Bryan Forbes


Director
Bryan Forbes

About

Also Known As
Brian Forbes, John Theobald Clarke, Truk Thrust
Birth Place
Stratford-at-Bow, England, GB
Born
July 22, 1926
Died
May 08, 2013

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...

Family & Companions

Constance Smith
Wife
Actor. Married in1951; separated in 1952; divorced.
Nanette Newman
Wife
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).

Bibliography

"That Despicable Race"
Bryan Forbes (1980)
"Ned's Girl"
Bryan Forbes (1977)
"Notes For Life"
Bryan Forbes (1974)
"The Distant Laughter"
Bryan Forbes (1972)

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

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, 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.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

The Endless Game (1990)
Director
The Naked Face (1985)
Director
Better Late Than Never (1983)
Director
Sunday Lovers (1981)
Director (English Segment)
International Velvet (1979)
Director
The Slipper and the Rose (1976)
Director
The Stepford Wives (1975)
Director
The Raging Moon (1970)
Director
The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969)
Director
Deadfall (1968)
Director
The Whisperers (1967)
Director
The Wrong Box (1966)
Director
King Rat (1965)
Director
Of Human Bondage (1964)
Director addl scenes (see note)
Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964)
Director
The L-Shaped Room (1963)
Director
Whistle Down the Wind (1962)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

Restless Natives (1986)
Tourist
International Velvet (1979)
Announcer At Olympia
The Slipper and the Rose (1976)
Herald
The Stepford Wives (1975)
I Am a Dancer (1972)
Narrator
The Raging Moon (1970)
Voice Reading Title Quotation
Of Human Bondage (1964)
The Guns of Navarone (1961)
Cohn
The League of Gentlemen (1961)
Martin Porthill
The Angry Silence (1960)
Yesterday's Enemy (1959)
Dawson
The Key (1958)
Weaver
Hell, Heaven or Hoboken (1958)
Enemy from Space (1957)
Marsh
Satellite in the Sky (1956)
It's Great to Be Young (1956)
The Baby And The Battleship (1956)
Professor
Now and Forever (1955)
Passage Home (1955)
Man with a Million (1954)
Tod
An Inspector Calls (1954)
Up to His Neck (1954)
Sea Devils (1953)
Willie
Wheel of Fate (1953)
Appointment In London (1953)
The World in His Arms (1952)
William Cleggett
Green Grow the Rushes (1951)
Fred Starling
The Wooden Horse (1950)
All Over The Town (1949)
Dear Mr. Prohack (1949)
Hour of Glory (1949)

Writer (Feature Film)

Chaplin (1992)
Screenplay
The Endless Game (1990)
Screenplay
The Naked Face (1985)
Screenwriter
Better Late Than Never (1983)
Screenwriter
Hopscotch (1980)
Screenplay
International Velvet (1979)
Screenwriter
The Slipper and the Rose (1976)
Screenwriter
The Raging Moon (1970)
Screenwriter
Deadfall (1968)
Screenwriter
The Whisperers (1967)
Screenwriter
McGuire, Go Home! (1966)
Screenwriter
King Rat (1965)
Screenwriter
Station Six--Sahara (1964)
Screenwriter
Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964)
Screenwriter
Of Human Bondage (1964)
Screenwriter
The L-Shaped Room (1963)
Screenwriter
Only Two Can Play (1962)
Screenwriter
The League of Gentlemen (1961)
Screenwriter
Man in the Moon (1961)
Screenwriter
The Angry Silence (1960)
Screenplay
Hell, Heaven or Hoboken (1958)
Screenplay
The Captain's Table (1958)
Screenwriter
Triple Deception (1957)
Screenwriter
The Cockleshell Heroes (1956)
Screenwriter
The Black Tent (1956)
Screenwriter
The Black Knight (1954)
Additional Dialogue

Producer (Feature Film)

International Velvet (1979)
Producer
The Wrong Box (1966)
Producer
Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964)
Producer
The Angry Silence (1960)
Producer

Production Companies (Feature Film)

Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964)
Company
Whistle Down the Wind (1962)
Company

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

The Endless Game (1990)
Source Material (From Novel)
An Alligator Named Daisy (1957)
Other
The Baby And The Battleship (1956)
Other

Cast (Special)

December Flower (1987)

Cast (Short)

Meeting the Challenge: INTERNATIONAL VELVET (1978)
Himself

Life Events

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

Acted on stage in "Gathering Storm"

1948

Film actor in "The Small Back Room"

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

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

Acted in "The Guns of Navarone"

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

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

Appointed chief of production and managing director of Associated British (EMI)

1969

Directed Katharine Hepburn, Charles Boyer and Evans in "The Madwoman of Chaillot", misfire screen version of the Jean Girdeaux' play

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 first TV drama, "Jessie", starring Nanette Newman

1980

Directed Peter O'Toole in Old Vic stage production of "Macbeth"

1980

Initial collaboration with Roger Moore, the English segment of the episodic feature "Sunday Lovers"

1980

Wrote screenplay for "Hopscotch", starring Walter Matthau and Glenda Jackson; from novel by Brian Garfield

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

Videos

Movie Clip

League Of Gentlemen, The (1960) - The Liquor IS Genuine Assembling in London's famous Cafe Royal after getting mysterious invitations promising profits, Bryan Forbes (who wrote the screenplay), Terence Alexander, Richard Attenborough, Roger Livesey, Kieron Moore and Norman Bird begin appraising each other, before Jack Hawkins begins to explain, Nigel Patrick arriving late, in the celebrated heist yarn The League Of Gentlemen, 1960.
League Of Gentlemen, The (1960) - You've Had Callers During director Basil Dearden’s introductions of his troupe of complicated heroes, we meet Roger Livesey as, it seems, a London minister, receiving one of the packages from the ringleader (Jack Hawkins) and dealing with Marie Burke. his landlady, early in The League Of Gentlemen, 1960.
League Of Gentlemen, The (1960) - You're All Crooks Upon assembly of the band, mastermind Hyde (Jack Hawkins) reveals the military and criminal backgrounds of Roger Livesey, Richard Attenborough, Bryan Forbes (also the screenwriter), Nigel Patrick, Kieron Moore and Terence Alexander, in The League Of Gentlemen, 1960, directed by Basil Dearden.
League Of Gentlemen, The (1960) - People Are Greedy By way of introducing Richard Attenborough, as mechanic-type Lexy, at a shop in Queens’ Gate Place Mews, visited by his (uncredited) dad and a bird, confirmed as part of the scheme by the paperback in his drawer, in director Basil Dearden’s beloved caper The League Of Gentlemen, 1960.
Seance On A Wet Afternoon (1964) - Last Minute Doubts Cryptic conversation, deranged medium Myra (Kim Stanley) with husband Billy (Richard Attenborough, who also produced) involving their dead son and a barely revealed scheme to enhance their circumstances, early in director Bryan Forbes' Seance On A Wet Afternoon, 1964.
Seance On A Wet Afternoon (1964) - See You In A Tick Director Bryan Forbes looks to be having a good time, shooting and editing his producer and star Richard Attenborough, as Londoner Billy, manipulated by his mentally ill wife into kidnapping affluent Amanda (Judith Donner) in a scheme to prove her powers as a psychic, in Seance On A Wet Afternoon, 1964.
Seance On A Wet Afternoon (1964) - It's A Young Face Opening sequence, director Bryan Forbes presents medium Myra (Kim Stanley) at work, her husband Billy (Richard Attenborough, also the producer) not seen, camera by Gerry Turpin, on location in London's Wimbledon district, in Seance On A Wet Afternoon, 1964.
King Rat (1965) - You're Like All Criminals Director Bryan Forbes has established the miserable Changi P.O.W. camp in Singapore, 1945, where the author James Clavell was himself held, then introduces Lt. Grey (Tom Courtenay), Corporal King (George Segal), and weary Colonel Smedley-Taylor (John Mills), opening King Rat, 1965.
King Rat (1965) - One Day I'll Be Dead Jones (Gerald Sim) is losing it until jaded senior Brit officer Larkin (Denholm Elliott) arrives to preside, after the Japanese commandant (Dale Ishimoto) learns of an illicit radio in his WWII prison camp in Singapore, John Standing the guilty party, in Bryan Forbes' King Rat, 1965.
Madwoman Of Chaillot, The (1969) - Must You Talk Sex? With her fellow crackpots (Margaret Leighton as Constance, Giulietta Masina as Gabrielle), the first significant scene for Katharine Hepburn (title character), approaching the action on location at the Place de l'Alma in Paris, in The Madwoman Of Chaillot, 1969.
Madwoman Of Chaillot, The (1969) - We Have The Bomb! With little context, "The General" (Paul Henreid) addresses his new charges, while the title character (Katharine Hepburn) advances through her neighborhood, early in director Bryan Forbes' all-star contemporary treatment of Jean Giraudoux's The Madwoman Of Chaillot, 1969.
Madwoman Of Chaillot, The (1969) - Scratch On The Negative Waitress Irma (Nanette Newman), with Katherine Hepburn (title character), is alarmed for innocent but unconscious bridge-jumper Roderick (Richard Chamberlain), grilled by a Paris cop (Fernand Gravey), a sub-plot in The Madwoman Of Chaillot, 1969, from the Jean Giraudoux play.

Trailer

Promo

Family

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

Companions

Constance Smith
Wife
Actor. Married in1951; separated in 1952; divorced.
Nanette Newman
Wife
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).

Bibliography

"That Despicable Race"
Bryan Forbes (1980)
"Ned's Girl"
Bryan Forbes (1977)
"Notes For Life"
Bryan Forbes (1974)
"The Distant Laughter"
Bryan Forbes (1972)
"Truth Lies Sleeping"
Bryan Forbes (1950)
"The Endless Game"
Bryan Forbes
"The Rewrite Man"
Bryan Forbes

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