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Madman

Anthony Asquith

Born: 09 November, 1902
Died: 20 February, 1968
Country of Birth: United Kingdom

Biography

Anthony Asquith was born to the honorable Herbert Henry Asquith, Liberal Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1908-1916, and his second wife, the renowned socialite and wit Margot. Asquith had five elder siblings from his father's previous marriage, but as one of only two of Margot's five children to survive infancy, she doted on her son, giving him the enduring nickname 'Puffin'.

Always an aesthete, Asquith completed his university degree at Balliol College, Oxford, where he helped to found the Oxford Film Society. He then travelled to Los Angeles, where he stayed for six months as a guest of actors Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, observing Hollywood working methods and encountering many high-profile directors and stars of the time, including Charlie Chaplin, Ernst Lubitsch and Lillian Gish.

Upon his return to Great Britain, Asquith worked for Bruce Woolfe's British Instructional Films, which specialised in historical reconstructions of World War One battles and early naturalist documentaries. Embracing his knowledge of the intellectual, artistic and political cinemas of France, the USSR and Germany, as well as the more popular Hollywood conventions, he joined the London Film Society, which counted writers H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw and assorted Bloomsbury Group luminaries amongst its members.

Asquith was assigned to work on British Instructional Films' first fictional feature, Shooting Stars (1927); written by Asquith, the credits list A.V. Bramble as director but Asquith is widely regarded co-director. Working throughout the 1930s, Asquith became recognised for Pygmalion (1938), adapted for the screen by Shaw from his much-celebrated play. Nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress Oscars®, it won for Best Adapted Screenplay. An artisan filmmaker, Asquith headed the British film technicians union for 30 years, and worked steadily until his final film - the star-studded adaptation of Terence Rattigan's The Yellow Rolls-Royce (1964).

Anthony 'Puff' Asquith died in 1968, but his work - predominantly adaptations of the stage plays of Shaw, Oscar Wilde, and Rattigan, with whom he worked on more than 10 films - ensures that he will be remembered as one of the staunchest of British directors and film craftsmen. He is commemorated in BAFTA's annual Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music.

Filmography

1964 THE YELLOW ROLLS-ROYCE
1963 THE V.I.P.s
1962 GUNS OF DARKNESS
1961 TWO LIVING, ONE DEAD
1960 ZERO
1960 THE MILLIONAIRESS
1959 LIBEL
1958 THE DOCTOR'S DILEMMA
1958 ORDERS TO KILL
1955 ON SUCH A NIGHT (short)
1955 CARRINGTON V.C.
1954 THE YOUNG LOVERS
1953 THE NET
1953 THE FINAL TEST
1952 THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
1951 THE BROWNING VERSION
1950 WORLD WITHOUT SHADOW
1950 THE WOMAN IN QUESTION
1948 THE WINSLOW BOY
1947 WHILE THE SUN SHINES
1945 THE WAY TO THE STARS
1944 FANNY BY GASLIGHT
1944 TWO FATHERS (short)
1943 WE DIVE AT DAWN
1943 THE DEMI-PARADISE
1943 A WELCOME TO BRITAIN
1943 THE VOLUNTEER
1942 UNCENSORED
1941 QUIET WEDDING
1941 COTTAGE TO LET
1941 RUSH HOUR (short)
1940 FREEDOM RADIO
1940 CHANNEL INCIDENT
1939 GUIDE DOGS FOR THE BLIND
1939 FRENCH WITHOUT TEARS
1938 PYGMALION
1937 LEST WE FORGET
1935 THE STORY OF PAPWORTH, THE VILLAGE OF HOPE
1935 MOSCOW NIGHTS
1933 YOUTH WILL BE SERVED
1933 THE PERSIL WAY
1933 THE LUCKY NUMBER
1932 DANCE PRETTY LADY
1931 TELL ENGLAND
1929 THE RUNAWAY PRINCESS
1929 A COTTAGE ON DARTMOOR
1928 UNDERGROUND
1928 THOU FOOL
1927 SHOOTING STARS

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