Star Archive

Walter Summers (1896 - 1973)

Walter Summers is one of the most unjustly forgotten directors in British cinema. Much of his obscurity is due to his best years being in the silent era and also to most of his best films taking World War One as their unfashionable subject matter. With the centenary of the war reviving people's interest and the restoration of one of his best films, The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands, Summers looks like getting his long-overdue reassessment.

He was born into a theatrical family and entered films in 1912 as an assistant. He served in WWI with distinction winning an MC, a DCM and an MM. After the war he had a brief stint with Cecil Hepworth before going to India with the Territorials, then becoming a screenwriter for GB Samuelson. He made his full directorial debut with A Couple of Down and Outs, a charming tale of a returning soldier trying to keep his warhorse from the knacker's yard.

He hit his stride with his trilogy of World War One reconstructions. Ypres, Mons and The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands. By then he was working for British Instructional Films and sailed through the transition to sound with them. BIF was bought out by British International Pictures in the early 30s and Summers went along with the deal. Budgets at BIP were less generous than at BIF and Summers' output appears to have declined. His most revived film is the Bela Lugosi horror The Dark Eyes of London which rattles along enjoyably.

Summers directing career ended when he rejoined the army in World War Two. After the war he joined Associated British but filmed no more. His son Jeremy Summers also had a directing career including The Punch and Judy Man and Ferry Cross the Mersey. 


1923 I Pagliacci (Co dir)
1923 Afterglow (Co dir)
1923 A Couple of Down and Outs
1924 The Unwanted
1924 The Cost of Beauty
1924 Who is the Man?
1925 The Perfect Crime
1925 Ypres
1926 Mons
1926 Nelson
1927 The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands
1928 Bolibar
1929 Lost Patrol
1929 Chamber of Horrors
1929 The Battle of Mons
1930 Raise the Roof
1930 Road to Dishonour
1930 Suspense
1930 The Man from Chicago
1931 The House Opposite
1931 The Flying Fool
1932 Men Like These
1932 Dual Control
1933 Timbuctoo
1933 The Butterfly Affair
1934 The Warren Case
1934 The Return of Bulldog Drummond
1934 What Happened Then?
1935 Royal Cavalcade (Co dir)
1935 McGlusky the Sea Rover
1935 Music Hath Charms (Co dir)
1936 Ourselves Alone
1936 The Limping Man
1937 Lucky Jade
1937 The Price of Folly
1938 Premiere
1939 The Dark Eyes of London
1939 Traitor Spy
1940 At the Villa Rose

Walter Summers at Amazon UK  

Walter Summers at Amazon US