Charles Bennett


Screenwriter

About

Also Known As
Charles Alfred Bennett
Birth Place
Shoreham-by-Sea, England, GB
Born
August 02, 1899
Died
June 15, 1995

Biography

Playwright whose first film writing credit was as co-adaptor--with director Alfred Hitchcock--of his own play, "Blackmail" (1929), which also happened to be the first sound film produced in England. Bennett's knack for tense adventure stories fuelled such subsequent Hitchcock outings as "The 39 Steps" (1935) and "Foreign Correspondent" (1940). He also scripted the first screen version of...

Family & Companions

Faith Bennett
Wife
Actor; aviator. Marriage ended during WWII.
Betty Bennett
Wife
Died in 1984.

Notes

In 1990 Bennett was hired by producers Stuart Birnbaum and William Blaylock to script a remake of "Blackmail" for 20th Century-Fox.

"I never have been inactive; I never will be. At the age of 91, I want to live to 120 because there is so much I want to write." --Charles Bennett

Biography

Playwright whose first film writing credit was as co-adaptor--with director Alfred Hitchcock--of his own play, "Blackmail" (1929), which also happened to be the first sound film produced in England. Bennett's knack for tense adventure stories fuelled such subsequent Hitchcock outings as "The 39 Steps" (1935) and "Foreign Correspondent" (1940). He also scripted the first screen version of the classic adventure yarn "King Solomon's Mines" (1937) and, in the mid-1950s, began a multi-film association with producer-director Irwin Allen (e.g. "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" 1961, "Five Weeks in a Balloon" 1962). Bennett himself directed several features and from the early 1950s began working extensively in TV.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

No Escape (1953)
Director
Madness of the Heart (1949)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

Bend of the River (1952)
Young man
It Ain't Hay (1943)
S.P.C.A. driver
Mrs. Miniver (1942)
Milkman
Random Harvest (1942)
Porter
A Yank in the R.A.F. (1941)
Man on stretcher
Man Hunt (1941)
Costermonger
Adventure in Diamonds (1940)
Cockney sailor
The Light That Failed (1940)
Soldier
Gunga Din (1939)
Telegraph operator
Mysterious Mr. Moto (1938)
Cockney singer
The Road Back (1937)
Innkeeper
The Man Who Cried Wolf (1937)
Taxi manager
A Damsel in Distress (1937)
Barker
Step Lively, Jeeves! (1937)
Steward
Lloyd's of London (1936)
Coster
I Live My Life (1935)
Stewart
Treasure Island (1934)
Daddy Dawson
Narcotic (1933)
America (1924)
William Pitt
The Top of New York (1922)
Mr. Isaacson
All Wrong (1919)
Donald Thompson
The Bride of Fear (1918)
Martin Sterling
The Rainbow Girl (1917)
Amos Divine
Tillie's Punctured Romance (1914)
Donald Banks

Writer (Feature Film)

Five Weeks in a Balloon (1962)
Screenwriter
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961)
Screenwriter
The Lost World (1960)
Screenwriter
The Big Circus (1959)
Screenwriter
Curse of the Demon (1957)
Screenwriter
The Story of Mankind (1957)
Screenwriter
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
Based on a Story by
The Phenix City Story (1955)
Screenwriter
Dangerous Mission (1954)
Screenwriter
No Escape (1953)
Writer
The Green Glove (1952)
Original story and Screenplay
Kind Lady (1951)
Screenwriter
Where Danger Lives (1950)
Screenwriter
Black Magic (1949)
Screenwriter
The Sign of the Ram (1948)
Screenwriter
Unconquered (1947)
Screenwriter
Ivy (1947)
Screenwriter
The Story of Dr. Wassell (1944)
Screenwriter
Forever and a Day (1943)
Screenwriter
Joan of Paris (1942)
Screenwriter
Reap the Wild Wind (1942)
Screenwriter
They Dare Not Love (1941)
Screenwriter
Foreign Correspondent (1940)
Screenwriter
Balalaika (1939)
Screenwriter
The Girl Was Young (1938)
Screenwriter
The Young in Heart (1938)
Adaptation
King of the Damned (1936)
Screenwriter
Secret Agent (1936)
Adaptation
Sabotage (1936)
Screenwriter
The 39 Steps (1935)
Adaptation
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1935)
Story
The Clairvoyant (1935)
Adaptation
Blue Smoke (1935)
From Story
Blackmail (1929)
Play As Source Material
Blackmail (1929)
Screenplay

Music (Feature Film)

No Escape (1953)
Composer

Cast (Short)

Teddy at the Throttle (1917)
Recreation (1914)

Life Events

1914

Film acting debut, "Tillie's Punctured Romance"

1929

First screenplay (from play), first collaborated and co-wrote with Alfred Hitchcock, "Blackmail"; Britain's first produced sound film

1937

Wrote original script, "King Solomon's Mines"

1937

Relocated to USA

1938

First US produced feature, adaptation credit for, "The Young in Heart"

1940

Final official screenplay credit (from story) in collaboration with Hitchcock, "Foreign Correspondent"

1942

Consulted on Hitchcock's "Saboteur"; took no credit

1949

Feature directorial debut, "Madness of the Heart"

1950

First assistant director credit on Douglas Sirk's, "Mystery Submarine"

1952

TV series debut as a director, "Cavalcade of America"; later known as "The DuPont Theater"

1953

US directorial debut, also wrote, "No Escape"; marks final segue into directing

1965

Final feature screenplay credit, "War Gods of the Deep"

1968

Final TV credit, wrote for the series, "Land of the Giants"

Videos

Movie Clip

Sabotage (1936) - You Made London Laugh On location at the London zoo aquarium, financially motivated amateur terrorist Verloc (Oscar Homolka), having staged a blackout the night before, meets mysterious paymaster Vladimir (Austin Trevor), with a famous effect by director Alfred Hitchcock, in Sabotage, 1936.
Sabotage (1936) - If The Arsenal Lose We know grocer Ted (John Loder) is a policeman, Sylvia Sidney at the ticket box doesn't know the guys (William Dewhurst, Peter Bull, then Torin Thatcher) visiting her husband (Oscar Homolka) are terrorists, her young brother (Desmond Tester) also an innocent, in Hitchcock's Sabotage, 1936.
Blackmail (1929) - Flying Squad Part of the prologue, from the shot-silent portion of the film, with sound effects added, many tricks from the director, John Longden the young cop and leading man introduced, from what is generally seen as the first British talkie, Alfred Hitchcock's Blackmail, 1929.
Blackmail (1929) - Got A Real Criminal To Direct The director very much at play here, his cameo on the London underground, then protagonists Alice (Anny Ondra, voice by Joan Barry) and boyfriend policeman Frank (John Longden) feuding at tea, with witty insights about the pictures, in Alfred Hitchcok's first partial-talkie, Blackmail, 1929.
Blackmail (1929) - I'd Better Go Polish-born Anny Ondra here as straying "Alice," is lip-synching to the off-camera voice of Joan Barry, Alfred Hitchcock directing his first talkie, quite deliberate with the shadow on the face of "the artist" Cyril Ritchard, who goes a bit too far for her, in Blackmail, 1929.
Foreign Correspondent (1940) - May I Have Your Picture? Reporter "Haverstock" (Joel McCrea) is baffled when Dutch diplomat Van Meer (Albert Bassermann) doesn't know him, Charles Waggenheim as the assassin, and pursuit with friend Carol (Laraine Day) and fellow reporter ffolliott (George Sanders), in Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent, 1940.
Where Danger Lives (1950) - Tell Yourself A Bedtime Story From the credits, looks like San Francisco, Dr. Cameron (Robert Mitchum) displaying compassion and good surgical mask hygiene for the kids in the ward, in Where Danger Lives, 1950, co-starring Faith Domergue in her debut for Howard Hughes' RKO.
Where Danger Lives - Appealing, Isn't She? Inebriated Dr. Cameron (Robert Mitchum) was just leaving after discovering Margo (Faith Domergue) forgot to tell him she was married to Lannington (Claude Rains) in John Farrow's Where Danger Lives, 1950.
Where Danger Lives (1950) - Before I Pass Out Presuming one could tell the difference, en route to the Mexican border, Dr. Cameron (Robert Mitchum) explains to fellow fugitive lover Margo (Faith Domergue) that he'll soon be unconscious, in Where Danger Lives, 1950.
Where Danger Lives (1950) - Whiskers Week Absurdity from sometime-Hitchcock screenwriter Charles Bennett, as fugitive murder suspects Jeff (Robert Mitchum) and Margo (Faith Domergue), headed for the Mexican border, get busted in Arizona for insufficient facial hair, in Where Danger Lives, 1950.
Man Who Knew Too Much, The (1956) - I Am Ambrose Chappell American Dr. McKenna (James Stewart), caught up in international intrigue, confronts two taxidermists named Chappell before he realizes he's on the wrong trail, in Alfred Hitchcock's often comic remake of his own 1935 hit, The Man Who Knew Too Much, 1956.
Curse Of The Demon (1957) - Doth Walk In Fear And Dread American scientist Holden (Dana Andrews), lured to dinner with schoolteacher Joanna (Peggy Cummins), whose scientist uncle was killed by the devil cult, still won't believe there's magic afoot, in director Jacques Tourneur's Curse Of The Demon, 1957.

Trailer

Family

John Bennett
Son
Survived him.

Companions

Faith Bennett
Wife
Actor; aviator. Marriage ended during WWII.
Betty Bennett
Wife
Died in 1984.

Bibliography

Notes

In 1990 Bennett was hired by producers Stuart Birnbaum and William Blaylock to script a remake of "Blackmail" for 20th Century-Fox.

"I never have been inactive; I never will be. At the age of 91, I want to live to 120 because there is so much I want to write." --Charles Bennett