British cinema has always been rich in producer-director teams. The Boulting Brothers were one of the most notable of these teams and between them created some of the most socially engaged films of the 40s and 50s.
The twins were born on the 21 December 1913, with John the elder by five minutes. They went to school at Reading public school and appeared as extras in Anthony Asquith's Tell England. Their interest in cinema continued after school and John entered the business in 1930 working for a small distributor. Roy headed for Canada where he also found film work for a while.
In 1937 John left England to serve as an ambulance driver for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. When he returned, he and his brother formed Charter Films and began to make short films for the Quota. Their productions quickly became more ambitious. Their anti-Nazi film Pastor Hall had trouble with the censors in the delicate political situation before the outbreak of war, but was ready to take advantage of the changing times once war was declared.
During the war, John served in the RAF while Roy served in the Army; both ended up at their services' respective film units where they built up their reputations. Roy created the Oscar-winning documentary Desert Victory and John had his first director credit on the hit drama Journey Together.
After the war the brothers were well placed to take advantage of the new political environment and the audience's raised interest in political and social issues. they formed a production company and put Journey Together star Richard Attenborough under contract. Fame is the Spur, about a Ramsey McDonald-like Labour leader, and The Guinea Pig, about social integration in public schools performed poorly but Brighton Rock about pre-war gangs was a hit.
After working separately for Hollywood companies for a short period, the brothers reunited for undistinguished comedy Josephine and Men. Their next film together, Private's Progress, was a smash and started a cycle of comedies examining 50s society with a jaundiced eye. They joined the board of British Lion which helped them weather the changing times though by the mid-60s their careers were pretty much over. Only the controversial thriller Twisted Nerve stands out from their late work, and that's mainly because Roy married its young star Hayley Mills.
If the Boulting Brothers' work is not quite as radical as they would have liked, they did at least deliver a handful of solid classics that can still be enjoyed today.
|1938||Consider Your Verdict||prod.||dir.|
|1941||The Dawn Guard||prod.||dir.|
|1947||Fame is the Spur||prod.||dir.|
|1948||The Guinea Pig||prod.||ass.||dir.|
|1950||Seven Days to Noon||co-prod.||co-dir.||co-prod.||co-dir.|
|1951||The Magic Box||dir.|
|1954||Seagulls Over Sorento||co-prod.||co-dir.||co-prod.||co-writ.||co-dir.|
|1955||Josephine and Men||prod.||dir.|
|1956||Run for the Sun (US)||dir.|
|1957||Brothers in Law||prod.||co-writ.||dir.|
|1957||Happy is the Bride||co-writ.||dir.|
|1959||Carlton-Browne of the FO||prod.||co-writ.||co-dir.|
|1959||I'm All Right Jack||co-writ.||dir.||prod.|
|1960||A French Mistress||prod.||co-writ.||dir.|
|1965||Rotten to the Core||dir.||prod.||co-writ.|
|1966||The Family Way||co-prod.||co-dir.||co-prod.||co-adapt.||co-dir.|
|1970||There's a Girl in My Soup||co-prod.||dir.|
|1973||Soft Beds, Hard Battles||prod.||co-writ.||dir.|
|1979||The Last Word||dir.|
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