skip navigation
Bryan Forbes

Bryan Forbes

Up
Down

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

 
 

Restless Natives DVD Ned Beatty co-stars in this classic British comedy about two friends who become... more info $9.98was $9.98 Buy Now

The Whisperers DVD Dame Edith Evans won the Best Actress Award from the New York Film Critics... more info $19.95was $19.95 Buy Now

The Wrong Box DVD Set in Victorian England, The Wrong Box is a British black comedy with a... more info $20.99was $20.99 Buy Now



Also Known As: John Theobald Clarke, Truk Thrust Died: May 8, 2013
Born: July 22, 1926 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Stratford-at-Bow, England, GB Profession: director, screenwriter, actor, novelist, producer, executive, journalist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

The multi-talented London-born Bryan Forbes began his career as an actor, establishing himself as a competent supporting player on both stage and screen, but it was as a writer that he finally promoted himself through the ranks. A short story writer and journalist, he received his first screenwriting credit on Jose Ferrer's "The Cockleshell Heroes" (1955), although he previously had made uncredited contributions to "The Black Knight" (1954) and "An Alligator Named Daisy" (also 1955). With Richard Attenborough, Forbes formed the production company Beaver Films in 1959, and their initial offering was "The Angry Silence" (1960), for which Forbes won a British Film Academy Award for Best Screenplay. He then got his first opportunity to direct when he replaced Guy Green at the helm of Beaver Films' "Whistle Down the Wind" (1961) and delivered a poignant, believable story of childhood innocence, starring Haley Mills as one of three children who discover a fugitive (Alan Bates) and believe him to be Christ. Forbes followed that success by directing two of his own screenplays, eliciting a fine performance from Leslie Caron facing pregnancy alone in "The L-Shaped Room" (1962) and orchestrating the remarkable,...

The multi-talented London-born Bryan Forbes began his career as an actor, establishing himself as a competent supporting player on both stage and screen, but it was as a writer that he finally promoted himself through the ranks. A short story writer and journalist, he received his first screenwriting credit on Jose Ferrer's "The Cockleshell Heroes" (1955), although he previously had made uncredited contributions to "The Black Knight" (1954) and "An Alligator Named Daisy" (also 1955). With Richard Attenborough, Forbes formed the production company Beaver Films in 1959, and their initial offering was "The Angry Silence" (1960), for which Forbes won a British Film Academy Award for Best Screenplay. He then got his first opportunity to direct when he replaced Guy Green at the helm of Beaver Films' "Whistle Down the Wind" (1961) and delivered a poignant, believable story of childhood innocence, starring Haley Mills as one of three children who discover a fugitive (Alan Bates) and believe him to be Christ.

Forbes followed that success by directing two of his own screenplays, eliciting a fine performance from Leslie Caron facing pregnancy alone in "The L-Shaped Room" (1962) and orchestrating the remarkable, suspense-filled thriller "Seance on a Wet Afternoon" (1964). Though the latter film earned Kim Stanley a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her Method acting, Attenborough as the docile, defeated husband was by far the better of the two leads. "King Rat" (1965), starring George Segal, took Forbes stateside to direct his adaptation of the James Clavell novel and was praised for its many exciting scenes and thoughtful presentation of the effect of captivity on Allied prisoners during World War II. "The Whisperers" (1967) featured Dame Edith Evans' searing portrait of a dotty old lady struggling to stand tall in the face of a hurricane wind of ill-fortune, although the writer-director went for the tear ducts at every possible occasion. The melodrama as a whole may have fallen short of the desired mark, but Evans' riveting performance (one of her best on screen) elevated the film to a work of importance.

In 1969 Forbes accepted the post of production chief at London's EMI-Elstree Studios, which had just swallowed up the Associated British Picture Corporation. Though responsible for a number of notable films during his tenure (Richard Fuest's "And Soon the Darkness" and Leonard Jeffries' "The Railway Children" in 1970 and Joseph Losey's "The Go-Between" and the ballet film "The Tales of Beatrix Potter" in 1971), he encountered hostility for his humane but unwise refusal to downsize, resigning in March 1971 to concentrate on his writing. Since then, he has directed such popular films as "The Stepford Wives" (1974) and the ill-advised sequel "International Velvet" (1978), which he also wrote and produced. Forbes adapted his own best-selling novel "The Endless Game", directing it as a 1990 Showtime cable movie starring George Segal, and collaborated with William Boyd and William Goldman on the screenplay for Attenborough's biopic "Chaplin" (1992). Accused of having no dominant themes or personal style in his films, he has consistently proved himself an actor's director, coaxing fine performances from many of his leads, several of whom (i.e., Caron, Stanley, Evans, Attenborough) have won awards for their work.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Endless Game, The (1990) Director
2.
  Naked Face, The (1985) Director
3.
  Better Late Than Never (1983) Director
4.
  Sunday Lovers (1980) Director (English Segment)
5.
  International Velvet (1979) Director
6.
7.
  The Stepford Wives (1975) Director
8.
  Raging Moon, The (1970) Director
9.
10.
  Deadfall (1968) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Restless Natives (1986) Tourist
2.
 International Velvet (1979) Announcer At Olympia
3.
 Slipper and the Rose, The (1976) Herald
4.
5.
 I Am a Dancer (1972) Narration
6.
 Raging Moon, The (1970) Voice Reading Title Quotation
7.
 Of Human Bondage (1964)
8.
 The Guns of Navarone (1961) Cohn
9.
 The League of Gentlemen (1961) Martin Porthill
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1942:
Became a "question master" on a BBC radio quiz program, Junior Brains Trust
1945:
Served in British Army, first in the Intelligence Corps and then in the Combined Forces Entertainment Unit
1948:
Film actor in "The Small Back Room"
1948:
Acted on stage in "Gathering Storm"
1951:
Moved to Hollywood with first wife Constance Smith and acted in Raoul Walsh's "The World in His Arms" (1952) before returning to England alone the following year
:
Briefly the fashion critic for SPECTATOR and also wrote for PICTUREGOER (under various pseudonyms)
1953:
Wrote article about himself ("Behind the Forbes Frown") under pseudonym of Paul Ridgway
1955:
First screenplay credit, Jose Ferrer's "The Cockleshell Heroes"
1959:
Joined forces with Richard Attenborough to form a production company called Beaver Films
1960:
Wrote, co-produced and acted in "The Angry Silence", directed by Guy Green and starring Attenborough
1961:
Got first directorial assignment, "Whistle Down the Wind", when Green dropped out; starred Hayley Mills and Alan Bates and was based on a novel by Mills' mother Mary Haley Bell
1961:
Acted in "The Guns of Navarone"
1962:
Wrote, directed and played a small part in "The L-Shaped Room", based on Lynne Reid Banks' novel; star Leslie Caron received a Best Actress Oscar nomination
1964:
Produced, wrote and directed "Seance on a Wet Afternoon", adapted from a novel by Mark McShane; starred Attenborough (who also produced) and Kim Stanley, who was nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award
1965:
On his second more successful trip to Hollywood, directed "King Rat", adapted from the James Clavell novel; starred George Segal
1966:
Bombed with his second film for Columbia, "The Wrong Box"
1967:
Produced, directed and wrote "The Whisperers", a tour de force for Dame Edith Evans who garnered a Best Actress Academy Award nomination
1969:
Directed Katharine Hepburn, Charles Boyer and Evans in "The Madwoman of Chaillot", misfire screen version of the Jean Girdeaux' play
1969:
Appointed chief of production and managing director of Associated British (EMI)
1970:
Angered folks at EMI by taking time to make "The Raging Moon/Long Ago Tomorrow", even though he worked on film without pay
1971:
Resigned post at EMI
1973:
Produced and directed two British TV biographies, "I Caught Acting Like the Measles" (Dame Edith Evans) and "Goodbye Norma Jean, and Other Things" (Elton John)
1973:
Began as director of Capital Radio
1974:
Directed "The Stepford Wives" from a screenplay by William Goldman and adapted from the Ira Levin novel
1978:
Wrote, produced and directed "International Velvet", a sequel to 1944's "National Velvet" with wife Nanette Newman as the adult Velvet Brown
1980:
Directed Peter O'Toole in Old Vic stage production of "Macbeth"
1980:
Directed first TV drama, "Jessie", starring Nanette Newman
1980:
Wrote screenplay for "Hopscotch", starring Walter Matthau and Glenda Jackson; from novel by Brian Garfield
1980:
Initial collaboration with Roger Moore, the English segment of the episodic feature "Sunday Lovers"
1985:
Adapted and directed Sidney Sheldon's novel "The Naked Face", starring Moore
1990:
Adapted novel "The Endless Game" as a Showtime TV movie; also directed; reunited with George Segal
1992:
Collaborated on screenplay (with William Boyd and Goldman) for Attenborough's biopic "Chaplin"; ninth feature with Attenborough
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

West Ham Secondary School: -
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art: -

Notes

"I want to encourage the film of ideas which is also entertaining, which is adult, which does not pander to the lowest common denominator, which does not depend on violence for its spurious shock value or sex for its transient excitement." --Bryan Forbes, at the time of his appointment as head of production at EMI

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Constance Smith. Actor. Married in1951; separated in 1952; divorced.
wife:
Nanette Newman. Actor. Married in 1954; has appeared in nine films directed by her husband, including "Seance on a Wet Afternoon" (1964) and "The Stepford Wives" (1974).

Family close complete family listing

father:
William Theobald Clarke.
mother:
Judith Clarke.
daughter:
Sarah Forbes. Actor. Mother, Nanette Newman; has acted in two of father's films, "The Whisperers" (1967) and "The Raging Moon" (1970).
daughter:
Emma Forbes. Actor. Mother, Nanette Newman; acted in two of father's movies, "The Raging Moon" and "International Velvet" (1978).
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Truth Lies Sleeping"
"The Distant Laughter"
"Notes For Life"
"Ned's Girl"
"That Despicable Race"
"The Endless Game"
"The Rewrite Man"
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute