Paul Almond

Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Paul Almond began his career in 1954 when he joined the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) as the youngest producer-director in its history. He subsequently has produced and directed over one hundred TV dramas ... Read more »
Born: 04/25/1931 in Montreal, Quebec, CA

Filmography

Director (9)

56 Up 2013 (Movie)

(Director)

The Dance Goes On... 1991 (Movie)

(Director)

Captive Hearts 1987 (Movie)

(Director)

Ups & Downs 1981 (Movie)

(Director)

Final Assignment 1980 (Movie)

(Director)

Journey 1971 (Movie)

(Director)

Act of the Heart 1970 (Movie)

(Director)

Isabel 1968 (Movie)

(Director)

7 Up 1962 (Movie)

(Director)
Writer (5)

The Dance Goes On... 1991 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Ups & Downs 1981 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Journey 1971 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Act of the Heart 1970 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Isabel 1968 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Producer (5)

The Dance Goes On... 1991 (Movie)

(Producer)

Ups & Downs 1981 (Movie)

(Producer)

Journey 1971 (Movie)

(Producer)

Act of the Heart 1970 (Movie)

(Producer)

Isabel 1968 (Movie)

(Producer)

Biography

Paul Almond began his career in 1954 when he joined the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) as the youngest producer-director in its history. He subsequently has produced and directed over one hundred TV dramas, employing a directorial style, that uses improvisational techniques, an outgrowth of his visits to the Actors Studio. Among the major actors who have appeared in Almond-directed productions include Rosemary Harris, Kate Reid, Hugh Griffiths, Gwen Ffrancon-Davies and numerous others.

The Montreal-born Almond actually began writing plays as a child and had his first professional production at age eleven. After attending Oxford where he began acting, he toured France in a production of "The Duchess of Malfi" directed by Tony Richardson, then returned to Canada to write a novel, before joining the CBC. Almond worked in TV in Canada and London, where he directed such productions as "The Rose Tattoo" for Grenada Television. In 1960, General Motors refused to sponsor his production of "Shadow of a Pale Horse", claiming a lynching scene was too realistic; it aired on Canadian TV intact. Five years later, he directed "Romeo and Jeannette" which introduced Genevieve Bujold and Michael Sarrazin. Almond began directing documentaries, including religious films set in Israel and Jordan, a study of his then-wife ballerina Angela Leigh, and film about life on the Gaspe Coast where he was raised. Almond made the jump to US TV and directed episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "For the People" (CBS, 1965), which starred William Shatner as a crusading assistant district attorney in NYC.

Almond directed "7 Up" (1963), the first installment of a series of documentaries that followed the lives of a group of Britishers at seven year intervals. His assistant Michael Apted later handled the other installments. Almond's first fictional film was "Isabel" (1967), starring Genevieve Bujold (whom he married that year; they divorced in 1973) and was inspired by his youth. He subsequently wrote, directed and produced "Act of the Heart" (1970), a study of religious fanaticism centering on a young woman (Bujold) in love with a Catholic priest (Donald Sutherland). "Journey" (1972), again featuring Bujold, was a gorgeously shot story about a woman rescued from drowning by the leader of a wilderness commune.

It was eight years before Almond returned behind the camera. He assumed the director's chair of the troubled "Final Assignment" (1980), which despite a cast that included Bujold, Burgess Meredith, Michael York and Colleen Dewhurst, ultimately was done in by a poor script. A change of pace comedy "Ups & Downs" (1983) followed. Using a cast of mostly non-professionals, Almond depicted the relationships between a group youths at a boarding school. "Captive Hearts" (1987) was a wartime romance centering on the relationship between an American soldier held prisoner in a Japanese farming community and a local girl. His "The Dance Goes On ..." (1991) was a personal chronicle of a father son-relationship which featured his own son Matthew in one of the central roles.

In addition to his feature and TV work, Almond has produced and directed numerous stage plays. Since the 1990s, he has concentrated on writing books. In 1999, "La Vengeance des Dieux", a French translation of one of Almond's novels-- about an asteroid due to hit the Earth--was published in Canada. That same year, Almond and Michael Ballantyne produced the fascinating non-fiction "High Hopes: Coming of Age at the Mid-Century", a collection of letters, including such notable correspondents as Christopher Isherwood and Sean O'Casey.

Relationships

Christopher

Step-Son
mother, Joan Almond

Tim

Step-Son
mother, Joan Almond

Tracy

Step-Son
mother, Joan Almond

Trey

Step-Son
mother, Joan Almond

Eric Almond

Father
fought in WWI wounded and gassed, shell-shocked spent many years at Ste Anne de Bellevue Military Hospital

Rene Almond

Mother
married Almond's father in 1929 died of a stroke

Matthew Almond

Son
born in 1967 mother, Genevieve Bujold

Joan Almond

Wife
married on September 11, 1976

James Almond

Grandfather

Jennifer Black

Companion
together 1972-73 traveled throughout Middle East with Almond

Genevieve Bujold

Wife
married in 1967 divorced in 1973 mother of Matthew Almond

Angela Leigh

Wife
leading dancer with the National Ballet of Canada married c. 1956 divorced c. 1965

EDUCATION

McGill University

Montreal , Quebec

Balliol College, Oxford University

1949 - 1952
directed college play in second term; edited university magazine THE ISIS; won Oxford University Experimental Theatre Club acting contest; served as president of Oxford University Poetry Society

Balliol College, Oxford University

1949 - 1952
directed college play in second term; edited university magazine THE ISIS; won Oxford University Experimental Theatre Club acting contest; served as president of Oxford University Poetry Society

McGill University

Montreal , Quebec

Milestones

1991

Last feature (to date) "And the Dance Goes On"

1987

Directed "Captive Hearts"

1980

Returned to filmmaking with "Final Assisgnment"

1972

Last feature for eight years, "Journey"

1968

Founded Quest Films

1967

Helmed "Isabel", starring Genevieve Bujold

1963

Joined Granada Television in UK; conceived with Tim Hewlett the film documentary "7 Up"; Almond's assistant Michael Apted went on to direct the subsequent installments ("14 Up", "21 Up", etc.)

1954

Joined Canadian Broadcasting Company; youngest producer-director in the corporation

1953

Returned to Canada and wrote first novel; gave poetry readings to support himself

1953

Apprenticed for six months to British avant-garde writer Ronald Duncan to learn playwriting

1951

Toured France in a production of "The Duchess of Malfi" directed by Tony Richardson

1941

Wrote and directed first play, performed at MOntreal Repertory Theatre; was 11 years old

Turned attention from filmmaking to writing novels

Bonus Trivia

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Received three Ohio State Awards for "The Hill" (1958), "Under Milk Wood" (1959) and "Point of Darkness" (1961).

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Received special Diploma of Merit at the Prague International TV Festival for "7 UP" in 1965.

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Received 1981 Coq d'Or for Best TV Commercial in Quebec for ad for Bell Canada.

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