Charles Laughton

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Charles Laughton
Charles Laughton-publicity2.JPG
Promotional portrait of Charles Laughton for The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934)
Born(1899-07-01)1 July 1899
Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died15 December 1962(1962-12-15) (aged 63)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills
Alma mater Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
  • Actor
  • theatre director
Years active1926–1962
(m. 1929)

Charles Laughton ( /ˈlɔːtən/ ; [1] 1 July 1899 – 15 December 1962) was a British-American actor. He was trained in London at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and first appeared professionally on the stage in 1926. In 1927, he was cast in a play with his future wife Elsa Lanchester, with whom he lived and worked until his death.


Laughton played a wide range of classical and modern roles, making an impact in Shakespeare at the Old Vic. His film career took him to Broadway and then Hollywood, but he also collaborated with Alexander Korda on notable British films of the era, including The Private Life of Henry VIII , for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of the title character. He received two further nominations for his roles in Mutiny on the Bounty and Witness for the Prosecution , and reprised the role of Henry VIII in Young Bess . He portrayed everything from monsters and misfits to kings. [2] Among Laughton's biggest film hits were The Barretts of Wimpole Street , Ruggles of Red Gap , Jamaica Inn , The Hunchback of Notre Dame , The Big Clock , and Spartacus . Daniel Day-Lewis cited Laughton as one of his inspirations, saying: "He was probably the greatest film actor who came from that period of time. He had something quite remarkable. His generosity as an actor; he fed himself into that work. As an actor, you cannot take your eyes off him." [3]

In his later career, Laughton took up stage directing, notably in The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial , and George Bernard Shaw's Don Juan in Hell , in which he also starred. He directed one film, the thriller The Night of the Hunter , which after an initially disappointing reception is acclaimed today as a film classic.

Early life and career

Laughton was born on 1 July 1899 in Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire, the son of Robert Laughton (1869–1924) and Eliza (née Conlon; 1869–1953), Yorkshire hotel keepers. [4] A blue plaque marks his birthplace. [5] His mother was a devout Roman Catholic of Irish descent, and she sent him to briefly attend a local boys' school, Scarborough College, [6] before sending him to Stonyhurst College, the pre-eminent English Jesuit school. [7] Laughton served in World War I, during which he was gassed, serving first with the 2/1st Battalion of the Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalion, [8] and then with the 7th Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment.

He started work in the family hotel, though also participating in amateur theatrical productions in Scarborough. He was permitted by his family to become a drama student at RADA in 1925, where actor Claude Rains was one of his teachers. Laughton made his first professional appearance on 28 April 1926 at the Barnes Theatre, as Osip in the comedy The Government Inspector, in which he also appeared at London's Gaiety Theatre in May. He impressed audiences with his talent and had classical roles in two Chekov plays, The Cherry Orchard and The Three Sisters. Laughton played the lead role as Harry Hegan in the world premiere of Seán O'Casey's The Silver Tassie in 1928 in London. He played the title roles in Arnold Bennett's Mr Prohack (Elsa Lanchester was also in the cast) and as Samuel Pickwick in Mr. Pickwick at the Theatre Royal (1928–29) in London. [9] [10]

He played Tony Perelli in Edgar Wallace's On the Spot and William Marble in Payment Deferred. He took the last role across the Atlantic and made his United States debut on 24 September 1931, at the Lyceum Theatre. He returned to London for the 1933–34 Old Vic season and was engaged in four Shakespeare roles (as Macbeth, Henry VIII, Angelo in Measure for Measure and Prospero in The Tempest) and also as Lopakhin in The Cherry Orchard, Canon Chasuble in The Importance of Being Earnest, and Tattle in Love for Love. In 1936, he went to Paris and on 9 May appeared at the Comédie-Française as Sganarelle in the second act of Molière's Le Médecin malgré lui, the first English actor to appear at that theatre, where he performed the role in French and received an ovation. [11]

Laughton commenced his film career in Great Britain while still acting on the London stage. He also accepted small roles in three short silent comedies starring his wife Elsa Lanchester, Daydreams,Blue Bottles, and The Tonic (all 1928), which had been specially written for her by H. G. Wells and were directed by Ivor Montagu. He made a brief appearance as a disgruntled diner in another silent film Piccadilly with Anna May Wong in 1929. He appeared with Lanchester again in a "film revue," featuring assorted British variety acts, called Comets (1930) in which they sang a duet, "The Ballad of Frankie and Johnnie." He made two other early British talkies: Wolves with Dorothy Gish (1930) from a play set in a whaling camp in the frozen north, and Down River (1931), in which he played a drug-smuggling ship's captain.

His New York stage debut in 1931 immediately led to film offers, and Laughton's first Hollywood film, The Old Dark House (1932) with Boris Karloff, in which he played a bluff Yorkshire businessman marooned during a storm with other travelers in a creepy remote Welsh manor. He then played a demented submarine commander in Devil and the Deep with Tallulah Bankhead, Gary Cooper and Cary Grant, and followed this with his best-remembered film role of that year as Nero in Cecil B. DeMille's The Sign of the Cross. Laughton gave other memorable performances during that first Hollywood trip, repeating his stage role as a murderer in Payment Deferred , playing H. G. Wells' mad vivisectionist Dr. Moreau in Island of Lost Souls , and the meek raspberry-blowing clerk in the brief segment of If I Had A Million , directed by Ernst Lubitsch. He appeared in six Hollywood films in 1932. His association with director Alexander Korda began in 1933 with the hugely successful The Private Life of Henry VIII (loosely based on the life of King Henry VIII), for which Laughton won the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Film career


From the trailer for Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) Charles Laughton in Mutiny on the Bounty trailer.jpg
From the trailer for Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

After his smashing success in The Private Life of Henry VIII , Laughton soon abandoned the stage for films and returned to Hollywood, where his next film was White Woman (1933) in which he co-starred with Carole Lombard as a Cockney river trader in the Malayan jungle. Then came The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934) as the malevolent father of Norma Shearer's character (although Laughton was only three years older than Shearer); Les Misérables (1935) as Inspector Javert; one of his most famous screen roles in Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) as Captain William Bligh, co-starring with Clark Gable as Fletcher Christian; and Ruggles of Red Gap (1935) as the very English butler transported to early 1900s America. He signed to play Micawber in David Copperfield (1934), but after a few days' shooting asked to be released from the role and was replaced by W. C. Fields. [12]

Back in the UK, and again with Korda, he played the title role in Rembrandt (1936). In 1937, also for Korda, he starred in an ill-fated film version of the classic novel, I, Claudius , by Robert Graves, which was abandoned during filming owing to the injuries suffered by co-star Merle Oberon in a car crash. After I, Claudius, he and the expatriate German film producer Erich Pommer founded the production company Mayflower Pictures in the UK, which produced three films starring Laughton: Vessel of Wrath (US title The Beachcomber ) (1938), based on a story by W. Somerset Maugham, in which his wife, Elsa Lanchester, co-starred; St. Martin's Lane (US title Sidewalks of London ), about London street entertainers, which featured Vivien Leigh and Rex Harrison; and Jamaica Inn , with Maureen O'Hara and Robert Newton, about Cornish shipwreckers, based on Daphne du Maurier's novel, and the last film Alfred Hitchcock directed in Britain before moving to Hollywood in the late 1930s.

The films produced were not commercially successful enough, and the company was rescued from bankruptcy only when RKO Pictures offered Laughton the title role (Quasimodo) in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), with Jamaica Inn co-star O'Hara. Laughton and Pommer had plans to make further films, but the outbreak of World War II, which implied the loss of many foreign markets, meant the end of the company. Laughton's early success in The Private Life of Henry VIII established him as one of the leading interpreters of the costume and historical drama roles for which he is best remembered (Nero, Henry VIII, Mr. Barrett, Inspector Javert, Captain Bligh, Rembrandt, Quasimodo, and others); he was also type-cast as arrogant, unscrupulous characters.[ citation needed ]

He largely moved away from historical roles when he played an Italian vineyard owner in California in They Knew What They Wanted (1940); a South Seas patriarch in The Tuttles of Tahiti (1942); and a U.S. admiral during World War II in Stand By for Action (1942). He played a Victorian butler in Forever and a Day (1943) and an Australian bar-owner in The Man from Down Under (1943). Simon Callow's 1987 biography quotes a number of contemporary reviews of Laughton's performances in these films. James Agate, reviewing Forever and a Day , wrote: "Is there no-one at RKO to tell Charles Laughton when he is being plain bad?" On the other hand, Bosley Crowther of The New York Times declared that Forever and a Day boasted "superb performances". [13]

C. A. Lejeune, wrote Callow, was "shocked" by the poor quality of Laughton's work of that period: "One of the most painful screen phenomena of latter years", she wrote in The Observer , "has been the decline and fall of Charles Laughton." On the other hand, David Shipman, in his book The Great Movie Stars: The Golden Years, said "Laughton was a total actor. His range was wide". [14]


Laughton in The Suspect (1944)
Charles Laughton in Young Bess trailer.jpg
As Henry VIII in Young Bess (1953)

Laughton played a cowardly schoolmaster in occupied France in This Land is Mine (1943), by Jean Renoir, in which he engaged himself most actively; [15] in fact, while Renoir was still working on an early script, Laughton would talk about Alphonse Daudet's story "The Last Lesson", which suggested to Renoir a relevant scene for the film. [16] Laughton played a henpecked husband who eventually murders his wife in The Suspect (1944), directed by Robert Siodmak, who would become a good friend. [17] He played sympathetically an impoverished composer-pianist in Tales of Manhattan (1942) and starred in The Canterville Ghost , based on the Oscar Wilde story in 1944.

Laughton appeared in two comedies with Deanna Durbin, It Started with Eve (1941) and Because of Him (1946). He portrayed a bloodthirsty pirate in Captain Kidd (1945) and a malevolent judge in Alfred Hitchcock's The Paradine Case (1947). Laughton played a megalomaniac press tycoon in The Big Clock (1948). He had supporting roles as a Nazi in pre-war Paris in Arch of Triumph (1948), as a bishop in The Girl from Manhattan (1948), as a seedy go-between in The Bribe (1949), and as a kindly widower in The Blue Veil (1951). He played a Bible-reading pastor in the multi-story A Miracle Can Happen (1947), but his piece wound up being cut and replaced with another featuring Dorothy Lamour, and in this form the film was retitled as On Our Merry Way . However, an original print of A Miracle Can Happen was sent abroad for dubbing before the Laughton sequence was deleted, and in this form it was shown in Spain as Una Encuesta Llamada Milagro.

Laughton made his first colour film in Paris as Inspector Maigret in The Man on the Eiffel Tower (1949) and, wrote the Monthly Film Bulletin, "appeared to overact" alongside Boris Karloff as a mad French nobleman in a version of Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Door in 1951. He played a tramp in O. Henry's Full House (1952). He became the pirate Captain Kidd again, this time for comic effect, in Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1952). Laughton made a guest appearance on the Colgate Comedy Hour (featuring Abbott and Costello), in which he delivered the Gettysburg Address. In 1953 he played Herod Antipas in Salome , and he reprised his role as Henry VIII in Young Bess , a 1953 drama about Henry's children.

He returned to Britain to star in Hobson's Choice (1954), directed by David Lean. Laughton received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for his role in Witness for the Prosecution (1957). He played a British admiral in Under Ten Flags (1960) and worked with Laurence Olivier in Spartacus (1960). His final film was Advise & Consent (1962), for which he received favourable comments for his performance as a Southern US Senator (for which accent he studied recordings of Mississippi Senator John C. Stennis).

The Night of the Hunter and other projects

In 1955, Laughton directed The Night of the Hunter , starring Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters and Lillian Gish, and produced by his friend Paul Gregory. The film has been cited among critics as one of the best of the 1950s, [18] and has been selected by the United States National Film Registry for preservation in the Library of Congress. At the time of its original release it was a critical and box-office failure, and Laughton never directed again. The documentary Charles Laughton Directs The Night of the Hunter by Robert Gitt (2002) features preserved rushes and outtakes with Laughton's audible off-camera direction. [19]

Laughton had intended to follow up The Night of the Hunter with an adaptation of Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead . Terry and Dennis Sanders were hired as writers, and press releases announced that Robert Mitchum was to star and that Walter Schumann would compose the score. [20] [21] Following the box-office failure of The Night of the Hunter, Laughton was replaced by Raoul Walsh as director on the film and recruited an uncredited writer to rewrite the Sanders brothers' screenplay. [22] [23]

Laughton also developed a remake of the 1927 silent film White Gold . [24]


Laughton made his London stage debut in Gogol's The Government Inspector (1926). He appeared in many West End plays in the following few years and his earliest successes on the stage were as Hercule Poirot in Alibi (1928); he was the first actor to portray the Belgian detective in this stage adaptation of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd , and as William Marble in Payment Deferred, making his Lyceum Theatre (New York) debut in 1931. [25]

Charles Laughton in 1940 Charles Laughton01.jpg
Charles Laughton in 1940

In 1926, he played the role of the criminal Ficsur in the original London production of Ferenc Molnár's Liliom (The play became a musical in 1945 by Rodgers and Hammerstein as Carousel , where Ficsur became Jigger Craigin, but Laughton never appeared in the musical version). While Laughton is most remembered for his film career, he continued to work in the theatre, as when, after the success of The Private Life of Henry VIII he appeared at the Old Vic Theatre in 1933 as Macbeth, Lopakin in The Cherry Orchard , Prospero in The Tempest and Angelo in Measure for Measure . In the US, Laughton worked with Bertolt Brecht on a new English version of Brecht's play Galileo . Laughton played the title role at the play's premiere in Los Angeles on 30 July 1947 and later that year in New York. This staging was directed by Joseph Losey. The processes by which Laughton painstakingly, over many weeks, created his Galileo—and incidentally, edited and translated the play along with Brecht—are detailed in an essay by Brecht, "Building Up A Part: Laughton's Galileo." [26]

Laughton had one of his most notable successes in the theatre by directing and playing the Devil in Don Juan in Hell beginning in 1950. The piece is actually the third act sequence from George Bernard Shaw's play Man and Superman , frequently cut from productions to reduce its playing time, consisting of a philosophical debate between Don Juan and the Devil with contributions from Doña Ana and the statue of Ana's father. Laughton conceived the piece as a staged reading and cast Charles Boyer, Cedric Hardwicke and Agnes Moorehead (billed as "The First Drama Quartette") in the other roles. Boyer won a special Tony Award for his performance. [27]

He directed several plays on Broadway, mostly under the production of his friend and Broadway producer Paul Gregory. His most notable box-office success as a director came in 1954, with The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial , a full-length stage dramatisation by Herman Wouk of the court-martial scene in Wouk's novel The Caine Mutiny . The play, starring Henry Fonda as defence attorney Barney Greenwald, opened the same year as the film starring Humphrey Bogart as Captain Queeg and José Ferrer as Greenwald based on the original novel, but did not affect that film's box-office performance. Laughton also directed a staged reading in 1953 of Stephen Vincent Benét's John Brown's Body , a full-length poem about the American Civil War and its aftermath. The production starred Tyrone Power, Raymond Massey (re-creating his film characterisations of Abraham Lincoln and John Brown), and Judith Anderson. Laughton did not appear himself in either production, but John Brown's Body was recorded complete by Columbia Masterworks.[ citation needed ] He directed and starred in George Bernard Shaw's, Major Barbara which ran on Broadway from approximately 1 November 1956, to 18 May 1957. Others in the cast were Glynis Johns, Burgess Meredith, Cornelia Otis Skinner, and Eli Wallach. [28]

Laughton returned to the London stage in May 1958 to direct and star in Jane Arden's The Party at the New Theatre which also had Elsa Lanchester and Albert Finney in the cast. He made his final appearances on stage as Nick Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream , and as King Lear at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in 1959, although failing health resulted in both performances being disappointing, according to some British critics. His performance as King Lear was lambasted by critics, and Kenneth Tynan wrote that Laughton's Nick Bottom "... behaves in a manner that has nothing to do with acting, although it perfectly hits off the demeanor of a rapscallion uncle dressed up to entertain the children at a Christmas party". Although he did not appear in any later plays, Laughton toured the US with staged readings, including a successful appearance on the Stanford University campus in 1960.[ citation needed ]


Laughton's voice, equally capable of a penetrating, theatre-filling shout and a soft, velvety tone, first appeared on 78-rpm records with the release of five British Regal Zonophone 10-inch discs entitled Voice of the Stars issued annually from 1934 to 1938. These featured short soundtrack snippets from the year's top films. He is heard on all five records in, respectively, The Private Life of Henry VIII, The Barretts of Wimpole Street, Mutiny on the Bounty, I, Claudius (curiously, since this film was unfinished and thus never released), and Vessel of Wrath. In 1937 he recorded Lincoln's Gettysburg Address on a 10-inch Columbia 78, having made a strong impression with it in Ruggles of Red Gap.

He made several other spoken-word recordings, one of his most famous being his one-man album of Charles Dickens's Mr. Pickwick's Christmas, a twenty-minute version of the Christmas chapter from Dickens's The Pickwick Papers . It was first released by American Decca in 1944 as a four-record 78-rpm set, but was afterward transferred to LP. It frequently appeared on LP with a companion piece, Decca's 1941 adaptation of Dickens's A Christmas Carol , starring Ronald Colman as Scrooge. Both stories were released together on a Deutsche Grammophon CD for Christmas 2005.

In 1943, Laughton recorded a reading of the Nativity story from St. Luke's Gospel, and this was released in 1995 on CD on a Nimbus Records collection entitled Prima Voce: The Spirit of Christmas Past. A Brunswick/American Decca LP entitled Readings from the Bible featured Laughton reading Garden of Eden, The Fiery Furnace, Noah's Ark, and David and Goliath. It was released in 1958. Laughton had previously included several Bible readings when he played the title role in the film Rembrandt. Laughton also narrated the story on the soundtrack album of the film that he directed, Night of the Hunter, accompanied by the film's score. This album has also been released on CD. Also, and derived from the film they made together, a complete radio show (18 June 1945) of The Canterville Ghost was broadcast which featured Laughton and Margaret O'Brien. It has been issued on a Pelican LP. [ citation needed ]

A two-LP Capitol Records album was released in 1962, the year of Laughton's death, entitled The Story Teller: A Session with Charles Laughton. Taken from Laughton's one-man stage shows, it compiles dramatic readings from several sources. Three of the excerpts are broadcast annually on a Minnesota Public Radio Thanksgiving program entitled Giving Thanks . The Story Teller won a Grammy in 1962 for Best Spoken Word Recording. Although the album has yet to be released on compact disc, it can now be heard in its entirety online. [29]


With Tennessee Ernie Ford in a guest appearance on The Ford Show (1961) Ernie Ford Charles Laughton The Ford Show 1961.JPG
With Tennessee Ernie Ford in a guest appearance on The Ford Show (1961)

Laughton was the fill-in host on 9 September 1956, when Elvis Presley made his first of three appearances on CBS's The Ed Sullivan Show , which garnered 60.7 million viewers (Ed Sullivan was recuperating from a car accident). That same year, Laughton hosted the first of two programmes devoted to classical music entitled "Festival of Music", and telecast on the NBC television anthology series Producers' Showcase . One of his last performances was on Checkmate , in which he played a missionary recently returned from China. He threw himself into the role, travelling to China for several months to better understand his character. [30]

Personal life

In 1927, Laughton began a relationship with Elsa Lanchester, at the time a castmate in a stage play. The two were married in 1929, became US citizens in 1950, and remained together until Laughton's death. Over the years, they appeared together in several films, including Rembrandt (1936), Tales of Manhattan (1942), The Vessel of Wrath (1938), and The Big Clock (1948). Lanchester portrayed Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII's fourth wife, opposite Laughton in The Private Life of Henry VIII . They both received Academy Award nominations for their performances in Witness for the Prosecution (1957)—Laughton for Best Actor, and Lanchester for Best Supporting Actress—but neither won.

Laughton's bisexuality was corroborated by several of his contemporaries and is generally accepted by Hollywood historians. [31] [32] [33] [34] Hollywood procurer and prostitute Scotty Bowers alleged in his memoir Full Service that Laughton was in love with Tyrone Power and that his sex life was exclusively homosexual. [35] Actress Maureen O'Hara, a friend and co-star of Laughton, disputed the contention that his sexuality was the reason Laughton and Lanchester did not have children, saying Laughton told her he had wanted children but that it had not been possible because of a botched abortion that Lanchester had early in her career of performing burlesque. [36] In her autobiography, Lanchester acknowledged two abortions in her youth – one of the pregnancies purportedly by Laughton – but did not mention infertility.[ citation needed ] According to her biographer, Charles Higham, the reason she did not have children was that she did not want any. [37]

Laughton owned an estate on the bluffs above Pacific Coast Highway at 14954 Corona Del Mar in Pacific Palisades. [38] The property suffered a landslide in 1944, referenced by Bertolt Brecht in his poem "Garden in Progress". [39]

Laughton was a Democrat and supported the campaign of Adlai Stevenson during the 1952 presidential election. [40]


English Heritage blue plaque erected in 1992 at 15 Percy Street, London commemorating Charles Laughton Charles Laughton 1899-1962 Actor lived here 1928-1931.jpg
English Heritage blue plaque erected in 1992 at 15 Percy Street, London commemorating Charles Laughton

Laughton checked in to Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in July 1962 with what was described as a ruptured disc. [41] He had surgery for the collapse of a vertebra and it was revealed he had cancer of the spine. [42] He left the hospital at the end of November. [42] He was in a coma for some time and died at home on 15 December 1962 from renal cancer and bladder cancer. [42] [43] [44] [45] His ashes were interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills). [46]

Awards and nominations

Laughton won the New York Film Critics' Circle Awards for Mutiny on the Bounty and Ruggles of Red Gap in 1935.

Academy Awards

For his contributions to the motion picture industry, Laughton has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard. [47]



Laughton guest starred in a few television shows.



first appearance, debut on the London stage (aka The Government Inspector)
police drama; he is the first actor to play detective Hercule Poirot
debut on the New York stage
police drama, Laughton is also the director (American version of Alibi)
drama, Laughton is also the director
comedy, Laughton is also the director
classic tragedy


police drama, Laughton also acts in the play
drama, Laughton also acts in the play
with Judith Anderson. Recorded and released the same year on LP.
comedy, Laughton also acts in the play
drama, with Henry Fonda, adapted as The Caine Mutiny by Edward Dmytryk
drama, with Robert Mitchum


  • 1955: 3 for Tonight
musical revue, with Harry Belafonte


Warner Brothers made three cartoons parodying Laughton's acting:

In Buccaneer Bunny (1948), Bugs Bunny does a brief impression of Laughton's Captain Bligh.

See also


  1. Pointon, Graham, ed. (1990). BBC Pronouncing Dictionary of British Names (2nd ed.). Oxford: The University Press. p. 140. ISBN   0-19-282745-6.
  2. "Charles Laughton: dazzling player of monsters, misfits and kings". 24 November 2012. Archived from the original on 25 November 2012.
  3. "Daniel Day-Lewis – 'Movies 101' Part 4". 8 May 2008. Archived from the original on 11 December 2021. Retrieved 31 August 2019 via YouTube.
  4. "Laughton, Charles (1899–1962)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/37658.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. "Charles Laughton profile". Archived from the original on 19 July 2010. Retrieved 10 May 2010.
  6. Burton, Peter (1998). Six Inches of Bath Water: One Hundred Years of Scarborough College in Memories & Photographs, 1898-1998 (First ed.). Norwich: Michael Russell. p. 15. ISBN   085955239X.
  7. "1 July Almanac". Archived from the original on 8 May 2006. Retrieved 22 March 2006.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) Retrieved 12 August 2007.
  8. "The Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalions" . Retrieved 31 August 2019.
  9. "Theatre collections: record view – Special Collections & Archives – University of Kent". Retrieved 31 August 2019.
  10. "Production of Mr Pickwick | Theatricalia". Retrieved 31 August 2019.
  11. "The Sun Dial: 'At Home Abroad'". The Evening Sun. Hanover, Pennsylvania. 27 May 1936. p. 4. Retrieved 12 June 2024 via
  12. "Career of Melvin Purvis Will Be Brought to Screen". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette . 27 October 1934. p. 9. Retrieved 12 June 2024 via
  13. Crowther, Bosley (13 March 1943). "'Forever and a Day', Pageant of Some English People, Made Cooperatively in Hollywood, Is Attraction at the Rivoli". The New York Times.
  14. David Shipman The Great Movie Stars: The Golden Years, London: Macdonald, 1989, p.353
  15. Lourié, Eugène (1985) My Work in Films. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich ISBN   0-15-164019-X (Lourié, who worked after hours to work on the decors, once found Laughton working after hours to get used to move in the scenery.)
  16. Sesonske, Alexander (1996) Persistence of Vision (Maspeth), no. 12–13, 1996
  17. Dumont, Hervé (1981) Robert Siodmak. Lausanne: L'Age d'homme
  18. Ebert, Roger (1996). "Review: Night of the Hunter". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 7 December 2008. Retrieved 3 December 2008.
  19. Robert Gitt in The Guardian, 6 June 2003 "Charles Laughton directs The Night of the Hunter." Retrieved 25 October 2008.
  20. "A Tale of Two Brothers" (PDF). Point of View Magazine: 20. Spring 2007. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  21. "The Naked and the Dead (1958) – Overview". Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  22. "American Legends Interviews Paul Gregory on making: The Naked and The Dead". Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  23. "Recalling The Past (And The Future) With Terry Sanders|Filmmakers, Film Industry, Film Festivals, Awards & Movie Reviews". Indiewire. 13 February 1998. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  24. "Unproduced and Unfinished Films: An Ongoing Film Comment project". Film Comment . May 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2023.
  25. "'Payment Deferred' an Actor's Triumph". Daily News . New York. 2 October 1931. p. 143. Retrieved 12 June 2024 via
  26. Brecht, Life of Galileo. Ed John Willett. London: Methuen, 1980. PP. 131–61.
  27. "Winners". Retrieved 28 March 2023.
  28. "Major Barbara – Broadway Show – Play | IBDB".
  29. "THE STORY-TELLER" . Retrieved 31 August 2019 via Internet Archive.
  30. Booklet/Insert, "The Best of 'Checkmate'", Timeless Media Group
  31. Callow 1988
  32. Crowe 2001
  33. Higham 1976
  34. Jones 2004
  35. Bowers, Scotty (2012). Full Service . UK: Grove Press. p. 198.
  36. O'Hara 2005
  37. Higham 1976 , p. 27
  38. "Cap Equity :: Homes – Pacific Palisades, Ca – Palisades Paradise". Cap Equity. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
  39. Weimar on the Pacific: German Exile Culture in Los Angeles by Erhard Bahr (page 96)
  40. Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, page 33, Ideal Publishers
  41. "Obituaries". Variety . 19 December 1962. p. 67.
  42. 1 2 3 "Charles Laughton Is Dead at 63; Character Actor For 3 Decades". The New York Times . Associated Press. 17 December 1962. p. 15. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  43. "Charles Laughton Dies at 63". The Daily News (St. John's, N.L.). Associated Press. 17 December 1962. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  44. "Widow of Charles Laughton Had Many Talents : Actress Elsa Lanchester Dies at 84". Los Angeles Times . 27 December 1986. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  45. Callow, Simon (24 November 2012). "Charles Laughton: dazzling player of monsters, misfits and kings" . The Daily Telegraph . Archived from the original on 11 January 2022. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  46. Wilson, Scott. Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed.: 2 (Kindle Locations 26892-26893). McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. Kindle Edition
  47. "Charles Laughton Inducted to the Walk of Fame". Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. 8 February 1960. Retrieved 7 December 2016.

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The Private Life of Henry VIII is a 1933 British film directed and co-produced by Alexander Korda and starring Charles Laughton, Robert Donat, Merle Oberon and Elsa Lanchester. It was written by Lajos Bíró and Arthur Wimperis for London Film Productions, Korda's production company. The film, which focuses on the marriages of King Henry VIII of England, was a major international success, establishing Korda as a leading filmmaker and Laughton as a box-office star.

<i>Bride of Frankenstein</i> 1935 film by James Whale

Bride of Frankenstein is a 1935 American science fiction horror film, and the first sequel to Universal Pictures' 1931 film Frankenstein. As with the first film, Bride of Frankenstein was directed by James Whale starring Boris Karloff as the Monster and Colin Clive as Dr. Frankenstein. The sequel features Elsa Lanchester in the dual role of Mary Shelley and the bride. Colin Clive reprises his role as Henry Frankenstein, and Ernest Thesiger plays the role of Doctor Septimus Pretorius. Oliver Peters Heggie plays the role of the old blind hermit.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">James Mason</span> British actor (1909–1984)

James Neville Mason was an English actor. He achieved considerable success in British cinema before becoming a star in Hollywood. He was the top box-office attraction in the UK in 1944 and 1945; his British films included The Seventh Veil (1945) and The Wicked Lady (1945). He starred in Odd Man Out (1947), the first recipient of the BAFTA Award for Best British Film.

<i>The Night of the Hunter</i> (film) 1955 film by Charles Laughton

The Night of the Hunter is a 1955 American film noir thriller directed by Charles Laughton and starring Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters and Lillian Gish. The screenplay by James Agee was based on the 1953 novel of the same name by Davis Grubb. The plot involves a serial killer (Mitchum) who poses as a preacher and pursues two children in an attempt to get his hands on $10,000 of stolen cash hidden by their late father.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charles Boyer</span> French-American actor (1899–1978)

Charles Boyer was a French-American actor who appeared in more than 80 films between 1920 and 1976. After receiving an education in drama, Boyer started on the stage, but he found his success in American films during the 1930s. His memorable performances were among the era's most highly praised, in romantic dramas such as The Garden of Allah (1936), Algiers (1938), and Love Affair (1939), as well as the mystery-thriller Gaslight (1944). He received four Oscar nominations for Best Actor. He also appeared as himself on the CBS sitcom I Love Lucy.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Elsa Lanchester</span> British-American actress (1902–1986)

Elsa Sullivan Lanchester was a British actress with a long career in theatre, film and television.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Robert Shaw (actor)</span> English actor and novelist (1927–1978)

Robert Archibald Shaw was an English actor, novelist, playwright and screenwriter. Beginning his career in theatre, Shaw joined the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre after the Second World War and appeared in productions of Macbeth, Henry VIII, Cymbeline, and other Shakespeare plays. With the Old Vic company (1951–52), he continued primarily in Shakespearean roles. In 1959 he starred in a West End production of The Long and the Short and the Tall.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cedric Hardwicke</span> English actor (1893–1964)

Sir Cedric Webster Hardwicke was an English stage and film actor whose career spanned nearly 50 years. His theatre work included notable performances in productions of the plays of Shakespeare and Shaw, and his film work included leading roles in several adapted literary classics.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Don Murray (actor)</span> American actor (1929–2024)

Donald Patrick Murray was an American actor best known for his breakout performance in the film Bus Stop, which earned him a nomination for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. His other films include A Hatful of Rain (1957), Shake Hands with the Devil, One Foot in Hell, The Hoodlum Priest (1961), Advise & Consent, Baby the Rain Must Fall, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), Deadly Hero (1975), and Peggy Sue Got Married.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Marius Goring</span> British actor (1912–1998)

Marius Re Goring was an English stage and screen actor. He is best remembered for the four films he made with Powell & Pressburger, particularly as Conductor 71 in A Matter of Life and Death and as Julian Craster in The Red Shoes. He is also known for playing the title role in the long-running TV drama series, The Expert. He regularly performed French and German roles, and was frequently cast in the latter because of his name, coupled with his red-gold hair and blue eyes. However, in a 1965 interview, he explained that he was not of German descent, stating that "Goring is a completely English name."

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Henry Daniell</span> English actor (1894–1963)

Charles Henry Pywell Daniell was an English actor who had a long career in the United States on stage and in cinema. He came to prominence for his portrayal of villainous roles in films such as Camille (1936), The Great Dictator (1940), Holiday (1938) and The Sea Hawk (1940). Daniell was given few opportunities to play sympathetic or 'good guy' roles; an exception was his portrayal of Franz Liszt in the biographical film of Robert and Clara Schumann, Song of Love (1947). His name is sometimes spelled "Daniel".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Keith Michell</span> Australian-British actor (1926–2015)

Keith Joseph Michell was an Australian actor who worked primarily in the United Kingdom, and was best known for his television and film portrayals of King Henry VIII. He appeared extensively in Shakespeare and other classics and musicals in Britain, and was also in several Broadway productions. He was an artistic director of the Chichester Festival Theatre in the 1970s and later had a recurring role on Murder, She Wrote as the charming thief Dennis Stanton. He was also known for illustrating a collection of Jeremy Lloyd's poems Captain Beaky, and singing the title song from the associated album.

<i>Rembrandt</i> (1936 film) 1936 British film

Rembrandt is a 1936 British biographical film made by London Film Productions of the life of 17th-century Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn. The film was produced and directed by Alexander Korda from a screenplay by June Head and Lajos Bíró based on a story by Carl Zuckmayer. The music score was by Geoffrey Toye and the cinematography by Georges Périnal.

Lamp At Midnight is a play that was written by Barrie Stavis, and first produced in 1947 at New Stages, New York. The play treats the 17th Century Galileo affair, which was a profound conflict between the Roman Catholic Church and Galileo Galilei over the interpretation of his astronomical observations using the newly invented telescope. By coincidence, Bertolt Brecht's play on the same theme, Life of Galileo, opened in New York just a few weeks before Lamp at Midnight. Some critics now consider Galileo to be a masterpiece, but in 1947 the New York Times reviewer, Brooks Atkinson, preferred Lamp at Midnight.

<i>St. Martins Lane</i> (film) 1938 British film

Sidewalks of London, also known as St Martin's Lane, London After Dark, and Partners of the Night, is a 1938 British black-and-white comedy drama starring Charles Laughton as a busker or street entertainer who teams up with a talented pickpocket, played by Vivien Leigh. The film co-stars Rex Harrison and Tyrone Guthrie in a rare acting appearance. It also features Ronald Shiner as the barman (uncredited). It was produced by Mayflower Pictures Corporation.

<i>Galileo</i> (1975 film) 1975 British film

Galileo is a 1975 biographical film about the 16th- and 17th-century scientist Galileo Galilei, whose astronomical observations with the newly invented telescope led to a profound conflict with the Roman Catholic Church. The film is an adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's 1943 play of the same name. The film was produced by Ely Landau for the American Film Theatre, which presented thirteen film adaptations of plays in the United States from 1973 to 1975. Brecht's play was recently called a "masterpiece" by veteran theater critic Michael Billington, as Martin Esslin had in 1960. The film's director, Joseph Losey, had also directed the first performances of the play in 1947 in the US — with Brecht's active participation. The film is fairly true to those first performances, and is thus of historical significance as well.

The Party is a play by the British dramatist, actor and director Jane Arden (1927–82) which was first staged at the New Theatre, London on 28 May 1958. The play was directed by Charles Laughton and starred, in addition to Laughton himself, Albert Finney, Laughton's wife Elsa Lanchester, Ann Lynn, Joyce Redman, and John Welch. Following generally enthusiastic reviews The Party ran for six months at the New Theatre and has occasionally been performed in repertory since. The play was published by Samuel French Limited.

Paul Gregory was an American film, theatre and television producer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dorice Fordred</span> South African actress

Dorice Fordred was a South African actress, best known for character parts and Shakespearean roles on the London stage. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle commented in 1931, "She is one of those rare things, a young and attractive character actress."