Star Archive

Victor Saville (1897 - 1979)

Victor Saville started in the film business as a cinema manager after being invalided out of the army in W.W.I. In the early twenties he became a producer with Michael Balcon and graduated to directing as talkies came in. In the early thirties he embarked upon a series of the most stylish films ever made in Britain.

He had the knack of directing Jessie Matthews that brought out the best in her. These films - Evergreen, First a Girl etc. - are sophisticated soufflés that have retained their charm while many other films of the period have dated. He could also handle witty spy stories (I Was a Spy) and realistic drama (Hindle Wakes). By the mid-thirties only Hitchcock came close to him.

In 1936 he formed his own production company and the following year MGM hired him to produce The Citadel and Goodbye Mr Chips as part of their effort to use the money their American films had earned in Britain. The success of these films lead Saville to America where he produced a string of solid entertainment packages (i.e. A Woman's Face, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde). In the mid-forties he returned to directing but never reached the heights he did in Britain. His last film as director was the much-mocked The Silver Chalice.       

As a director he mainly concentrated on fluff and that's not the best way to become an auteur. Maybe if he'd gone in for thrillers or heavy dramas he would be better known today. However, he made fluff better than anyone else in the British cinema and his films are among the most playful ever made. The best of his works put women centre stage and give them glorious roles where they can challenge gender stereotypes (Jessie Matthews in First A Girl, Belle Chrystall in Hindle Wakes, Cicely Courtneidge in Me and Marlborough, or Joan Crawford in A Woman's Face (prod.))

Still from the short film ArmisticeOn the set of TeshaStill from TeshaStill from Hindle WakesStill from Hindle WakesStill from Love on WheelsStill from The Good CompanionsStill from The Good CompanionsStill from Friday the ThirteenthStill from Friday the ThirteenthOn the set of EvergreenStill from EvensongStill from First a GirlStill from Dark Journey

Filmography - as Director

1927  The Arcadians
1928 Tesha
1929 Kitty
1929 Woman to Woman
1930 The W Plan
1930 A Warm Corner
1931 The Sport of Kings
1931 Hindle Wakes
1931 Michael and Mary
1931 Sunshine Susie
1932 The Faithful Heart
1932 Love on Wheels
1933 The Good Companions
1933 I Was a Spy
1933 Friday the 13th
1934 Evergreen
1934 Evensong
1934 The Iron Duke
1935 The Dictator
1935 Me and Marlborough
1935 First a Girl
1936 It's Love Again
1937 Dark Journey
1937 Storm in a Teacup
1938 South Riding
1943 Forever and a Day (U.S.)
1945 Tonight and Every Night (U.S.)
1946 The Green Years (U.S.)
1947 Green Dolphin Street (U.S.)
1947 If Winter Comes (U.S.)
1949 The Conspirators (U.S.)
1950 Kim (U.S.)
1951 Calling Bulldog Drummond (U.S.)
1952 24 Hours of a Woman's Life (U.S.)
1954 The Long Wait (U.S.)
1955 The Silver Chalice (U.S.)

 Victor Saville at Amazon UK

 Victor Saville at Amazon US