Karel Reisz

Director, Author, Critic
Uprooted from a secure and comfortable home at the age of 12, Karel Reisz emigrated from his native Czechoslovakia one step ahead of the Nazi invasion and arrived in his adopted England knowing scarcely a word of its ... Read more »
Born: 07/20/1926

Filmography

Director (12)

Everybody Wins 1990 (Movie)

(Director)

Sweet Dreams 1985 (Movie)

(Director)

The French Lieutenant's Woman 1981 (Movie)

(Director)

Who'll Stop the Rain? 1978 (Movie)

(Director)

The Gambler 1973 (Movie)

(Director)

Isadora 1968 (Movie)

(Director)

Morgan 1965 (Movie)

(Director)

Night Must Fall 1964 (Movie)

(Director)

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning 1961 (Movie)

(Director)

We Are the Lambeth Boys 1958 (Movie)

(Director)

Momma Don't Allow 1954 (Movie)

(Director)

Act Without Words I (TV Show)

Director
Producer (1)

This Sporting Life 1963 (Movie)

(Producer)
Actor (1)

Cinema Verite: Defining the Moment 2000 (Movie)

(Actor)

Biography

Uprooted from a secure and comfortable home at the age of 12, Karel Reisz emigrated from his native Czechoslovakia one step ahead of the Nazi invasion and arrived in his adopted England knowing scarcely a word of its language. He went about becoming as English as possible, returning after a brief repatriation to a Czechoslovakia much changed by the war to study at Cambridge. Teaching grammar school brought him in contact with working-class students and their parents, broadening his teenage socialism and fascination with the disenfranchised. Writing for the influential film journals Sequence and Sight and Sound placed him in close proximity to the likes of Tony Richardson and Lindsay Anderson, with whom Reisz championed the British version of the auteur theory, believing that the best movies were those that expressed the personal vision of a single artist--the director. In 1953, he published "The Technique of Film Editing" (co-authored with Gavin Millar), a landmark study encompassing the theory, history and practice of editing. His extensive research for the project served as a great training ground for the would-be director.

Relationships

Betsy Blair Actor

Wife
Married 1963 until his death Nov. 25, 2002

Betsy Blair

Wife
second wife formerly married to actor-dancer Gene Kelly divorced

Julia Coppard

Wife
divorced

Joseph Reisz

Father
Jewish perished in a concentration camp during WWII

Frieda Reisz

Mother
perished in a concentration camp during WWII

Paul Reisz

Brother
older educated in England, at Leighton Park School in Reading, Berkshire preceded Karel there

EDUCATION

Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge

1945 - 1947

Leighton Park School

a Quaker school which accepted him when the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia was imminent and sponsored his journey by sea to England

Milestones

1995

Broadway directing debut, Pinter's "Moonlight", with Jason Robards and Blythe Danner

1991

Directed off-Broadway production of "Gardenia"

1990

Last feature to date, "Everybody Wins", adapted by Arthur Miller from his play "Some Kind of Love Story"; starred Nolte and Debra Winger

1985

Helmed "Sweet Dreams", a biopic of country singer Patsy Cline starring Jessica Lange (who was nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award)

1981

Directed screen version of John Fowles' novel "The French Lieutenant's Woman", adapted by Harold Pinter and starring Meryl Streep who received a Best Actress Oscar nomination

1978

Helmed "Who'll Stop the Rain?", adapted by Judith Roscoe and Robert Stone from the latter's novel "Dog Soldiers"; starred Nick Nolte

1974

First American feature, "The Gambler", scripted by James Toback and starring James Caan

1968

Reunited with Redgrave for "Isadora", for which she received an other Best Actress Academy Award nomination

1966

Directed the decidedly offbeat gem, "Morgan--A Suitable Case for Treatment"; Vanessa Redgrave's feature debut for which she received a Best Actress Oscar nomination

1964

Reteamed with Finney (who co-produced and starred in) remake of "Night Must Fall"

1963

Produced Anderson's "This Sporting Life"

1960

Feature film directing debut, "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning"; scripted by Alan Sillitoe from his semiautobiographical novel; starred Albert Finney

1959

First solo directing effort, the documentary "We Are the Lambeth Boys"; also produced

1957

Co-produced Lindsay Anderson's documentary "Every Day Except Christmas"

1955

Film debut as co-director (with Tony Richardson), "Momma Don't Allow", a 22-minute documentary short

1947

Taught grammar school in London

1944

Repatriated to Czechoslovakia

1938

Moved to England

Was program director for National Film Theatre, London

Helmed London stage production of "The Deep Blue Sea"

Made instructional and promotional films for Ford Motor Company

Returned to England

Worked as film critic

Joined Czech squadron of Royal Air Force; war ended before he saw service

Made commercials

Bonus Trivia

.

About his period teaching: " . . .coming straight from university, the whole impact of the outside world was very, very strong. It was probably the first kind of wide community life I'd come across at all; for though I'd been happy at boarding school and university, I'd felt totally incapsulated there. Teaching was my first taste of social reality; and you can't deal daily with working-class youngsters and their parents in their own habitat and retain an archaic view of the lower classes as comic relief or criminals, the roles they traditionally filled in British films." --Karel Reisz quoted in "World Film Directors", Volume Two

SIMILAR ARTICLES