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Leslie Arliss

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Name  Leslie Arliss
Role  Screenwriter
Died  December 30, 1987, Jersey

Parents  Annie Eleanor Lilian Barnett Hill, Charles Sawforde Arliss
Movies  The Wicked Lady, The Man in Grey, The Night Has Eyes, Love Story, A Man About the House
Similar People  Margaret Lockwood, Patricia Roc, Phyllis Calvert, Arthur Crabtree, James Mason

Leslie Arliss (6 October 1901, London – 30 December 1987, Jersey, Channel Islands) was an English screenwriter and director. He is best known for his work on the Gainsborough melodramas directing films such as The Man in Grey and The Wicked Lady. during the 1940s. He was not the son of George and Florence Arliss as has sometimes been reported erroneously. HIs parents were, in fact, Charles Sawforde Arliss and Annie Eleanor Lilian Barnett Hill (known as Nina in later years).


Early Life

Arliss started his professional career as a journalist in South Africa. Later he branched out into being a critic.


During the 1920s he entered the film industry as a screenwriter, and author of short stories.

He did some uncredited work on The Farmer's Wife (1928) directed by Alfred Hitchcock, then was credited on the comedies Tonight's the Night (1932), Strip! Strip! Hooray!!! (1932), Josser on the River (1932), The Innocents of Chicago (1932) and Holiday Lovers (1932).

Arliss went to Gaumont British to write Road House (1934), a crime film; Orders Is Orders (1934), a comedy; My Old Dutch (1934), a comedy; Jack Ahoy (1934), a Jack Hulbert vehicle.

He was credited on Heat Wave (1935), and Windbag the Sailor (1936) with Will Hay.

Arliss' most prestigious credit to date was Rhodes of Africa (1936) starring Walter Huston, a job he got in part because of his South African background. It was back to more typical fare with All In (1936), a comedy; Everybody Dance (1936), a musical; Where There's a Will (1936) and Good Morning, Boys (1937) with Will Hay; and Said O'Reilly to McNab (1937) with Will Mahoney.

Arliss wrote a crime film Too Dangerous to Live (1938) then did Come On George! (1939) with George Formby and The Second Mr. Bush (1940).

With World War Two he began writing propaganda films: Pastor Hall (1940) for Roy Boulting; For Freedom (1940) with Will Fyffe; Bulldog Sees It Through (1941) with Jack Buchanan; and South American George (1941) with Formby. He also wrote The Saint Meets the Tiger (made 1941 released 1943) with Hugh Sinclair.


In 1941 he became a director, initially for Associated British, but soon changing to the Gainsborough Pictures. He made his directorial debut wiht a remake of The Farmer's Wife (1941), co-directed by Norman Lee.

He worked on The Foreman Went to France (1942) for Ealing Studios as writer only and wrote and directed The Night Has Eyes (1942), a thriller, with James Mason.

Gainsborough Melodrama

Arliss had the biggest success of his career to date with The Man in Grey (1943), which he co-wrote and directed. It was one of the biggest hits of the career and made stars of its leads, Mason, Stewart Granger, Phyllis Calvert and Margaret Lockwood. Calvert later claimed Arliss was "not at all" responsible for the eventual success of the film, saying "He was a lazy director; he had got a wonderful job there and he just sat back... [producer] Ted Black was the one who would watch it, cut it, and know exactly what the audience would take."

Arliss' next movie was also a huge hit, Love Story (1944), which he co-wrote and directed, starring Granger, Lockwood and Patricia Roc.

An even bigger success was The Wicked Lady (1945) which Arliss wrote and directed starring Lockwood and Mason.

Alex Korda

Arliss received an offer to work for Alexander Korda for whom he directed A Man About the House (1947). He directed Idol of Paris (1948) for Gainsborough's former production chief Maurice Ostrer but the film was a notorious flop.

For Korda he wrote and directed Saints and Sinners (1949) which also did poorly.

1950s films

Arliss wrote and directed The Woman's Angle (1952) which was a commercial disappointment.

He directed some comedies, Miss Tulip Stays the Night (1955) and See How They Run (1955) (which he also wrote).

He did a number of short films in the mid/late 1950s, two of which (Dearth of a Salesman, Insomnia Is Good for You) featured a young Peter Sellers before he became a major film star in the 1960s. The films were thought lost, but have been recently rediscovered and are due to be shown at the Southend Film Festival in May 2014.

He later directed several series of television programmes such as Douglas Fairbanks Jnr Presents (1954), Sailor of Fortune (1955) The Buccaneers (1956), The New Adventures of Charlie Chan (1957-58), The Invisible Man (1958) and The Forest Rangers (1963).

Films for which he was a screenwriter

  • The Farmer's Wife - 1928 (uncredited)
  • Tonight's the Night - 1932
  • Strip! Strip! Hooray!!! - 1932 (short : also lyricist for songs)
  • Josser on the River - 1933
  • The Innocents of Chicago - 1932
  • Holiday Lovers - 1932
  • Road House - 1934
  • Orders is Orders - 1934
  • My Old Dutch -1934
  • Jack Ahoy - 1934
  • Heat Wave - 1935
  • Windbag the Sailor - 1936
  • Rhodes of Africa - 1936
  • All In - 1936
  • Everybody Dance - 1936
  • Where There's a Will - 1936 (story)
  • Good Morning, Boys - 1937
  • Said O'Reilly to McNab - 1937
  • Too Dangerous to Live - 1939
  • Come on George! - 1939
  • The Second Mr. Bush - 1940
  • Pastor Hall - 1940
  • For Freedom - 1940
  • Bulldog Sees it Through - 1940
  • South American George - 1941
  • The Foreman Went to France - 1942
  • The Saint Meets the Tiger - 1943
  • Top of the Form - 1953
  • The Wicked Lady - 1983
  • Films for which he was both director and screenwriter

  • The Farmer's Wife - 1941
  • The Night has Eyes - 1942
  • The Man in Grey - 1943
  • Love Story - 1944
  • The Wicked Lady - 1945
  • A Man About the House - 1947
  • Idol of Paris - 1948 (Director only)
  • Saints and Sinners - 1949 (Also Producer)
  • The Woman's Angle (1952)
  • Miss Tulip stays the Night - 1955
  • See How They Run - 1955
  • Films for which he was a director

  • Man with a Dog (short) (1957)
  • Dearth of a Salesman (short) (1957)
  • Insomnia Is Good for You (short) (1957)
  • Danger List (short) (1959)
  • Television work

  • The New Adventures of Charlie Chan - 1957 Directed 15 episodes
  • Sailor of Fortune - 1955-6 Directed 3 episodes
  • The Buccaneers -1956-57 Directed 9 episodes
  • The Invisible Man -1958 Wrote or co-wrote 4 episodes
  • References

    Leslie Arliss Wikipedia