Harold French

Last updated

Harold French
Born(1897-04-23)23 April 1897
London, England
Died19 October 1997(1997-10-19) (aged 100)
London, England
Occupation Actor
Film director
Years active1920–1936 (actor)
1937–1963 (director)
Spouse(s)Phyllis Arnold (? – 1941);
Mary Parker (predeceased him)
Awards Locarno International Film Festival
Most Entertaining Film
1949 Adam and Evelyne

Harold French (23 April 1897 19 October 1997) [1] was an English film director, screenwriter and actor. [2]



After training at the Italia Conti School, he made his acting debut age 12, in a production of The Winter's Tale . [3] [4] As an actor, most of his roles occurred between 1912 and 1936, not gaining as much attention as later he would as a director. [5] [3]

He worked as a screenwriter on three of the four films produced by Marcel Hellman's and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.'s production company Criterion Film Productions in the late 1930s, before switching to film direction in 1937, often with Marcel Hellman as producer. [6] [7] From 1940 to 1955, he had several box-office successes as director. This successful period was clouded by the 1941 death of his wife Phyllis in a Luftwaffe bombing raid. [8]

Although he did some TV work after 1955, he appears to have retired from directing and acting after 1963. [9] He directed the hit West End play Out of Bounds starring Michael Redgrave in 1962. He died in 1997 at the age of 100. [2]

He was a subject of the television programme This Is Your Life in May 1970 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews.[ citation needed ]

Selected filmography




Related Research Articles

Isadore "Dore" Schary was an American playwright, director, and producer for the stage and a prolific screenwriter and producer of motion pictures. He directed just one feature film, Act One, the film biography of his friend, playwright and theater director Moss Hart. He became head of production at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and replaced Louis B. Mayer as president of the studio in 1951.

Allen Jenkins American actor

Allen Curtis Jenkins was an American character actor and singer who worked on stage, film, and television.

Arthur Hoyt American actor (1874–1953)

Arthur Hoyt was an American film character actor who appeared in more than 275 films in his 34-year film career, about a third of them silent films.

Constance Cummings American actress

Constance Cummings CBE was an American-British actress with a career spanning over 50 years.

Dolly Haas German actress

Dorothy Clara Louise Haas was a German-American actress and singer who played in German and American films. After moving to the United States, she often appeared in Broadway plays. She became a naturalized US citizen and married Al Hirschfeld, a noted portraitist and caricaturist in New York City.

Hugh E. Wright British actor

Hugh E. Wright was a French-born, British actor and screenwriter. He was the father of actor Tony Wright.

Ian Hunter (actor) British actor (1900–1975)

Ian Hunter was a South African-born British actor of stage, film and television.

Bernard Knowles was an English film director, producer, cinematographer and screenwriter. Born in Manchester, Knowles worked with Alfred Hitchcock on numerous occasions before the director emigrated to Hollywood.

Dewey Robinson American actor (1898–1950)

Dewey Robinson was an American film character actor who appeared in more than 250 films made between 1931 and 1952.

Austin Trevor Northern Irish actor

Claude Austin Trevor Schilsky was an Irish actor who had a long career in film and television.

Aubrey Mather English actor

Aubrey Mather was an English character actor.

Harold Huber American actor

Harold Huber was an American actor who appeared on film, radio and television.

Matt McHugh American actor

Matthew O. McHugh was an American film actor who appeared in more than 200 films between 1931 and 1955, primarily in small cameo parts.

Michael Shepley British actor

Arthur Michael Shepley-Smith, known professionally as Michael Shepley, was a British actor, appearing in theatre, film and some television between 1929 and 1961.

Frederick Leister English actor (1885-1970)

Frederick Leister, born Frederick Charles Holloway, was an English actor. He began his career in musical comedy, and after serving in the First World War he played character roles in modern West End plays and in classic drama. He appeared in more than 60 films between 1922 and 1961.

Minnie Rayner British stage and film actress (1869-1941)

Minnie Rayner was a British stage and film actress.

Marcel Hellman was a Romanian-born British film producer, who worked closely with Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Harold French.

Anthony Ireland (actor) British actor

Anthony Ireland was a British actor. He was born in Peru to British parents but by 1904 his family lived in Chile, where his brother Noel was born. In 1910 they moved to England and in the 1911 census they were shown as living in Bedford. Noel became an RAF pilot and was killed in a crash in 1931.

Vincent Holman British actor

Vincent Holman was a British stage, film and television actor. On stage, he was in the original cast of Arnold Ridley's The Ghost Train at Brighton's Theatre Royal and London's St. Martin's Theatre in 1925-1926.

Arthur Kober was an American humorist, author, press agent, and screenwriter. He was married to the dramatist Lillian Hellman.


  1. League, The Broadway. "Harold French – Broadway Cast & Staff - IBDB". www.ibdb.com.
  2. 1 2 "Harold French - Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  3. 1 2 McFarlane, Brian (16 May 2016). The Encyclopedia of British Film: Fourth edition. Oxford University Press. ISBN   9781526111975 via Google Books.
  4. "Overview for Harold French". Turner Classic Movies.
  5. "Harold French - Theatricalia". theatricalia.com.
  6. "Harold French".
  7. "Jeannie (1941)".
  8. BritMovie: Harold French Archived 11 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine Linked 2012-10-14
  9. TV.com. "Harold French". TV.com.