J. Lee Thompson

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J. Lee Thompson
J. Lee Thompson in the 1970s
John Lee Thompson

(1914-08-01)1 August 1914
Died30 August 2002(2002-08-30) (aged 88)
Occupation Film director
Years active1937–1989

John Lee Thompson (1 August 1914 – 30 August 2002) was a British film director, active in London and Hollywood, best known for award-winning films such as Woman in a Dressing Gown , Ice Cold in Alex and The Guns of Navarone along with cult classics like Cape Fear , Conquest of the Planet of the Apes , Battle for the Planet of the Apes and The White Buffalo . [1] [2] [3] [4]


Early life

Thompson was born in Bristol on 1 August 1914. His family had links to the theatre.[ clarification needed ] Thompson studied at Dover College then went to work in the theatre, joining the Nottingham Repertory Company as an actor and stagehand. He later went to work for a repertory company in Croydon, Surrey.[ citation needed ]

He wrote plays in his spare time, and had started when he was nine. One of them, Murder Happens? was performed at Croydon in 1934. His second staged play, Double Error , had a brief West End run at the Fortune Theatre in 1935. An article from this time about the play said he had written 40 plays already, including four in between his first two staged plays. [5] [6] A company worth £10,000 was formed to exploit Thompson's writings over the next seven years but this appears to have not had a long life. [7]

Thompson later said he had written a part for himself to perform, but when management asked him if he wanted to do so he said "of course not," and "the die was cast. Later I decided if I didn't have the guts to admit I wanted to play the role I should never act again and I never did." [8]


The film rights to Double Error were purchased for £100. [9] Thompson was hired to work in the scriptwriting department at British International Pictures at Elstree Studios. While there he made his one appearance as an actor in films, playing a small role in Midshipman Easy (1935).

His first credit was The Price of Folly (1937), based on his play. He also worked on the scripts for Glamorous Night (1937), and he worked as dialogue coach on Jamaica Inn (1939), directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

He wrote the scripts for The Middle Watch (1940), made at Associated British Picture Corporation (ABPC) and East of Piccadilly (1941).

World War II

Thompson served in World War II as a tailgunner and wireless operator in the RAF. In 1942 a revised version of Double Error, titled Murder Without Crime , opened at the Comedy Theatre in London. The play had a run on Broadway in 1943. [10]

Post War

After the war Thompson returned to his work as scriptwriter under contract at Associated British on such films as No Place for Jennifer (1949) and For Them That Trespass (1949), the latter starring Richard Todd in his debut.

Thompson was dialogue director on The Hasty Heart (1949), which turned Todd into a star. He later said he gave up dialogue directing because he found the job "impossible. My job was to take stars through their lines but I felt that I was also expected to be a spy for the front office. If a word was altered they wanted to know why. It was a way of keeping control." [11]

The same year his play The Human Touch , co-written with Dudley Leslie, ran for more than a hundred performances at the Savoy Theatre in a production starring Alec Guinness. [12]

British film director

Early films

His first film as a director was Murder Without Crime (1950), made at ABPC, who put Thompson under contract. Thompson was offered £500 for the screen rights to the play and £500 to direct. He said "it was not so much that I wanted to direct movies it was to get the money so I could continue writing plays. But while directing it I got the feeling that I wanted to be a movie director." [9]

Thompson said "the fact is I found directing to be much easier than writing and I enjoyed it much more than writing as well. So I became a film director." [13]

The film was about a man who thinks he has committed murder. Thompson also wrote the screenplay, based on his own play Double Error. In the words of Thompson's Screenonline profile "this well structured film went largely unnoticed but contained many of the themes which were to characterise Lee Thompson's work: a good person's struggle with their conscience, an external force of evil, and an out-of-character moment of violence which has long-term consequences. Believing people can "commit crimes without being criminals", he sought to make his audiences condone or at least understand behaviour that they would normally condemn." [14]

Thompson's first film success was one he directed and co-wrote (with Anne Burnaby), The Yellow Balloon (1953), the story of a child who is blackmailed into helping a criminal after accidentally causing his friend's death.

He followed it with a comedy, For Better, For Worse (1954) starring Dirk Bogarde, which was even more popular though it is little remembered today.

Social Realist films

Thompson's fourth film as director The Weak and the Wicked (1954), portrays the lives of women in prison and is based on memoirs by Joan Henry, who became Thompson's second wife. Thompson wrote the script, again in collaboration with Anne Burnaby. It starred Glynis Johns and Diana Dors and was a hit at the box office. [15] The success of the film greatly added to Thompson's prestige and he began to be regarded as one of the leading directors in the country. [16]

Thompson was loaned to Rank Films to direct a Jack Buchanan comedy, As Long as They're Happy (1955), co-starring Dors and An Alligator Named Daisy (1955), also starring Dors, along with Donald Sinden. He returned to ABPC and the theme of female prisoners in Yield to the Night (1956), an anti-capital punishment tale with Diana Dors as the condemned prisoner.

Thompson later said the "pattern" of his ABPC films was "two pieces of tepid rubbish for one decent project - if I could persuade Robert Clark, who was head of production. He used to wring his hands when I insisted. 'Okay,' he'd finally say. 'Do it if you must. But it won't make money.' I admired him for that really. He did give you a bit of a chance." [11]

The Good Companions (1957) was lighter fare, based on a book by J. B. Priestley. According to one obituary Thompson "made excellent use of the CinemaScope screen, assembled a fine supporting cast and, with zestful choreography... came up with one of the few successes in a genre for which the British cinema was not noted." [13]

Woman in a Dressing Gown (1957), with Yvonne Mitchell, Anthony Quayle and Sylvia Syms and written by Ted Willis, deals with the collapse of a 20-year marriage. [9]

Action director

Thompson had a big success with Ice Cold in Alex (1958), the story of a British Army unit trekking across North Africa in the Second World War. It featured John Mills, Sylvia Syms, Anthony Quayle and Harry Andrews. It won three BAFTA Awards, including Best British Film. He followed it with North West Frontier (1959), an adventure film set in British India starring Kenneth More and Lauren Bacall. It was one of the most popular films in Britain in 1959. [17]

No Trees in the Street (1959) was a thriller written by Willis. Also in that genre was Tiger Bay (1959), starring John Mills. It introduced cinema audiences to Mills' daughter Hayley and German actor Horst Buchholz. Hayley Mills also earned a BAFTA for Most Promising Newcomer portraying a 12-year-old girl who refuses to betray a sailor accused of murder.

Thompson followed this with I Aim at the Stars (1960).

Hollywood career

Guns of Navarone and Cape Fear

Thompson vaulted to international fame with The Guns of Navarone (1961) as a last-minute replacement for director Alexander Mackendrick. His take-charge attitude during its production earned him the nickname 'Mighty Mouse' from lead actor Gregory Peck. Co-star Anthony Quinn said Thompson:

Never read a scene until he had to shoot it and approached each shot on a whim. And yet the cumulative effect was astonishing. Lee Thompson made a marvelous picture but how? Perhaps his inventiveness lay in defying convention, in rejecting the accepted methods of motion picture making and establishing his own. Perhaps it was in his very formlessness that he found the one form he could sustain, and nurture, the one form that could, in turn, sustain and nurture him. Perhaps he was just a lucky Englishman who pulled a good picture out of his ass. [18]

The Guns of Navarone, a World War II epic filmed on location in Rhodes, Greece, was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Thompson for Best Director. In 1961 he said "primarily I am in the business to entertain. This does not mean that I never want to try artistic movies again. But I do not think you can sell art on the big movie circuits. Art belongs in the art houses." [9] Later he said "I liked the character bits best" about Navarone. "Anyone can make an explosion." [11]

The success of Navarone won him entry into Hollywood, where he directed Cape Fear (1962), a psychological thriller with Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen and Lori Martin; Peck and Mitchum co-producing the film. Based on a novel called The Executioners by John D. MacDonald, Cape Fear shows how a sex offender can manipulate the justice system and terrorise an entire family. Highly controversial for its time,[ citation needed ] the film was cut heavily in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

He worked on a project with Warren Beatty and Clifford Odets based on an idea of Beatty's. It was never made. [8] Neither was The Short Cut which he discussed doing with Darryl F. Zanuck, [19] or The Living Room from a novel by Graham Greene or Chips with Everything by Arnold Wesker. [20]

Mirisch Brothers

Thompson directed Yul Brynner in the Cossack epic Taras Bulba (1962) for producer Harold Hecht. Thompson was going to follow it with Big Charlie starring Brynner but the movie was not made. [21] In 1962 the Mirisch Brothers signed the director to a four-picture contract. [22] The first film made under this contract was the Mayan Indian epic Kings of the Sun (1963), starring Brynner.

In September 1962 Thompson said he would make I Love Louisa with Elizabeth Taylor produced by Arthur Jacobs. [23] (This film became What a Way to Go! (1964) with Shirley MacLaine.) He would put actors under personal contract like Talitha Pol. [24]

In September 1963 Thompson announced he had formed a company, Bowhall Productions, to make around four films a year in the $120,000-$160,000 budget range. Thompson said it was "unlikely" the films would "make a profit" but they were movies he "deeply wanted to make". They included Chips with Everything, Rose without a Thorn by Clifford Bax, and a film in Spain. Following Return from the Ashes he would also make a $7 million movie in Africa Thunder of Giants. [25]

Instead he did another with MacLaine, John Goldfarb, Please Come Home (1965). [26] Back in England Thompson made Return from the Ashes (1965) for the Mirisch Brothers. [27] In April 1965 Thompson announced he would make High Citadel based on a novel by Desmond Bagley for the Mirisch Brothers. [28] These plans were postponed when Thompson received an offer to replace Michael Anderson, who had fallen ill before he was to start directing a thriller about cults with David Niven, Eye of the Devil (1967) (originally titled 13). High Citadel was never filmed. [29] Another film announced but never filmed was The Case Against Colonel Sutton which he was going to do with producer Martin Poll. [30] Neither was a proposed musical remake of The Private Lives of Henry VIII. [31]

After a war film, Before Winter Comes (1968) Thompson was reunited with the star, producer and writer of Navarone in the Western Mackenna's Gold (1969) but it did poorly at the box office. [32] So too did the espionage tale The Chairman (1969) with Gregory Peck. He was meant to follow that with You?, about assassination from a script by Andrew Sinclair. [33] It was never filmed. "I freely admit I've done some pretty bad stuff," he said in 1968. "It's entirely my own fault. The trouble was I accepted some dismal scripts. I wasn't tough enough... Writing is the fundamental thing." [11] Some have argued that Thompson's creative decline coincided with the end of his relationship with Henry. [34]

Apes Movies

Back in the UK he directed Country Dance , also known as Brotherly Love (1970). Thompson's handling of a smaller scale film impressed producer Arthur Jacobs, with whom Thompson had made What a Way to Go; Thompson was the first director attached to the Jacobs production The Planet of the Apes and Thompson says he turned down the first two sequels. He was available to make the fourth and fifth movies in the series, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes . Writer Paul Dehn said Thompson had a reputation as someone with a drinking problem but that he had overcome it by the time of the Apes films. [35]

"They were cutting back on the budgets the whole time after the first one", said Thompson later. "It was a bad policy." [36]

Later career

US Television

Thompson began working more in US television, directing the television films A Great American Tragedy (1972), Huckleberry Finn (1974) starring Jeff East and Paul Winfield, The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1974) and Widow (1976) as well as the pilot episode of The Blue Knight (1975).

He returned to playwriting with Getting Away with Murder (1976). [37]

Charles Bronson

In 1976, Thompson began a long collaboration with actor Charles Bronson on the Warner Bros. crime story St. Ives . [38] John Crowther, who worked with both men, later said "Thompson was the total antithesis of Charlie and they got along famously. They really worked well together.” [39]

In 1977, Bronson and Thompson teamed again on an unconventional western film called The White Buffalo . [40]

Thompson directed two films starring Anthony Quinn, The Greek Tycoon and The Passage . [41] Reviewing the latter The Guardian called Thompson a director who "should know better but often doesn't". [42] The Globe and Mail argued Thompson was "possibly the worst experienced director working in the world today." [43]

Thompson directed the horror film, Happy Birthday to Me in 1980.

In 1981 Thompson and Bronson made the film Caboblanco , which opened in Los Angeles on 24 April. [44] Also that year he directed an episode of the TV show Code Red , which he followed with another Bronson movie, 10 to Midnight. [45]

Thompson worked with Bronson again on, The Evil That Men Do (1984), which was shot in Mexico. Thompson was hired to replace original director Fielder Cook, who was fired shortly before filming began. Producer Pancho Okhenr said Thompson "knew exactly what shots he needed to put together the film... [Bronson] had a lot of respect for Lee. The whole crew appreciated when the director did not make them work over and over to get the same shot from different angles... He was just a terrific filmmaker.” [39]

Also released that year was The Ambassador , starring Robert Mitchum.

On 22 November 1985, King Solomon's Mines premiered. [46] Thompson made this film as an Indiana Jones-style pastiche. It was shot in Zimbabwe and starred Richard Chamberlain. The film was reasonably successful at the box office.

On 18 April 1986, Murphy's Law , the Thompson and Bronson collaboration of that year, started its theatrical run. It is a neo-noir thriller film. [47] Acting in the film are Kathleen Wilhoite, Carrie Snodgress, Robert F. Lyons, and Richard Romanus. [48] Thompson tried another Indiana Jones-type tale with Firewalker , which premiered on 21 November. [49] The film paired the actors Chuck Norris with Louis Gossett Jr. as its leads. The action adventure co-stars Will Sampson and Melody Anderson. [50] Norris and Gossett play Max Donigan and Leo Porter, two soldiers of fortune, whose adventures rarely result in any notable gain. They are befriended by an inscrutable woman of mystery Patricia (Anderson). Patricia's map leads them on a quest for treasure in Central America. The name of the movie comes from the powerful guardian of the treasure.

Now working exclusively for Cannon, Thompson made two more Charles Bronson thrillers. On 6 November 1987 Death Wish 4: The Crackdown was released and 16 September 1988 saw the opening of Messenger of Death . [51] [52] He later reflected, "I realized these films were not going to enhance my reputation. I had to live with that. You're not going to be offered the great films at a certain age." [53]

3 February 1989, Thompson's final directorial effort was released Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects starring Charles Bronson. [54]

In 1990 Thompson moved to Sooke. [53]

In 1992 Thompson said he was trying to finance a remake of Tiger Bay with Anna Chumsky and Alec Baldwin. The director said "I have certain regrets now. I would rather have stuck to making films like Yield to the Night which had some integrity and importance. But the British film industry caved in. I shouldn't denigrate myself too much because I have enjoyed making my films but I suppose I sort of sold out." [55]

Personal life

Thompson was married three times. His first wife was Florence Bailey, whom he married in 1935 when he was 20. They had a son, Peter (1938–1997), who became a film editor on several of his father's films and predeceased him, and a daughter, Lesley, who survived him. [56] They divorced in 1957.

His second wife was prisoner and author Joan Henry, whom he married in 1958. They collaborated on Weak and the Wicked and Yield to the Night. He left her for actress Susan Hampshire. In March 1962 Hedda Hopper reported that Thompson was "sweating it out" in Los Angeles while Henry and Hampshire were "awaiting his decision in London." [57] Thompson confirmed this in an interview, and Hampshire and Henry were less forthcoming to the press. [58]

In September, Hopper reported that it was over between Thompson and Hampshire. [23] Henry and Thompson were divorced in the late 1960s. [59]

In November 1962, Thompson said he had proposed to Shirley Ann Field who he said accepted then changed her mind. [60]

His third wife was Penny, who was his widow.


Thompson died of congestive heart failure on 30 August 2002, at his holiday home in Sooke, British Columbia, aged 88.

Critical appraisal

The Guardian obituary called him "a compelling craftsman". [61] The Washington Post said "he directed adventure films noted for their punchy pacing, rich atmosphere and nuanced characterization." [62] Variety said he was "Known as a craftsman who had a clear sense of how each film should play, scene by scene". [63]

The Independent said "he lent his acute sense of atmosphere and vivid visual style to a wide range of material. His intimate kitchen-sink melodramas... were unflinching portraits of social realism unusually stark for their time. His thrillers were tautly edited exercises in suspense, and he also made some engaging comedies and a bracing musical...Though his later films can most kindly be labelled potboilers, his body of work in the Fifties and early Sixties was an impressive one." [13]

In 2000 he stated that he made so many American films "because of my insecurity and effort to stay here. If I was given a script and it had something good in it I'd say, 'Good, I've got my next picture!' That is not the way to make good films, so some of them were good and some not so good.... What an idiot! 'You should have stayed at what you really wanted to make.' If I have anything to say to young directors today it's don't make a film for the sake of making it. Make it only if you really believe in it. Then success will eventually come to you." [53]


Selected filmography







Notes and references

  1. "J. Lee Thompson, 88, Director of 'Guns of Navarone'". The New York Times . 6 September 2002.
  2. "J. Lee Thompson". BritishPictures.com. Archived from the original on 28 August 2006.
  3. "J. Lee Thompson". Britmovie.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2 October 2013.
  4. "J. Lee Thompson Profile". DVD Review. Archived from the original on 2 September 2006.
  5. "Picture Gallery". Daily Mail. 22 May 1935. p. 19.
  6. C. H. (21 May 1935). "Author of 40 Plays at 19". Daily Mail. p. 6.
  7. "Literary Notes". The Australasian . Vol. CXXXIX, no. 4, 526. Victoria, Australia. 5 October 1935. p. 6. Retrieved 22 August 2020 via National Library of Australia.
  8. 1 2 Hopper, Hedda (11 November 1962). "Film Director's Velvet Glove Hides Tough, Firm Hand". Los Angeles Times. p. A4.
  9. 1 2 3 4 Schumach, Murray (25 July 1961). "J. Lee Thompson Discusses Career: 'Guns of Navarone' Director Took Devious Path to Films". The New York Times. p. 18.
  10. "The Theatre: Mayhem in Mayfair". The Wall Street Journal. 20 August 1943. p. 10.
  11. 1 2 3 4 Malcolm, Derek (3 February 1969). "Anyone can make an explosion". The Guardian. p. 8.
  12. Findlater, Richard (18 February 1949). "Antigone, by Jean Anouilh: New. The Human Touch, by J. Lee-Thompson and Dudley Leslie: Savoy". Blackpool Tribune. No. 632. p. 22.
  13. 1 2 3 Vallance, Tom (4 September 2002). "Obituary: J. Lee Thompson; Versatile director of 'The Guns of Navarone'". The Independent (Foreign ed.). London. p. 16.
  14. "J. Lee Thompson". Screenonline.
  15. "U.S. Money Behind 30% of British Films: Problems for the Board of Trade". The Manchester Guardian. 4 May 1956. p. 7.
  16. Williams, Melanie (March 2002). "Women in Prison and Women in Dressing Gowns: Rediscovering the 1950s films of J. Lee Thompson". Journal of Gender Studies. Abingdon. 11 (1): 5–15. doi:10.1080/09589230120115121.
  17. "Four British Films in 'Top 6': Boulting Comedy Heads Box Office List". The Guardian. 11 December 1959. p. 4.
  18. Quinn, Anthony (1995). One Man Tango. Harper Collins. p. 293.
  19. Thompson, Howard (23 July 1961). "View From A Local Vantage Point". The New York Times. p. X5.
  20. Scheuer, Philip K. (19 November 1962). "Thompson to Back Arnold Wesker Film: Liz Taylor Probable 'VIP'; Allied Artists Comes to Life". Los Angeles Times. p. C15.
  21. Hopper, Hedda (18 August 1961). "Thompson Directs Elephant Drama: Brynner Stars in India Film; Danova to Receive Knighthood". Los Angeles Times. p. C10.
  22. Hopper, Hedda (27 August 1962). "'Navarone' Director Signs for 4 Films". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. B9.
  23. 1 2 Hopper, Hedda (19 September 1962). "J. Lee Thompson Books Liz for Film Next Year". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. B2.
  24. "Signing on for Stardom". Daily Mail. 7 January 1964. p. 10.
  25. Weiler, A.H. (29 September 1963). "Film Plans Seen From A Local Vantage Point: Producer: In Prospect". The New York Times. p. 121.
  26. Watts, Stephen (9 May 1965). "Miss Thulin's 'Return'". The New York Times. p. X9.
  27. "Filmland Events: Lee Thompson to Do 'Return From Ashes'". Los Angeles Times. 19 June 1963. p. E13.
  28. Martin, Betty (17 April 1965). "Movie Call Sheet: Revolution to Be Filmed by Thompson". Los Angeles Times. p. B9.
  29. Martin, Betty (26 August 1965). "Movie Call Sheet: Thompson Will Direct '13'". Los Angeles Times. p. D12.
  30. Scheuer, Philip K. (1 March 1965). "Poll, Thompson Put Colonel on Trial: More L.A. Stage Firsts; Lyons' Escapism Pays Off". Los Angeles Times. p. C19.
  31. Martin, Betty (8 March 1966). "Thompson to Make Musical". Los Angeles Times. p. C12.
  32. Martin, Betty (30 January 1967). "'Gold' Will Be in Cinerama". Los Angeles Times. p. D21.
  33. Thomas, Kevin (6 February 1969). "'Chairman' Shot in Crossfire". Los Angeles Times. p. H13.
  34. Vagg, Stephen (30 August 2020). "Joan Henry: The Jailbird Muse". Filmink.
  35. Russo, Joe; Landsman, Larry & Gross, Edward (2001). Planet of the Apes Revisited: The behind-the-scenes story of the classic science fiction saga. Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Griffin. pp. 178–182.
  36. Reid, Michael D. (27 July 2001). "Talking apes? Get out of here!': For Sooke filmmaker J. Lee Thompson, Planet of the Apes was the one that got away". Times–Colonist (Final ed.). Victoria, B.C. p. C1.
  37. Barber, John (22 July 1976). "Puzzling plot that breeds indifference". The Daily Telegraph. p. 13.
  38. "St. Ives". AFI Catalog. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  39. 1 2 Talbot, Paul (1 February 2014). "Cinema Retro Special Report: Paul Talbot On ... Celebrating Films of the 1960s & 1970s". Cinema Retro. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  40. "The White Buffalo". AFI Catalog. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  41. "The Greek Tycoon". AFI Catalog. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  42. "To hell and back and there again". The Guardian. 1 March 1979. p. 12.
  43. Scott, Jay (29 March 1979). "Movies: Passage takes viewers to perverted Waltonland". The Globe and Mail. p. 15.
  44. "Caboblanco". AFI Catalog. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  45. "10 to Midnight". AFI Catalog. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  46. "King Solomon's Mines". AFI Catalog. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  47. Silver, Alain & Ward, Elizabeth, eds. (1992). Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style (3rd ed.). Woodstock, New York: The Overlook Press. ISBN   0-87951-479-5.
  48. "Murphy's Law". AFI Catalog. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  49. "Firewalker". AFI Catalog. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  50. Thomas, Kevin (24 November 1986). "'Firewalker' Is Handsome Hokum". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  51. "Death Wish 4: The Crackdown". AFI Catalog. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  52. "Messenger of Death". AFI Catalog. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  53. 1 2 3 Reid, Michael D. (2 September 2000). "A life on the set". Times–Colonist. Victoria, B.C. p. C5 & Front.
  54. "Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects". AFI Catalog. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  55. Turner, Adrian (27 February 1992). "When Fear is remade as a family affair: Adrian Turner reckons that Martin Scorsese's Cape Fear isn't a patch on J Lee Thompson's. He talks to the British director of the original movie". The Guardian. p. 26.
  56. Turner, Adrian (4 September 2002). "Obituary: J Lee Thompson: Director of Ice Cold In Alex, Cape Fear and The Guns of Navarone". The Guardian. p. 1.20.
  57. Hopper, Hedda (7 March 1962). "Looking at Hollywood: It Was Hope's Night and He Earned It All". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. A7.
  58. Ruddy, Jonan (2 March 1962). "For love of two women". Daily Mail. p. 3.
  59. "Obituary of Joan Henry: Debutante who went to jail for fraud but made a new life after writing a sensational bestseller about her experiences in prison". The Daily Telegraph. London. 1 January 2001. p. 23.
  60. Morfett, Keith (28 November 1962). "I'll wed Shirley Ann Says Director, but She Says No". Daily Mail. p. 1.
  61. "J Lee Thompson". The Guardian. London. 4 September 2002. p. 20.
  62. "J. Lee Thompson Film Director ...". The Washington Post (Final ed.). 8 September 2002. p. C09.
  63. "Obituaries: J. Lee Thompson". Variety. Vol. 388, no. 4. 9 September 2002. p. 63.

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Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects is a 1989 American action thriller film starring Charles Bronson and directed by J. Lee Thompson. As Thompson's final film, it was the last project he and Bronson did together—a long and famed Hollywood collaboration. The word "kinjite" (禁じて) translates to English as "forbidden move", hinting at the subject matter.

<i>The Guns of Navarone</i> (film) 1961 Anglo-American war film by J. Lee Thompson

The Guns of Navarone is a 1961 action adventure war film directed by J. Lee Thompson from a screenplay by Carl Foreman, based on Alistair MacLean's 1957 novel of the same name. Foreman also produced the film. The film stars Gregory Peck, David Niven and Anthony Quinn, along with Stanley Baker, Anthony Quayle, Irene Papas, Gia Scala, Richard Harris and James Darren. The book and the film share a plot: the efforts of an Allied commando unit to destroy a seemingly impregnable German fortress that threatens Allied naval ships in the Aegean Sea.

<i>Kings of the Sun</i> 1963 film by J. Lee Thompson

Kings of the Sun is a 1963 DeLuxe Color film directed by J. Lee Thompson for Mirisch Productions set in Mesoamerica at the time of the conquest of Chichen Itza by Hunac Ceel. Location scenes filmed in Mazatlán and Chichen Itza. The film marks the second project Thompson completed with Yul Brynner within a year — the other being Taras Bulba.

<i>Lawman</i> (film) 1971 American western film

Lawman is a 1971 American revisionist Western film produced and directed by Michael Winner and starring Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, Lee J. Cobb and Robert Duvall.

<i>The Chairman</i> (1969 film) 1969 film by J. Lee Thompson

The Chairman is a 1969 spy film starring Gregory Peck. It was directed by J. Lee Thompson. The screenplay was by Ben Maddow based on a novel by Jay Richard Kennedy.

<i>Bon Voyage!</i> (1962 film) 1962 film by James Neilson

Bon Voyage! is a 1962 American comedy film directed by James Neilson and produced by Walt Disney Productions. It stars Fred MacMurray, Jane Wyman, Deborah Walley, Tommy Kirk, and Kevin Corcoran as the Willard family on a European holiday.

<i>The Passage</i> (1979 film) 1979 British film

The Passage is a 1979 British action-war film directed by J. Lee Thompson and starring Anthony Quinn, James Mason, Malcolm McDowell and Patricia Neal. The film is based upon the 1976 novel Perilous Passage by Bruce Nicolaysen, who also wrote the screenplay for the film.

<i>Messenger of Death</i> 1988 film by J. Lee Thompson

Messenger of Death is a 1988 American crime-action thriller film starring Charles Bronson about an attempt by a water company to start a family feud among fundamentalist Mormons to take the family's land for the company.

<i>Murder Without Crime</i> 1950 film

Murder Without Crime is a 1950 British crime film directed by J. Lee Thompson and starring Dennis Price, Derek Farr and Patricia Plunkett. J. Lee Thompson also wrote the screenplay adapted from Double Error, his own successful West End play.

<i>Return from the Ashes</i> 1965 British film

Return from the Ashes is a 1965 British thriller film directed by J. Lee Thompson and starring Ingrid Thulin, Maximilian Schell, Samantha Eggar and Herbert Lom. It is based on a novel by French crime writer Hubert Monteilhet, adapted for film by prolific screenwriter Julius J. Epstein. The novel would also serve as the source material for the 2014 German film Phoenix, directed by Christian Petzold, though the latter film makes multiple changes to the book's elements and concerns itself solely with the plot to reclaim an inheritance.

<i>St. Ives</i> (1976 film) 1976 film by J. Lee Thompson

St. Ives is a 1976 American crime thriller film directed by J. Lee Thompson and starring Charles Bronson, John Houseman, Jacqueline Bisset, and Maximilian Schell.

<i>Waltz of the Toreadors</i> (film) 1962 British film

Waltz of the Toreadors is a 1962 film directed by John Guillermin and starring Peter Sellers and Dany Robin. It was based on the play of the same name by Jean Anouilh with the location changed from France to England. It was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best British Screenplay, in 1963.