The 1930s
in Anthony Asquith
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This chapter looks into the problems faced by Anthony Asquith during the 1930s. He joined Gainsborough Pictures, merged with the Gaumont-British, which, during the decade recruited an impressive array of stars, directors and technicians. However, things did not quite work out for the director, and Asquith effectively got lost in the array. He spent around two years at Gaumont-British and directed just one film: The Lucky Number (1933). Asquith's other work during this period was confined to working for or with other directors, and he failed to make a mark in the smaller London Films, run by the flamboyant Hungarian-born Korda, and also with Max Schach. The one clear feature of his professional life at this time was his appointment as President of the ACT, the film technicians' union. Towards the end of the decade, Pygmalion (1938) and French Without Tears (1939) reestablished Asquith as a leading film maker and were effective in defining the ‘middlebrow’ Asquith, the accomplished adapter of mainstream theatre for the screen, perhaps the dominant strand in his eventual directorial image.

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