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Author: Steve Chibnall

Since his first directorial commission at Welwyn Studios in 1950, Lee Thompson has directed forty-five pictures for theatrical release, covering almost every genre of the cinema. His remarkable ability to adapt his style to suit the material has made him perhaps the most versatile director ever produced by Britain. This book intends to plot the trajectory of a unique film-maker through the typical constraints and opportunities offered by British cinema as a dominant studio system gave way to independent production in the two decades after the Second World War. Thompson was born in Bristol just before the First World War. By the time Thompson left school his ambition was to be an actor, and he joined Nottingham Repertory, making his debut in Young Woodley in 1931. Thompson's opportunity to direct a play came when he received an offer from Hollywood for the film rights to his play Murder Without Crime. His debut box (or ottoman) of tricks went out on the ABC circuit as a double bill with an American film about a GI finding romance in Europe, Four Days Leave. Although the cutting room remained sacrosanct, directors of Thompson's generation had more influence over the final cut of a picture than their predecessors. The Yellow Balloon may be frustratingly limited in its social critique, but as a piece of film making, it was rightly praised for its performances and technical proficiency.

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Steve Chibnall

Welwyn Studios in 1950, Lee Thompson has directed forty-five pictures for theatrical release, covering almost every genre of the cinema. His remarkable ability to adapt his style to suit the material has made him perhaps the most versatile director ever produced by Britain. In addition, his training in acting, editing and scriptwriting, and his appreciation of the possibilities of cinematography, have made him a complete, all

in J. Lee Thompson
Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend and Hammer’s The Night Creatures
Peter Hutchings

hiring of American ‘hotshot’ writer Matheson fitted into an ongoing, if changeable, financial and creative engagement with the US film industry. The signing up of Val Guest as director of The Night Creatures is also suggestive so far as Hammer’s positioning of this project was concerned. Guest was a prolific and versatile director who worked regularly for Hammer during the 1950s, and occasionally in the 1960s and 1970s, but never on the colour gothic series for which Hammer became famous. His Hammer

in Hammer and beyond
Robert Shaughnessy

collection of portraits and furniture’, the theatre offered a not dissimilar hierarchy of attractions in the shape of John Gielgud, newcomers Ralph Richardson and Margaret Leighton, Anthony Quayle (‘the versatile director of the theatre’), and ‘many capable, if less distinguished, supporting players’. Alongside the Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations on 23 April, the ‘Principal Events’ of the

in As You Like It
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Brian McFarlane and Anthony Slide

Featuring more than 6,500 articles, including over 350 new entries, this fifth edition of The Encyclopedia of British Film is an invaluable reference guide to the British film industry. It is the most authoritative volume yet, stretching from the inception of the industry to the present day, with detailed listings of the producers, directors, actors and studios behind a century or so of great British cinema.

Brian McFarlane's meticulously researched guide is the definitive companion for anyone interested in the world of film. Previous editions have sold many thousands of copies, and this fifth instalment will be an essential work of reference for universities, libraries and enthusiasts of British cinema.

in The Encyclopedia of British Film