Basil Dean was an actor, playwright, producer and director on the British stage from the age of eighteen. His best known work as a playwright was The Constant Nymph, which would be filmed on three separate occasions, twice by Dean himself. In 1929, Dean journeyed to New York to direct The Return of Sherlock Holmes, which represented the Great Detective's talkie debut. Back in England in 1932, he formed Associated Talking Pictures, an important film factory which later evolved into Ealing Studios (one of his Ealing associates was Basil Dearden, who'd been born Basil Dear but who changed his name so as not to be confused with Dean). By helping to develop such British cinema favorites as George Formby and Gracie Fields, Dean established himself as one of the most commercially successful directors in the business, though the films themselves were not bastions of creativity. During the 1940s, Basil Dean was the prime mover behind Britain's USO-like Entertainment National Service Organization, or ESNA.
~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide