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saville

saville
v i c t o r   s a v i l l e  :   d i r e c t o r  ]


"He was my last friend and my best friend."
- Hitchcock on the death of Saville


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    v i c t o r   s a v i l l e  f a c t s

  • Name: Victor Saville
  • Birth name: Victor Salberg
  • Also credited: George A. White, George White
  • Born: 25 September 1897 Birmingham, England, UK
  • Wife: Phoebe
  • Children: Daughter, Ann
  • Died: 8 May 1979, London, England, UK


    saville


    v i c t o r   s a v i l l e  :   b i o g .

    The relative failure of this British director's films in Hollywood (where he spent most of the latter part of his career), coupled with his own self-effacing comments -'I have never considered myself highly as a director. My one ambition has always been to produce'- has tended to obscure the fact that this modest, bespectacled man, with a sure sense of style and glamour, made some of the most beguiling entertainments to emerge from the British cinema of the 1930s, films that the alert, innovative and hard-working Saville ensured could meet Hollywood on its own terms.

    In his younger days, Saville was in turn salesman, production manager and writer. In 1921, Saville, Oscar Deutsch and Michael Balcon, all from the Midlands, were winding up their failing film distribution company. With the last of their proceeds the men dined out and placed a 40 bet on four football matches. Amazingly, the bet came off and their company Victory Motion Pictures was back in action. The importance of this is explained by film producer, Roger Shannon:

      "Saville, Balcon and Deutsch were really important for the film industry at the time and the extra cash they got from that bet was the springboard for them to transform the industry,"

    Saville, Oscar Deutsch and Michael Balcon were all born within five miles of each other in the Midlands. Oscar Deutsch, the son of a scrap metal merchant was born in Balsall Heath.

    Victor Saville's parents were Polish immigrants and his first home overlooked Cannon Hill park. While Michael Balcon was brought up where Spaghetti Junction now stands.

    Their careers took off when they started to produce their own movies, with the glamorous silent movie, Woman to Woman, being the pinnacle of their combined achievements.

    After their colloboration came to an end (Oscar Deutsch went on to create one of the most famous cinema chains in history - The Odeon), Saville and Balcon went into partnership with Graham Cutts in 1923. They created a new studio called Gainsborough. The young Alfred Hitchcock was one of their early proteges. Through Saville and Balcon, Hitchcock directed his first movie, The Lodger. Balcon and Saville, the production side of the team, parted company in 1926.

    From the beginning of sound, Saville was drawn more and more into direction, including the dazzling series of early Jessie Matthews musicals at Gaumont-British, and a variety of comedies, thrillers and musicals for his old partner Balcon at Gainsborough. These films are assured, polished, well-paced entertainments that clearly show Saville's dual skills. In every department - and especially in the overall production design and its use to maximum effect - they compare well with contemporary films from any other part of the world.

    The first of Saville's musicals was Sunshine Susie (1931), a British version of the German musical-comedy Die Privatsekretarin, with the tragic Renate Muller (to commit suicide at 30), the star of the original, and jaunty Jack Hulbert. Hulbert was also in Love on Wheels.

    Saville's films made a great deal of money at British box-offices and, with a few key figures - Balcon, Basil Dean and Hitchcock among them - he was certainly instrumental in maintaining the buoyancy of the British film industry of the period, nowhere more so than with the Matthews musicals, Friday the Thirteenth, The Good Companions, Evergreen (their best-remembered collaboration), First a Girl and It's Love Again. Saville's hymns to this sexy brunette elf are shimmering, gossamer creations, full of good tunes, well-organized dance routines , high key interiors which gleam with Paramont class, and atmospheric exteriors. He almost succeeded in co-starring her with Astaire in 1934, and it was a dark day for her when he departed to join Korda's London Films in 1937, making thrillers and flavoursome (if now dated) rural dramas such as Storm in a Teacup and South Riding.

    At this point , Saville achieved his ambition of becoming a producer with M-G-M at first (The Citadel, Goodbye Mr Chips!) with notable success.

    He returned to direction from 1944 in spasmodic fashion: Tonight and Every Night is a fake but enjoyable portrait of Britain's Windmill Theatre in wartime, which surprisingly does more for Janet Blair than Rita Hayworth, and The Green Years is pleasant, tearful fare (from a novel by The Citadel's A.J. Cronin). But Saville's direction showed an increasing lack of assurance in America (although The Long Wait is a grippingly good thriller), and he eventually returned to Britain in the late 1950s.

    On his death in 1979, Hitchcock said "He was my last friend and my best friend".

saville






v i c t o r   s a v i l l e   f i l m o g r a p h y   ]
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    Director - filmography:

  • 1919 The Story of Oil
  • 1919 Liquid Sunrise
  • 1927 The Arcadians/Land of Heart's Desire
  • 1928 Tesha (US: A Woman in the Night)
  • 1929 Me and the Boys
  • 1929 Armistice
  • 1929 Kitty
  • 1929 Woman to Woman
  • 1930 The W Plan
  • 1930 A Warm Corner
  • 1931 The Sport of Kings
  • 1931 Michael and Mary
  • 1931 Sunshine Susie (US: The Office Girl)
  • 1931 Hindle Wakes
  • 1932 The Faithful Heart (US: Faithful Hearts)
  • 1932 Love on Wheels
  • 1933 The Good Companions
  • 1933 Friday the Thirteenth
  • 1933 I Was a Spy
  • 1934 Evergreen
  • 1934 Evensong
  • 1935 The Love Affair of the Dictator/The Loves of a Dictator
  • 1935 First a Girl
  • 1935 The Iron Duke
  • 1935 Me and Marlborough
  • 1936 It's Love Again
  • 1937 Dark Journey
  • 1937 Storm in a Teacup
  • 1937 Action for Slander (credited as producer only)
  • 1938 South Riding
  • 1943 Forever and a Day
  • 1944 Tonight and Every Night
  • 1946 The Green Years
  • 1947 Green Dolphin Street
  • 1947 If Winter Comes
  • 1949 Conspirator
  • 1950 Kim
  • 1951 Calling Bulldog Drummond
  • 1952 24 Hours of a Woman's Life (US: Affair in Monte Carlo)
  • 1954 The Long Wait
  • 1954 The Silver Chalice


    Producer - filmography:

  • 1923 Woman to Woman
  • 1923 The White Shadow
  • 1926 Mademoiselle from Armentieres
  • 1927 A Sister to Assist 'Er
  • 1927 Roses of Picardy
  • 1927 Hindle Wakes
  • 1927 The Arcadians
  • 1928 Tesha
  • 1929 Woman to Woman
  • 1931 The W Plan
  • 1931 The Sport of Kings
  • 1937 Dark Journey
  • 1937 Storm in a Teacup
  • 1937 Action for Slander
  • 1938 South Riding
  • 1938 The Citadel
  • 1939 Goodbye, Mr. Chips
  • 1940 The Earl of Chicago
  • 1940 The Mortal Storm (uncredited)
  • 1940 Bitter Sweet
  • 1941 A Woman's Face
  • 1941 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (uncredited)
  • 1941 Smilin' Through
  • 1941 The Chocolate Soldier
  • 1942 White Cargo
  • 1942 Keeper of the Flame
  • 1943 Forever and a Day
  • 1943 Above Suspicion
  • 1945 Tonight and Every Night
  • 1953 I, the Jury
  • 1954 The Silver Chalice
  • 1955 Kiss Me Deadly (executive producer)
  • 1961 The Greengage Summer
  • 1962 Mix Me a Person





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      biography | facts | filmography | books | dvds | videos
      savillesavillesavillesavillesavillesaville
      alfred hitchcock | conrad veidt | frank capra | jean cocteau
      fritz lang | f.w. murnau | robert wiene

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