skip navigation
Tony Richardson

Tony Richardson

Up
Down

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (2)

Recent DVDs

 
 

The Gift Of Friendship... A legendary British writer is paid homage in “John Osborne and the Gift of... more info $17.99was $17.99 Buy Now

A Delicate Balance DVD Four time Oscar winner Katharine Hepburn (Philadelphia Story, The Lion in the... more info $29.95was $29.95 Buy Now

Phantom Of The Opera DVD Filmed before a live audience, Ken Kurtz's take on this production of "Phantom... more info $29.95was $29.95 Buy Now



Also Known As: Cecil Antonio Richardson Died: November 14, 1991
Born: June 5, 1928 Cause of Death: neurological infection resulting from AIDS
Birth Place: Yorkshire, England, GB Profession: director, producer, film journalist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

British theater and film director primarily associated with the "Angry Young Man" movement of the late 1950s and early 60s. Richardson worked as a producer with the BBC from 1952 to 1955 and co-directed a short documentary about working-class youths, "Momma Don't Allow" (1955), with Karel Reisz. The film was well received when shown at the first "Free Cinema" program in 1956--the same year that "Look Back in Anger", a play written by John Osborne and directed by Richardson, shook up the English theatrical establishment with its bitter indictment of postwar culture.Richardson continued to work with Osborne in the theater and, in 1958, the two formed Woodfall Film Productions to bring the new theatrical sensibility to the screen. The company's first two features were adaptations of Richardson's and Osborne's stage collaborations, "Look Back in Anger" (1959) and "The Entertainer" (1960). Both featured fine performances, Richard Burton in the former and Laurence Olivier in the latter, but failed to attract much interest at the box office. Woodfall's first commercial success came with 1960's "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning", directed by Reisz.Richardson scored his first major hit with the beautifully...

British theater and film director primarily associated with the "Angry Young Man" movement of the late 1950s and early 60s. Richardson worked as a producer with the BBC from 1952 to 1955 and co-directed a short documentary about working-class youths, "Momma Don't Allow" (1955), with Karel Reisz. The film was well received when shown at the first "Free Cinema" program in 1956--the same year that "Look Back in Anger", a play written by John Osborne and directed by Richardson, shook up the English theatrical establishment with its bitter indictment of postwar culture.

Richardson continued to work with Osborne in the theater and, in 1958, the two formed Woodfall Film Productions to bring the new theatrical sensibility to the screen. The company's first two features were adaptations of Richardson's and Osborne's stage collaborations, "Look Back in Anger" (1959) and "The Entertainer" (1960). Both featured fine performances, Richard Burton in the former and Laurence Olivier in the latter, but failed to attract much interest at the box office. Woodfall's first commercial success came with 1960's "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning", directed by Reisz.

Richardson scored his first major hit with the beautifully rendered "A Taste of Honey" (1961), a realistic yet lyrical, poignant tale of working-class life in Manchester based on Shelagh Delaney's novel. Both critics and public alike responded to a fine central performance from Rita Tushingham, sterling support from Dora Bryan and Murray Melvin, and striking the industrial landscapes poetically photographed by Walter Lassally.

The influence of the French New Wave was particularly noticeable in Richardson's next two films, Alan Sillitoe's "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" (1962)--which used a flashback narrative structure to weave a "400 Blows"-style story of adolescent rebellion--and "Tom Jones" (1963), considered by many to be the director's masterpiece.

"Tom Jones" was a hilarious, bawdy romp through 18th-century England, adapted by Osborne from the Joseph Fielding novel and superbly acted by Albert Finney, Susannah York, David Warner and Hugh Griffiths. The film was particularly noted for Lassally's imaginative location camerawork. The film earned nearly $40 million and won three Oscars for Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay.

Little of Richardson's subsequent work has equaled his earlier achievements, but critical reassessment suggests that the contemporary reactions to his work were a bit harsh on a filmmaker who was always, at the very least, an interesting talent to watch. "Mademoiselle" (1965) and "The Sailor from Gibraltar" (1967) were both castigated at the time of their release, but are visually sumptuous and intriguing, if flawed, studies of tormented passion. "The Charge of the Light Brigade" (1968), meanwhile, earned measured praise for its unromanticized portrait of Victorian military life; "Hamlet" (1969), starring Nicol Williamson, and "A Delicate Balance" (1973), with Katharine Hepburn and Paul Scofield, were effective examples of stage productions transposed to the screen; and "Joseph Andrews" (1977) was an unsuccessful attempt to repeat the "Tom Jones" formula.

Richardson's later features were produced in the US. "The Border" (1982) was noted more for Jack Nicholson's performance than for the direction; "Hotel New Hampshire" (1984), a faithful adaptation of John Irving's novel featuring a star-studded cast (Jodie Foster, Beau Bridges, Nastassja Kinski, et al.), met with only limited critical and commercial success.

In the late 1970s Richardson turned to American TV, where he directed "A Death in Canaan" (1978), "Penalty Phase" (1986), "Beryl Markham: A Shadow on the Sun" (1988) and the elaborate "Phantom of the Opera" (1990) starring Burt Lancaster and Charles Dance. Filmed in 1991 and unreleased until after his death, Richardson's final feature "Blue Skies" (1994) was hailed as a return to form. This sensitively handled domestic drama featured an Oscar-winning lead performance by Jessica Lange.

From 1962-67, Richardson was married to actress Vanessa Redgrave. Their two daughters, Natasha and Joely Richardson were both actresses.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Blue Sky (1994) Director
2.
  Women & Men: Stories of Seduction (1990) Director ("Hills Like White Elephants")
3.
  Penalty Phase (1986) Director
4.
5.
  Border, The (1981) Director
6.
  Death In Canaan (1978) Director
7.
  Joseph Andrews (1977) Director
8.
  Dead Cert (1974) Director
9.
  A Delicate Balance (1973) Director
10.
  Ned Kelly (1970) Director

CAST: (feature film)

VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1952:
Joined the BBC TV directors' training program
1953:
Began directing for the BBC with such productions as "Othello" and Dostoyevsky's "Gambler"
1954:
Wrote articles on film for <i>Sight and Sound</i>
1955:
Stage directing debut, "The Country Wife" at the Royal Theatre in England
:
Helped form the English Stage Company with George Goetschius and George Devine
1955:
Co-directed first short film, "Mama Don't Allow" with Karel Reisz
1956:
Directed groundbreaking production of John Osborne's "Look Back in Anger" at London's Royal Court Theatre
1957:
Made Broadway directing debut when "Look Back in Anger" moved to New York
1958:
Formed own film company, Woodfall Film Productions with John Osborne
1959:
Directed first feature, the film adaptation of Osborne's "Look Back in Anger"; produced through Woodfall Film
1960:
Produced first feature, "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning"; directed by Karel Reisz
1961:
Directed first Hollywood film, "Sanctuary"
1963:
Helmed first color film, "Tom Jones"
1967:
Helmed the British drama, "The Sailor from Gibraltar," starring Jeanne Moreau and then wife Vanessa Redgrave
1968:
Directed then wife, Vanessa Redgrave in "The Charge of the Light Brigade"
1973:
Directed the film adaptation of Edward Albee's play, "A Delicate Balance"
1975:
Fired by Motown head Berry Gordy shortly after production began on "Mahogany," starring Diana Ross; Gordy took over directing
1978:
Directed first US TV-movie, "A Death in Canaan"
1984:
Wrote and directed the film adaptation of "The Hotel New Hampshire," starring Jodie Foster, Rob Lowe and Beau Bridges
1990:
Directed one of three short stories for HBO's anthology special, "Women and Men: Stories of Seduction"
1994:
Last feature film, "Blue Skies," starring Jessica Lange in her Oscar winning performance (completed in 1991 and released posthumously)
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Ashville College: -
University of Oxford: - 1952

Notes

Richardson directed for the London stage from 1956-72 and the productions he staged include: "The Entertainer", "A Taste of Honey", "Requiem for a Nun", "Cards of Identity", "The Chairs", "The Making of Moo", "Flesh to a Tiger", "Orpheus Descending", "Look After Lulu", "The Changeling" and "Luther". He directed Nicol Williamson in "Hamlet" on Broadway in 1968.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Vanessa Redgrave. Actor. Married on April 29, 1962; divorced in 1967.
companion:
Jeanne Moreau. Actor. Involved in the mid-1960s.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Clarence Albert Richardson. Pharmacist.
mother:
Elsie Richardson.
daughter:
Natasha Richardson. Actor. Born on May 11, 1963; mother, Vanessa Redgrave.
daughter:
Joely Richardson. Actor. Born on January 9, 1965; mother, Vanessa Redgrave.
daughter:
Katherine Grimond.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"The Cinema of Tony Richardson" State University of New York Press

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute