Tony Richardson

Director, Producer, Film journalist
British theater and film director primarily associated with the "Angry Young Man" movement of the late 1950s and early 60s. Richardson worked as a producer with the BBC from 1952 to 1955 and co-directed a short ... Read more »
Born: 06/04/1928 in Yorkshire, England, GB

Filmography

Director (27)

Blue Sky 1994 (Movie)

(Director)

Beryl Markham: A Shadow on the Sun 1987 - 1990 (Tv Show)

Director

Phantom of the Opera 1989 - 1990 (Tv Show)

Director

The Entertainer 1989 (Movie)

(Director)

After Midnight 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Director

The Hotel New Hampshire 1984 (Movie)

(Director)

The Border 1980 (Movie)

(Director)

Joseph Andrews 1977 (Movie)

(Director)

Dead Cert 1973 (Movie)

(Director)

A Delicate Balance 1972 (Movie)

(Director)

Hamlet 1969 (Movie)

(Director)

Laughter in the Dark 1969 (Movie)

(Director)

Ned Kelly 1969 (Movie)

(Director)

The Charge of the Light Brigade 1968 (Movie)

(Director)

The Sailor From Gibraltar 1967 (Movie)

(Director)

Red and Blue 1966 (Movie)

(Director)

Mademoiselle 1964 (Movie)

(Director)

The Loved One 1964 (Movie)

(Director)

Tom Jones 1963 (Movie)

(Director)

A Taste of Honey 1962 (Movie)

(Director)

Sanctuary 1961 (Movie)

(Director)

Look Back in Anger 1959 (Movie)

(Director)

Momma Don't Allow 1954 (Movie)

(Director)

A Death in Canaan (TV Show)

Director

Penalty Phase (TV Show)

Director
Writer (5)

The Hotel New Hampshire 1984 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Dead Cert 1973 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Ned Kelly 1969 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Sailor From Gibraltar 1967 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

A Taste of Honey 1962 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Producer (4)

Tom Jones 1963 (Movie)

(Producer)

A Taste of Honey 1962 (Movie)

(Producer)

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning 1961 (Movie)

(Producer)

Biography

British theater and film director primarily associated with the "Angry Young Man" movement of the late 1950s and early 60s. Richardson worked as a producer with the BBC from 1952 to 1955 and co-directed a short documentary about working-class youths, "Momma Don't Allow" (1955), with Karel Reisz. The film was well received when shown at the first "Free Cinema" program in 1956--the same year that "Look Back in Anger", a play written by John Osborne and directed by Richardson, shook up the English theatrical establishment with its bitter indictment of postwar culture.

Richardson continued to work with Osborne in the theater and, in 1958, the two formed Woodfall Film Productions to bring the new theatrical sensibility to the screen. The company's first two features were adaptations of Richardson's and Osborne's stage collaborations, "Look Back in Anger" (1959) and "The Entertainer" (1960). Both featured fine performances, Richard Burton in the former and Laurence Olivier in the latter, but failed to attract much interest at the box office. Woodfall's first commercial success came with 1960's "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning", directed by Reisz.

Richardson scored his first major hit with the beautifully rendered "A Taste of Honey" (1961), a realistic yet lyrical, poignant tale of working-class life in Manchester based on Shelagh Delaney's novel. Both critics and public alike responded to a fine central performance from Rita Tushingham, sterling support from Dora Bryan and Murray Melvin, and striking the industrial landscapes poetically photographed by Walter Lassally.

The influence of the French New Wave was particularly noticeable in Richardson's next two films, Alan Sillitoe's "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" (1962)--which used a flashback narrative structure to weave a "400 Blows"-style story of adolescent rebellion--and "Tom Jones" (1963), considered by many to be the director's masterpiece.

"Tom Jones" was a hilarious, bawdy romp through 18th-century England, adapted by Osborne from the Joseph Fielding novel and superbly acted by Albert Finney, Susannah York, David Warner and Hugh Griffiths. The film was particularly noted for Lassally's imaginative location camerawork. The film earned nearly $40 million and won three Oscars for Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay.

Little of Richardson's subsequent work has equaled his earlier achievements, but critical reassessment suggests that the contemporary reactions to his work were a bit harsh on a filmmaker who was always, at the very least, an interesting talent to watch. "Mademoiselle" (1965) and "The Sailor from Gibraltar" (1967) were both castigated at the time of their release, but are visually sumptuous and intriguing, if flawed, studies of tormented passion. "The Charge of the Light Brigade" (1968), meanwhile, earned measured praise for its unromanticized portrait of Victorian military life; "Hamlet" (1969), starring Nicol Williamson, and "A Delicate Balance" (1973), with Katharine Hepburn and Paul Scofield, were effective examples of stage productions transposed to the screen; and "Joseph Andrews" (1977) was an unsuccessful attempt to repeat the "Tom Jones" formula.

Richardson's later features were produced in the US. "The Border" (1982) was noted more for Jack Nicholson's performance than for the direction; "Hotel New Hampshire" (1984), a faithful adaptation of John Irving's novel featuring a star-studded cast (Jodie Foster, Beau Bridges, Nastassja Kinski, et al.), met with only limited critical and commercial success.

In the late 1970s Richardson turned to American TV, where he directed "A Death in Canaan" (1978), "Penalty Phase" (1986), "Beryl Markham: A Shadow on the Sun" (1988) and the elaborate "Phantom of the Opera" (1990) starring Burt Lancaster and Charles Dance. Filmed in 1991 and unreleased until after his death, Richardson's final feature "Blue Skies" (1994) was hailed as a return to form. This sensitively handled domestic drama featured an Oscar-winning lead performance by Jessica Lange.

From 1962-67, Richardson was married to actress Vanessa Redgrave. Their two daughters, Natasha and Joely Richardson were both actresses.

Relationships

Elsie Richardson

Mother

Katherine Grimond

Daughter
Mother, Grizelda Grimond

Grizelda Grimond

Companion

Jeanne Moreau Actor

Companion
Was named as co-respondent in his 1967 divorce from Redgrave

Vanessa Redgrave Actor

Wife
Married April 29, 1962 Divorced in 1967 on grounds of adultery, Jeanne Moreau named as correspondent

Clarence Richardson

Father

Joely Richardson Actor

Child
Born January 9, 1965 mother, Vanessa Redgrave

Natasha Richardson Actor

Child
Born May 11, 1963 mother, Vanessa Redgrave

EDUCATION

Ashville College

School was evacuated to the Lake District during WWII

University of Oxford

1952
President of Dramatic Society from 1949-1951; was enrolled in Oxford's Wadham College

Milestones

1994

Last feature film, "Blue Skies," starring Jessica Lange in her Oscar winning performance (completed in 1991 and released posthumously)

1990

Directed one of three short stories for HBO's anthology special, "Women and Men: Stories of Seduction"

1984

Wrote and directed the film adaptation of "The Hotel New Hampshire," starring Jodie Foster, Rob Lowe and Beau Bridges

1978

Directed first US TV-movie, "A Death in Canaan"

1975

Fired by Motown head Berry Gordy shortly after production began on "Mahogany," starring Diana Ross; Gordy took over directing

1973

Directed the film adaptation of Edward Albee's play, "A Delicate Balance"

1968

Directed then wife, Vanessa Redgrave in "The Charge of the Light Brigade"

1967

Helmed the British drama, "The Sailor from Gibraltar," starring Jeanne Moreau and then wife Vanessa Redgrave

1963

Helmed first color film, "Tom Jones"

1961

Directed first Hollywood film, "Sanctuary"

1960

Produced first feature, "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning"; directed by Karel Reisz

1959

Directed first feature, the film adaptation of Osborne's "Look Back in Anger"; produced through Woodfall Film

1958

Formed own film company, Woodfall Film Productions with John Osborne

1957

Made Broadway directing debut when "Look Back in Anger" moved to New York

1956

Directed groundbreaking production of John Osborne's "Look Back in Anger" at London's Royal Court Theatre

1955

Stage directing debut, "The Country Wife" at the Royal Theatre in England

1955

Co-directed first short film, "Mama Don't Allow" with Karel Reisz

1954

Wrote articles on film for Sight and Sound

1953

Began directing for the BBC with such productions as "Othello" and Dostoyevsky's "Gambler"

1952

Joined the BBC TV directors' training program

Helped form the English Stage Company with George Goetschius and George Devine

SIMILAR ARTICLES