Rodney Ackland (18 May 1908 in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex – 6 December 1991 in Richmond upon Thames, Surrey) was an English playwright, actor, theatre director and screenwriter.
Born as Norman Ackland Bernstein in Southend, Essex, to a Jewish father from Warsaw and a non-Jewish mother,  he was educated at Balham Grammar School in London. In his 16th year he made his first stage appearance at the Gate Theatre Studio, playing Medvedieff in Gorky's The Lower Depths and later studied acting at the Central School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art. He married Mab Lonsdale, daughter of the playwright Frederick Lonsdale, in 1952; she died in 1972.
In 1929, after performing with various repertory companies, he toured as Young Woodley in the play of that name. At the Gaiety Theatre in 1933 he played Paul in his own adaptation of Ballerina, which also toured the following year, and at the Criterion in 1936 he played the role of Oliver Nashwick in his own original play After October which transferred there from the Arts Theatre.
In 1941, he co-wrote the screenplay for the film Temptation Harbour starring Robert Newton and Simone Simon. Two musical collaborations came in 1942 with his version of Blossom Time starring Richard Tauber as Franz Schubert at the Lyric Theatre, and his London Coliseum production of the musical play, The Belle of New York . He also wrote and directed The Dark River at the Whitehall Theatre in 1943, starring Peggy Ashcroft. He joined Robert Newton as co-authors of Cupid and Mars (1945), and A Multitude of Sins (1951)
The first staging of his large-cast drama, The Pink Room (or The Escapists), in Brighton and then at the Lyric Hammersmith in London on 18 June 1952, was largely financed by Terence Rattigan, who liked the play and believed it deserved a London production. The Pink Room was a tragi-comedy set in the summer of 1945 in a seedy London club (based on the French Club in Soho).  It received a severe critical panning and after that, apart from one further play and an adaptation, it led to the playwright's more than 30-year virtual absence. According to its director, Frith Banbury, "When the play failed, Terry never wanted to see Rodney again."
However, following the abolition of the Lord Chamberlain's play licensing in 1968, Ackland was able to rewrite aspects of this play, re-titling it Absolute Hell . It was performed in its new form in 1988 to considerable success at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond-upon-Thames, directed by Sam Walters and John Gardyne, and starring Polly Hemingway and David Rintoul.
In 1991, it was adapted and directed for BBC 2 by Anthony Page, starring Dame Judi Dench. The play was revived by Page at the National Theatre in 1995, again with Dench in the leading role. In 2018, the National staged another revival, directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins and starring Kate Fleetwood. 
See also Nick Smurthwaite's theatre profile of Ackland for The Stage , Revival of a Realist, 5 February 2004
Rodney Ackland's first contact with Alfred Hitchcock was as a supporting actor in The Skin Game (1931), a screen version of the John Galsworthy play.  Hitchcock, however, recognised his potential as a screenwriter and collaborating with him on the second film adaptation of J Jefferson Farjeon's London fog-bound thriller Number Seventeen (1932) starring Leon M. Lion. 
Ackland co-wrote the British film Bank Holiday (1938), contributed additional dialogue to Young Man's Fancy (1940), and made some uncredited contributions to Dangerous Moonlight (1941) and Love Story (1944).  His screenplay for Hatter's Castle (1942), from the novel by A.J. Cronin, provided a rampant star role for Robert Newton as the megalomaniac Scottish hatter.  He shared with Emeric Pressburger an Academy Award nomination for the screenplay of 49th Parallel (US: The Invaders, 1941), starring Raymond Massey and Eric Portman. 
Ackland is credited with discovering the actress Sally Ann Howes, the child of neighbour Bobby Howes, when he insisted that she audition for his film Thursday's Child (1943), which he both wrote and directed.
He renewed his association with Pressburger with the two men co-writing the screenplay for the thriller Wanted for Murder (1946), mainly intended as a film vehicle for Eric Portman playing a man obsessed by his father's role as the public hangman. Around the same time, he made Temptation Harbour (1947), the first adaptation]] of Georges Simenon's novel Newhaven/Dieppe , directed by Lance Comfort, again with Robert Newton.
He twice collaborated with Rattigan as a screenwriter, on the Anthony Asquith film Uncensored (1942), starring Eric Portman; and for the Associated British production of Bond Street (1948), an anthology film consisting of four stories about a wedding trousseau. Neither Ackland nor Rattigan were credited on the latter film.
His final work for the cinema was on the screenplay for The Queen of Spades (1949), an adaptation of Alexander Pushkin's short story. Ackland intended to direct the film, but fell out with the producer Anatole de Grunwald and star Anton Walbrook. Thorold Dickinson took over at short notice and rewrote Ackland's script with the help of de Grunwald. 
Assisted by a co-author Elspeth Grant, Ackland wrote his memoirs, The Celluloid Mistress, or The Custard Pie of Dr. Caligari, published by Alan Wingate in London in 1954.
Suspicion is a 1941 romantic psychological thriller film noir directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine as a married couple. It also features Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Nigel Bruce, Dame May Whitty, Isabel Jeans, Heather Angel, and Leo G. Carroll. Suspicion is based on Francis Iles's novel Before the Fact (1932).
Separate Tables is the collective name of two one-act plays by Terence Rattigan, both taking place in the Beauregard Private Hotel, Bournemouth, on the south coast of England. The first play, titled Table by the Window, focuses on the troubled relationship between a disgraced Labour politician and his ex-wife. The second play, Table Number Seven, is set about 18 months after the events of the previous play, and deals with the touching friendship between a repressed spinster and Major Pollock, a kindly but bogus man posing as an upper-class retired army officer. The two main roles in both plays are written to be played by the same performers. The secondary characters – permanent residents, the hotel's manager, and members of the staff – appear in both plays. The plays are about people who are driven by loneliness into a state of desperation.
George Emlyn Williams, CBE was a Welsh writer, dramatist and actor.
Sir Terence Mervyn Rattigan was a British dramatist and screenwriter. He was one of England's most popular mid-20th-century dramatists. His plays are typically set in an upper-middle-class background. He wrote The Winslow Boy (1946), The Browning Version (1948), The Deep Blue Sea (1952) and Separate Tables (1954), among many others.
Michael Latham Powell was an English filmmaker, celebrated for his partnership with Emeric Pressburger. Through their production company The Archers, they together wrote, produced and directed a series of classic British films, notably The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), A Canterbury Tale (1944), I Know Where I'm Going! (1945), A Matter of Life and Death, Black Narcissus (1947), The Red Shoes (1948), and The Tales of Hoffmann (1951). His later controversial 1960 film Peeping Tom, while today considered a classic, and a contender as the first "slasher", was so vilified on first release that his career was seriously damaged.
The Browning Version is a play by Terence Rattigan, seen by many as his best work, and first performed on 8 September 1948 at the Phoenix Theatre, London. It was originally one of two short plays, jointly titled "Playbill"; the companion piece being Harlequinade, which forms the second half of the evening. The Browning Version is set in a boys' public school and the Classics teacher in the play, Crocker-Harris, is believed to have been based on Rattigan's Classics tutor at Harrow School, J. W. Coke Norris (1874–1961).
Emeric Pressburger was a Hungarian-British screenwriter, film director, and producer. He is best known for his series of film collaborations with Michael Powell, in a collaboration partnership known as the Archers, and produced a series of films, including 49th Parallel (1941), The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), A Matter of Life and Death, Black Narcissus (1947), The Red Shoes (1948), and The Tales of Hoffmann (1951). He has been played on screen by Alec Westwood in the award-winning short film Òran na h-Eala (2022) which explores Moira Shearer's life-changing decision to appear in The Red Shoes.
The Deep Blue Sea is a British stage play by Terence Rattigan from 1952. Rattigan based his story and characters in part on his secret relationship with Kenny Morgan, and the aftermath of the end of their relationship. The play was first performed in London on 6 March 1952, directed by Frith Banbury, and won praise for actress Peggy Ashcroft, who co-starred with Kenneth More. In the US, the Plymouth Theater staged the play in October 1952, with Margaret Sullavan. The play with Sullavan subsequently transferred to Broadway, with its Broadway premiere on 5 November 1953, and running for 132 performances.
"The Monkey's Paw" is a horror short story by English author W. W. Jacobs. It first appeared in Harper's Monthly in 1902, and was reprinted in his third collection of short stories, The Lady of the Barge also in 1902. In the story, three wishes are granted to the owner of The Monkey's Paw, but the wishes come with an enormous price for interfering with fate.
Robert Guy Newton was an English actor. Along with Errol Flynn, Newton was one of the more popular actors among the male juvenile audience of the 1940s and early 1950s, especially with British boys. Known for his hard-living lifestyle, he was cited as a role model by the actor Oliver Reed and the Who's drummer Keith Moon.
Ernest Paul Lehman was an American screenwriter. He was nominated six times for Academy Awards for his screenplays during his career, but did not win. At the 73rd Academy Awards in 2001, he received an Honorary Academy Award in recognition of his achievements and his influential works for the screen. He was the first screenwriter to receive that honor.
49th Parallel is a 1941 British and Canadian war drama film. It was the third film made by the British filmmaking team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. It was released in the United States as The Invaders. The British Ministry of Information approached Michael Powell to make a propaganda film for them, suggesting he make "a film about mine-sweeping". Instead, Powell decided to make a film to help sway opinion in the then-neutral United States. Said Powell, "I hoped it might scare the pants off the Americans" and thus bring them into the war. Screenwriter Emeric Pressburger remarked, "Goebbels considered himself an expert on propaganda, but I thought I'd show him a thing or two". Powell persuaded the British and Canadian governments and started location filming in 1940, but by the time the film appeared, in March 1942, the United States, which had been trying to stay out of the war in Europe, had been drawn into taking sides against Germany.
Esmond Penington Knight was an English actor. He had a successful stage and film career before World War II. For much of his later career Knight was half-blind. He had been badly wounded in 1941 while on active service on board HMS Prince of Wales when she fought the Bismarck at the Battle of the Denmark Strait, and remained totally blind for two years, though he later regained some sight in his right eye.
Eric Harold Portman was an English stage and film actor. He is probably best remembered for his roles in several films for Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger during the 1940s.
The following is a partial list of unproduced Alfred Hitchcock projects, in roughly chronological order. During a career that spanned more than half a century, Alfred Hitchcock directed over fifty films, and worked on a number of others which never made it beyond the pre-production stage.
Henry Francis Maltby was a prolific writer for the London stage and British cinema from after the First World War, until the 1950s. He also appeared in many films.
Wanted for Murder is a 1946 British crime film directed by Lawrence Huntington and starring Eric Portman, Dulcie Gray, Derek Farr, and Roland Culver.
Uncensored is a 1942 British war drama film directed by Anthony Asquith starring Eric Portman, Phyllis Calvert and Griffith Jones. The film was produced at Gainsborough Pictures by Edward Black, with cinematography from Arthur Crabtree and screenplay by Rodney Ackland, Wolfgang Wilhelm and Terence Rattigan based on the 1937 novel of the same title by Oscar Millard. The film was shot at the company's Lime Grove Studios in Shepherd's Bush, with sets designed by the art director Alex Vetchinsky.
Squadron Leader X is a 1943 British World War II spy drama directed by Lance Comfort and starring Eric Portman and Ann Dvorak. The screenplay was adapted by Miles Malleson and Wolfgang Wilhelm from a short story by Emeric Pressburger.
Sean O'Connor is a British producer, writer and director working in theatre, film, television and radio. He was the editor of the long-running BBC radio drama, The Archers from 2013 to 2016. He replaced Dominic Treadwell-Collins as the executive producer of EastEnders in June 2016. It was revealed in June 2017 that O'Connor had left EastEnders to focus on his career in feature films.