Bryan Forbes

Director, Screenwriter, Producer
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 ... Read more »
Born: 07/21/1926 in Stratford-at-Bow, England, GB

Filmography

Actor (28)

Restless Natives 1986 (Movie)

Tourist (Actor)

International Velvet 1979 (Movie)

Announcer at Olympia (Actor)

The Slipper and the Rose 1975 (Movie)

Herald (Actor)

The Stepford Wives 1975 (Movie)

(Actor)

I Am a Dancer 1971 (Movie)

Narration (Narrator)

The Raging Moon 1969 (Movie)

Reading Title Quotation (Voice)

A Shot in the Dark 1964 (Movie)

Charlie--Locker Attendant at Camp Sunshine (Actor)

Of Human Bondage 1964 (Movie)

Medical Student (Actor)

The L-Shaped Room 1963 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Guns of Navarone 1961 (Movie)

Cohn (Actor)

The League of Gentlemen 1960 (Movie)

Martin Porthill (Actor)

The Angry Silence 1959 (Movie)

(Actor)

Hell, Heaven or Hoboken 1958 (Movie)

Young Lt. (Actor)

The Key 1958 (Movie)

Weaver (Actor)

Yesterday's Enemy 1958 (Movie)

Dawson (Actor)

Enemy From Space 1957 (Movie)

Marsh (Actor)

Satellite in the Sky 1956 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Baby and the Battleship 1956 (Movie)

Professor (Actor)

The Last Man to Hang 1956 (Movie)

(Actor)

Now and Forever 1954 (Movie)

(Actor)

An Inspector Calls 1953 (Movie)

Eric Birling (Actor)

The Man With a Million 1953 (Movie)

Todd (Actor)

The World in His Arms 1952 (Movie)

(Actor)

December Flower (TV Show)

Actor

First Among Equals (TV Show)

Actor

Now and Forever (Movie)

Frisby (Actor)

Sea Devils (Movie)

Willie (Actor)

The Small Back Room (Movie)

Dying Gunner (Actor)
Writer (21)

Chaplin 1992 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Naked Face 1985 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Better Late Than Never 1983 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Hopscotch 1980 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

International Velvet 1979 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Slipper and the Rose 1975 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Raging Moon 1969 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Deadfall 1968 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Whisperers 1966 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

King Rat 1965 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Of Human Bondage 1964 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Seance on a Wet Afternoon 1964 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The L-Shaped Room 1963 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Station Six Sahara 1961 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Man in the Moon 1960 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Only Two Can Play 1960 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The League of Gentlemen 1960 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Angry Silence 1959 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Danger Within 1958 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Hell, Heaven or Hoboken 1958 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Cockleshell Heroes 1956 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Director (18)

The Endless Game 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Director

Philip Marlowe, Private Eye 1982 - 1983, 1985 - 1986 (Tv Show)

Director

The Naked Face 1985 (Movie)

(Director)

Better Late Than Never 1983 (Movie)

(Director)

Sunday Lovers 1981 (Movie)

(English segment) (Director)

International Velvet 1979 (Movie)

(Director)

The Slipper and the Rose 1975 (Movie)

(Director)

The Stepford Wives 1975 (Movie)

(Director)

The Madwoman of Chaillot 1969 (Movie)

(Director)

The Raging Moon 1969 (Movie)

(Director)

Deadfall 1968 (Movie)

(Director)

The Whisperers 1966 (Movie)

(Director)

King Rat 1965 (Movie)

(Director)

The Wrong Box 1965 (Movie)

(Director)

Of Human Bondage 1964 (Movie)

(Director)

Seance on a Wet Afternoon 1964 (Movie)

(Director)

The L-Shaped Room 1963 (Movie)

(Director)

Whistle Down the Wind 1961 (Movie)

(Director)
Producer (4)

International Velvet 1979 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Wrong Box 1965 (Movie)

(Producer)

Seance on a Wet Afternoon 1964 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Angry Silence 1959 (Movie)

(Producer)

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.

Relationships

William Theobald Clarke

Father

Judith Clarke

Mother

Emma Forbes

Daughter
mother, Nanette Newman acted in two of father's movies, "The Raging Moon" and "International Velvet" (1978)

Sarah Forbes

Daughter
mother, Nanette Newman has acted in two of father's films, "The Whisperers" (1967) and "The Raging Moon" (1970)

Nanette Newman

Wife
married in 1954 has appeared in nine films directed by her husband, including "Seance on a Wet Afternoon" (1964) and "The Stepford Wives" (1974)

Constance Smith

Wife
married in1951 separated in 1952 divorced

EDUCATION

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art

London , England
won a scholarship to attend but expelled after 9 months for breaching scholarship agreement by taking an understudy job in the West End

West Ham Secondary School

Milestones

1992

Collaborated on screenplay (with William Boyd and Goldman) for Attenborough's biopic "Chaplin"; ninth feature with Attenborough

1990

Adapted novel "The Endless Game" as a Showtime TV movie; also directed; reunited with George Segal

1985

Adapted and directed Sidney Sheldon's novel "The Naked Face", starring Moore

1980

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

1980

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

1980

Directed first TV drama, "Jessie", starring Nanette Newman

1980

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

1978

Wrote, produced and directed "International Velvet", a sequel to 1944's "National Velvet" with wife Nanette Newman as the adult Velvet Brown

1974

Directed "The Stepford Wives" from a screenplay by William Goldman and adapted from the Ira Levin novel

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

1970

Resigned post at EMI

1969

Angered folks at EMI by taking time to make "The Raging Moon/Long Ago Tomorrow", even though he worked on film without pay

1968

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

1968

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

1967

Produced, directed and wrote "The Whisperers", a tour de force for Dame Edith Evans who garnered a Best Actress Academy Award nomination

1966

Bombed with his second film for Columbia, "The Wrong Box"

1965

On his second more successful trip to Hollywood, directed "King Rat", adapted from the James Clavell novel; starred George Segal

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

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

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

1960

Wrote, co-produced and acted in "The Angry Silence", directed by Guy Green and starring Attenborough

1959

Joined forces with Richard Attenborough to form a production company called Beaver Films

1955

First screenplay credit, Jose Ferrer's "The Cockleshell Heroes"

1953

Wrote article about himself ("Behind the Forbes Frown") under pseudonym of Paul Ridgway

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

1948

Film actor in "The Small Back Room"

1948

Acted on stage in "Gathering Storm"

1944

Served in British Army, first in the Intelligence Corps and then in the Combined Forces Entertainment Unit

1941

Became a "question master" on a BBC radio quiz program, Junior Brains Trust

Briefly the fashion critic for SPECTATOR and also wrote for PICTUREGOER (under various pseudonyms)

Bonus Trivia

.

"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

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