during World War II, posted to North Africa (where he met future partner Monty Berman), and later joined the army's film and photography unit, becoming a combat cameraman in Europe. At war's end he and Berman formed Tempean Films to make movies...
Roy Ward Baker
Roy Ward Baker's first job in films was as a teaboy at the Gainsborough Studios in London, England, but within three years he was working as an assistant director. During World War II, he worked in the Army Kinematograph Unit under Eric Ambler, a writer and film producer, who, after the war, gave Baker his first opportunity to direct a film...
Laslo Benedek
Director, The Wild One
Laslo Benedek was brought to Hollywood from Hungary--where he had been a writer, editor and photographer--by MGM, and his first few films were undistinguished programmers. His third, however, was quite a bit better: Death of a Salesman, the screen version of Arthur Miller's classic play. Although trashed by critics at the time for...
Compton Bennett
Compton Bennett started out as a bandleader and then became a commercial artist. He turned out a few amateur films that caught the attention of producer Alexander Korda's London Films, and they hired him in 1932 as a film editor. During World War II he directed a few instructional films for the British military and some propaganda shorts for the general public...
Jack Cardiff
Almost universally considered one of the greatest cinematographers of all time, Jack Cardiff was also a notable director. He described his childhood as very happy and his parents as quite loving. They performed in music hall as comedians, so he grew up with the fun that came with their theatrical life in pantomime and vaudeville...
John Paddy Carstairs
Writer-director John Paddy Carstairs was born Nelson Keys, the son of actor Nelson Keys and the brother of producer Anthony Nelson Keys, in London, England, in 1910. Beginning his career as an assistant cameraman, he worked his way up to screenwriter and made his directorial debut in 1933. While never at the front rank of British directors...
Alberto Cavalcanti
Director, Dead of Night
Born in Brazil in 1897, Alberto Cavalcanti began his film career in France in 1920, working as writer, art director and director. He directed the avant-garde documentary Nothing But Time ("Nothing but Time"), a portrait of the lives of Parisian workers in a single day. He moved to England in 1933 to join the GPO Film Unit under John Grierson...
Don Chaffey
Director, Pete's Dragon
British director Don Chaffey began his career in the film industry in the art department at Gainsborough Pictures. He began directing in 1951, often working on films aimed at children. He branched out into television in the mid-'50s, turning out many of the best episodes of such classic series as Danger Man...
Lance Comfort
Director, Hotel Reserve
Director Lance Comfort began his film career as a camera operator. He also worked as a sound recordist and animator, mostly in British documentaries and medical training films. His first feature was the big-budget but slow-moving Courageous Mr. Penn, a biography of 18th-century political leader William Penn...
Arthur Crabtree
Arthur Crabtree began his film career as an assistant camera operator at British International Pictures, and it was at Gainsborough Pictures that he became a full-fledged Director of Photography in 1935. He photographed such films as The Remarkable Mr. Kipps, The Man in Grey and Waterloo Road. His ambition...
Charles Crichton
Director Charles Crichton's film career began as an editor in 1935 with Alexander Korda's London Films, and in that capacity he worked on such productions as Sanders of the River, Things to Come and Elephant Boy (which introduced Sabu to movie audiences). He soon left London Films for Ealing Studios...
Jules Dassin
Director, Rififi
Jules Dassin was an Academy Award-nominated director, screenwriter and actor best known for his films Rififi, Never on Sunday, and Topkapi. He was born Julius Samuel Dassin on 18 December 1911, in Middletown, Connecticut, USA. He was one of eight children of Russian-Jewish immigrants...
Allan Davis
Director, Rogue's March
Theatre director. Allan George Davis was born in London in 1913 to Australian parents. Davis studied economics at the University of Sydney and joined the Independent Theatre of North Sydney. He made his professional debut with the film "The squatter's daughter" in 1933. In 1934 he moved to London where he furthered his acting career...
Basil Dean
Basil Dean first appeared as an actor on the British stage in 1906. He soon switched careers and began writing and directing plays. Turning to the film industry, he became a producer and director in 1928; many of the films he produced and directed were based on his own stage plays.
Basil Dearden
Director, Dead of Night
A former stage director, Basil Dearden entered films as an assistant to director Basil Dean (he changed his name from Dear to avoid being confused with Dean). Dearden worked his way up the ladder and directed (with Will Hay) his first film in 1941; two years later he directed his first film on his own...
Jeffrey Dell
Only son of John Edward Dell and Gertrude Flowers of Shoreham-On-Sea. Trained as an articled clerk in his father's law firm Dell & Loader before signing up for the Royal Flying Corps in 1917. He was eventually invalided out of the service after a aeroplane crash in training. Trained as a solicitor...
Thorold Dickinson
Director, Secret People
Born in Bristol, England, Thorold Dickinson began his film career during the silent era as a writer. He went to work for Ealing in the 1930s, first as an editor and then as a director. He directed or produced military training films during World War II, and after the war he turned out a string of unique and well-received films...
Edward Dmytryk
Edward Dmytryk grew up in San Francisco, the son of Ukrainian immigrants. After his mother died when he was 6, his strict disciplinarian father beat the boy frequently, and the child began running away while in his early teens. Eventually, juvenile authorities allowed him to live alone at the age of 15 and helped him find part-time work as a film studio messenger...
Clive Donner
British director Clive Donner was born in West Hampstead, London, England. By age 18 he was already working in the film business, as an office clerk at Denham Studios. He eventually became an editor and then graduated to the director's chair. After making a series of TV commercials, he made his theatrical directorial debut with The Secret Place...
Maurice Elvey
Director, The Clairvoyant
Maurice Elvey was born in Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, England, the oldest son of William Clarence Folkard, an inspecting engineer, and Sarah Anna Seward Folkard (formerly Pearce). He never had a formal education, and was working on the streets of London by the age of nine after having run away from home...
Cy Endfield
Director, Zulu
The son of a struggling businessman, Cy Endfield--born Cyril Raker Endfield--worked hard to be admitted to Yale University in 1933. While completing his education he became enamored with progressive theatre and appeared in a New Haven production of a minor Russian play in 1934. He was also profoundly influenced by such friends as writer Paul Jarrico...
Terence Fisher
Terence Fisher was born in Maida Vale, England, in 1904. Raised by his grandmother in a strict Christian Scientist environment, Fisher left school while still in his teens to join the Merchant Marine. By his own account he soon discovered that a life at sea was not for him, so he left the service and tried his hand at a succession of jobs ashore...
Walter Forde
Director, The Ghost Train
British director Walter Forde started his show-business career on the stage of the music halls of northern England. He entered the film business as a screenwriter but became an actor in 1920, in a series of two-reel comedies he wrote himself. He spent some time in Hollywood, but not much happened and he came back to Britain in 1925...
Thornton Freeland
On the stage since childhood, Thornton Freeland went to work for Vitagraph in 1918, rising in the ranks from assistant cameraman to director, and made his directorial debut, Three Live Ghosts, just at the dawn of the sound era. A specialist in light romantic comedies and musicals, Freeland alternated between making films in the US and England in the 1930s and 1940s...
Harold French
Director, Trio
London-born Harold French made his name on the stage, both as an actor and director. He crossed over to films, making his acting debut in 1920. He became a director shortly before the beginning of World War II, debuting with The Cavalier of the Streets, and made a well-received adaptation of A.E.W. Mason's thriller...
Seymour Friedman
Production Manager, The Donna Reed Show
Born in Detroit, Cambridge-educated Seymour Friedman entered films in 1937 as an assistant editor, eventually graduating to assistant director. After WW II service, he returned to the film industry as a director, mainly of routine, low-budget action films, many for Columbia Pictures, debuting with Trapped by Boston Blackie...
Sidney J. Furie
Director, Iron Eagle II
Toronto-born Sidney J. Furie has enjoyed an incredibly distinguished career that has spanned more than five decades. Having dabbled in every genre, Furie has directed films starring Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Robert Redford, Diana Ross, Michael Caine, Peter O'Toole, Rodney Dangerfield, Barbara Hershey, Gene Hackman, Donald Sutherland, 'Laurence Olivier' (qav) and countless others...
Sidney Gilliat
Sidney Gilliat, the English director, screenwriter, and producer, was born on February 15, 1908 in Edgely, Cheshire, England. He began his screen-writing career in the silent movie era, writing inter-titles, going uncredited for his contributions to Honeymoon Abroad, Champagne, and Week-End Wives...
Gerard Glaister
Producer, Colditz
One of Britain's foremost television producers, Gerard Glaister was responsible for a string of top rating hit series including Dr Finlay's Casebook, Secret Army, Colditz, The Expert and Howard's Way. His biggest success was the road haulage family drama The Brothers (1972-76), which he both devised and produced...
Alfred J. Goulding
Australian-born Alf Goulding was a former vaudevillian who became a director specializing in comedy shorts. He directed Harold Lloyd comedies for Hal Roach, and in the early 1920s joined Mack Sennett, then turned out two-reelers at RKO and Columbia, sometimes featuring Edgar Kennedy. In England after World War II...
Guy Green
Director, A Patch of Blue
Guy Green is well known to film audiences. Formerly a cinematographer, he was the first British D.P. to receive an Academy Award for his black-and-white photography on David Lean's Great Expectations. He founded the British Society of Cinematographers together with Freddie Young and Jack Cardiff...
Val Guest
Val Guest began his career as an actor on the British stage and in early sound films. He ran the one-man London office of "The Hollywood Reporter" until an encounter with director Marcel Varnel led to a screen writing job at Gainsborough Studios. Guest's directing career began in the early 1940s with a Ministry of Information short about the perils of sneezing (!)...
Robert Hamer
Robert James Hamer was born in 1911 along with his twin sister Barbara, the son of Owen Dyke Hamer, a bank clerk, and his wife, Annie Grace Brickell. He was educated at Cambridge University where he wrote some poetry and was published in a collection 'Contemporaries and Their Maker', along with the spy Donald Maclean...
Guy Hamilton
Director, Goldfinger
Typically British stiff-upper-lip war dramas and action adventure laced with moments of sophisticated comedy were Guy Hamilton's trademark. The son of a British diplomat, he spent most of his youth with his family in France, seemingly destined to be groomed for a career in the diplomatic service. Growing up...
Norman Harrison
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director, Interpol Calling
Sidney Hayers
Sidney Hayers entered films in the early 1940s, working in the sound department, as a focus puller and in the cutting room before he began his directing career with Rebound in 1958. The journeyman director's roster of credits also includes episodic TV on both sides of the Atlantic, a multitude...
Alfred Hitchcock
Director, Psycho
Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone, Essex, England. He was the son of Emma Jane (Whelan; 1863 - 1942) and East End greengrocer William Hitchcock (1862 - 1914). His parents were both of half English and half Irish ancestry. He had two older siblings, William Hitchcock (born 1890) and Eileen Hitchcock (born 1892)...
Seth Holt
Director, The Nanny
Seth Holt began as an assistant editor at Ealing in 1944, graduating to editor (1949), producer (1955) and director (1958).He returned to editing for Charles Crichton's The Battle of the Sexes and for Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Probably his best known film is The Nanny, with Bette Davis. He was working on Blood from the Mummy's Tomb when he died.
Ken Hughes
Ken Hughes was an award-winning writer and director who flourished in the 1950s and 1960s, though he continued directing into the early 1980s. Born in Liverpool, England, on January 19, 1922, Hughes decided early in his life that he wanted to be a filmmaker. When he was 14 years old he won an amateur movie-making contest...
Brian Desmond Hurst
Hailing from East Belfast, Northern Ireland, Hans Moore Hawthorn Hurst was a linen worker before joining the army during World War I. He was a private in the Royal Irish Rifles, and survived the slaughter at the disastrous Gallipoli landing in Turkey. He changed his name to Brian Desmond Hurst. On his...
Pat Jackson
Director, White Corridors
Pat Jackson began as an editor and co-director of documentaries with the famed GPO Film Unit in the mid-1930s. He worked with such icons of the documentary field as John Grierson and Harry Watt, but it was his World War II semi-documentary Western Approaches that put him on the map. Praised as a skillful blend of real footage and studio-shot model work...
Roy Kellino
Roy Kellino was born on April 22, 1912 in London, England as Philip Roy Gislingham. He was a director and cinematographer, known for Four Star Playhouse, _Schlitz Playhouse (1951) (TV Series)_, and Charade. He was married firstly to Pamela Ostrer (later known as Pamela Mason), and secondly to Barbara Billingsley. He died unexpectedly on November 18, 1956 in Los Angeles, California, USA.
Anthony Kimmins
Writer, Keep Fit
British writer/director Anthony Kimmins was a naval officer in World War I, and after the war became a film actor and playwright. He wrote and directed several films for British comedian George Formby in the 1930s, but with the outbreak of World War II Kimmins rejoined the Royal Navy and spent the duration in the service...
George King
Producer/director George King began his career in the British film industry in the 1920s as an agent. He eventually moved into writing, then turned to producing and directing, mostly in the field known as "quota quickies" (films made to comply with the British government's requirement that a certain percentage of films shown in British theaters had to be produced in Britain)...
Bernard Knowles
Cinematographer, The 39 Steps
British director Bernard Knowles started his career as a newspaper photographer, and in the 1920s journeyed to the US and worked as a photographer for the Detroit News. Upon his return to England in 1922 he was hired by Gainsborough Pictures as an assistant cameraman, and it didn't take long for him to become a full-fledged Director of Photography...