Joseph Losey


Director
Joseph Losey

About

Also Known As
Andrea Forzano, Joseph Walton Losey Iii, Joseph Walton, Victor Hanbury
Birth Place
La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA
Born
January 14, 1909
Died
June 22, 1984

Biography

Joseph Losey, born to a family whose American roots predated the American Revolution, has been called the "most European of American directors." His influences include Bertolt Brecht and Harold Pinter as well as Italian neo-realism and German expressionism. In 1935, he even studied under Sergei Eisenstein in Moscow, where he also met Brecht. It was his blacklisting in 1951, however, that...

Photos & Videos

The Prowler - Lobby Cards
These Are the Damned - Movie Poster

Family & Companions

Patricia Losey
Wife

Bibliography

"Conversations With Losey"
Michael Ciment, Methuen (1985)

Biography

Joseph Losey, born to a family whose American roots predated the American Revolution, has been called the "most European of American directors." His influences include Bertolt Brecht and Harold Pinter as well as Italian neo-realism and German expressionism. In 1935, he even studied under Sergei Eisenstein in Moscow, where he also met Brecht. It was his blacklisting in 1951, however, that forced Losey to make Europe his home.

In 1930, after receiving his M.A. from Harvard, Losey moved to New York City to work in the theater; he directed his first play, "Little Ol' Boy," three years later. Directing for both political theater groups and the WPA's "Living Newspaper" productions, Losey combined an anti-realist aesthetic with radical political views. In 1947 he directed the world premiere of Brecht's "Galileo Galilei," a play he would film in 1975.

Losey began to work in film in 1938, making educational documentaries for the Rockefeller Foundation. He directed his first feature, "The Boy With Green Hair," ten years later, and by 1951 had directed five films, the last being a remake of Fritz Lang's "M." Although none of these films expressed Losey's radical views, recurrent themes such as manhunts and mass hysteria provided a timely commentary on the political paranoia of the day. Losey himself was blacklisted in 1951 when he refused to testify before the HUAC. Unable to work in Hollywood, he moved to England, where he worked under pseudonyms for several years.

In England, Losey's focus shifted from the public themes of his Hollywood films to private relationships within the rigid British class system. He brought a stern moral scrutiny to bear on the status quo, often using the figure of the disruptive intruder as a catalyst. Striving for an intellectual rather than an emotional engagement with his audience, he tended to contain the action of his films within tightly defined settings, and to pay minute attention to symbolic details of the mise-en-scene. All of these factors combined to give his work an allegorical quality which, together with Losey's didacticism and pessimistic world view, alienated popular audiences.

Losey's most successful films were his collaborations with playwright Harold Pinter: "The Servant" (1963), "Accident" (1967) and "The Go-Between" (1971). Losey and Pinter also attempted to film Marcel Proust's "Remembrance of Things Past," but while Pinter's screenplay was published, their film never got made. Like Orson Welles, Losey is almost as well known for his numerous uncompleted or aborted projects as for his finished ones. (He was, in fact, set to direct "High Noon" shortly before he was blacklisted.)

In 1976 Losey relocated to France--where he is considered one of the great auteurs of cinema--and directed three films in French. His last feature, "Steaming," released posthumously in 1985, was his first English-language film in almost a decade. In the early 1980s, Losey almost fulfilled his dream of making another film in the United States, but both of his planned projects fell through, one within days of shooting.

Losey resented his alienation from his country, but also acknowledged its positive aspects. Rather than end up a jaded Hollywood director, he was forced to be an outsider--a position that was to inspire, as well as frustrate, his work.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

Steaming (1985)
Director
La Truite (1982)
Director
Don Giovanni (1979)
Director
Roads to the South (1978)
Director
Mr. Klein (1976)
Director
The Romantic Englishwoman (1975)
Director
Galileo (1974)
Director
A Doll's House (1973)
Director
The Assassination Of Trotsky (1972)
Director
Figures in a Landscape (1971)
Director
The Go-Between (1971)
Director
Secret Ceremony (1968)
Director
Boom! (1968)
Director
Accident (1967)
Director
Modesty Blaise (1966)
Director
These Are the Damned (1965)
Director
The Servant (1964)
Director
Eva (1964)
Director
King and Country (1964)
Director
The Concrete Jungle (1962)
Director
Chance Meeting (1959)
Director
The Gypsy And The Gentleman (1958)
Director
Time Without Pity (1957)
Director
Finger Of Guilt (1956)
Director
The Sleeping Tiger (1954)
Director
Stranger on the Prowl (1952)
Director
The Big Night (1951)
Director
The Prowler (1951)
Director
M (1951)
Director
The Lawless (1950)
Director
The Boy with Green Hair (1948)
Director
Youth Gets a Break (1941)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

La Truite (1982)
Resistance (1976)
75 Years of Cinema Museum (1972)
Himself
Eva (1964)

Writer (Feature Film)

La Truite (1982)
Writer (Adaptation)
La Truite (1982)
Screenplay
Don Giovanni (1979)
Adaptation
Don Giovanni (1979)
Screenwriter
Roads to the South (1978)
Screenplay
Galileo (1974)
Writer (Adaptation)
Galileo (1974)
Screenplay
The Sleeping Tiger (1954)
Screenwriter
The Big Night (1951)
Screenwriter
Youth Gets a Break (1941)
Screenwriter

Producer (Feature Film)

A Doll's House (1973)
Executive Producer
The Assassination Of Trotsky (1972)
Producer
Accident (1967)
Producer
The Servant (1964)
Producer
King and Country (1964)
Producer
Finger Of Guilt (1956)
Producer

Film Production - Main (Feature Film)

Comment Yukong Deplaca les Montagnes (1976)
Production Supervisor (English Version)

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Hollywood On Trial (1976)
Assistant

Director (Short)

A Man on the Beach (1955)
Director
A Gun in His Hand (1945)
Director

Life Events

Photo Collections

The Prowler - Lobby Cards
Here are several Lobby Cards from Joseph Losey's The Prowler (1951), starring Van Heflin and Evelyn Keyes. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
These Are the Damned - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for These Are the Damned (1963, released in the U.S. in 1965), directed by Joseph Losey. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.

Videos

Movie Clip

Big Night, The (1951) - Make A Wish Downtrodden from the opening frame, still-teenaged John Barrymore Jr. as Georgie, bullied then consoled by bartender Flanagan (Howland Chamberlin) and his dad, Preston Foster, in The Big Night, 1951, screenplay by director Joseph Losey and Stanley Ellin, from his novel, with uncredited contributions from Ring Lardner Jr. and Hugo Butler.
Big Night, The (1951) - Not Fighting Back Fuming after watching his bartender dad, whom he idolizes, willingly take a beating from a newspaper columnist named Judge, teen Georgie (John Barrymore Jr.) visits the store next door, hearing from a cop (Myron Healey), the uncredited shopkeeper and wife, also juggling a baby and a revolver, in director Joseph Losey’s The Big Night, 1951.
Big Night, The (1951) - Not That Kind Of Doctor Joseph Losey directs John Barrymore Jr. as teen Georgie, at a prize-fight, who doesn’t realize he got conned out of the money he got for his father’s ticket, counseled by Cooper (Philip Bourneuf), who bought the ticket, aiming to chase columnist Judge (Howard St. John) who beat up the father earlier that night, in The Big Night, 1951.
M (1951) - Open, Child Killer Sought No messing about in director Joseph Losey’s opening, and star David Wayne is not revealed though the figure seen stalking various children sure resembles him, in producer Seymour Nebenzal’s Hollywood re-make of his original directed by Fritz Lang in Germany, M, 1951.
M (1951) - Shoes Again An interesting single shot scene by director Joseph Losey, Howard Da Silva as the matter-of-fact detective Carney, Steve Brodie his colleague, Madge Blake an emphatic but misguided witness, as the search for the child-killer expands, in the re-make of Fritz Lang’s classic, M, 1951.
Romantic Englishwoman, The (1975) - By The Way I'm A Poet At home in England, cynical writer Lewis (Michael Caine), with his wife Elizabeth (Glenda Jackson, title character), raising the possibility of using her recent trip to a German spa as material for his novel, in Joseph Losey’s The Romantic Englishwoman, 1975, co-written by Tom Stoppard.
Finger Of Guilt (1956) - You Film People The opening from un-credited director Joseph Losey, a blacklisted American ex-pat working in England, introducing Richard Basehart as American movie producer Reggie, now working in England, explaining his troubles to his doctor (Basil Dignam), in Finger Of Guilt, 1956.
Finger Of Guilt (1956) - The Big Producer Act Actress Kay (Constance Cummings), confirming that she’s the woman with whom he had the affair that caused him to leave Hollywood for England, tangles with producer Reggie (Richard Basehart), who’s now being blackmailed by somebody in Newcastle, in Finger Of Guilt, 1956.
Finger Of Guilt (1956) - I Don't Want Your Sympathy American producer Reggie (Richard Basehart) has brought his wife (Faith Brook) to Newcastle, England to confront the actress (Mary Murphy), who may be blackmailing him, though he’s convinced he’s never met her, in American ex-pat director Joseph Losey’s English-made Finger Of Guilt, 1956.
King & Country (1964) - Royal Fellowship Of Death Arresting opening from director Joseph Losey, with the Royal Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park and its quote from Henry V, from the World War I drama King & Country, 1964, starring Tom Courtenay and Dirk Bogarde.
King & Country (1964) - It's No Worse For You From the first interview by British military attorney Hargreaves (Dirk Bogarde), who began with little sympathy for accused deserter "Hamp" (Tom Courtenay), near the front in Belgium, circa 1917, in Joseph Losey's King & Country, 1964.
King & Country (1964) - Here Dead Lie We The voice of accused deserter "Hamp" (Tom Courtenay) with the opening lines of the A.E. Houseman poem known by its first line, continuing director Joseph Losey's opening, also introducing officers Webb (Barry Foster) and Hargreaves (Dirk Bogarde), in the WWI drama King & Country, 1964.

Trailer

Family

Gavrik Losey
Son
Film producer.

Companions

Patricia Losey
Wife

Bibliography

"Conversations With Losey"
Michael Ciment, Methuen (1985)