Born in London, he was the son of H. H. Asquith, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the First World War, and Margot Asquith who was responsible for 'Puffin' as his family nickname. He was educated at Winchester College and Balliol College, Oxford.
The film industry was viewed as disreputable when Asquith was young, and according to the actor Jonathan Cecil, a family friend, Asquith entered his profession in order to escape his background. At the end of the 1920s he began his career with the direction of four silent films the last of which, A Cottage on Dartmoor established his reputation with its meticulous and often emotionally moving frame composition. Pygmalion (1938) was based on the George Bernard Shaw play featuring Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller. He was a longtime friend and colleague of Terence Rattigan, they collaborated on ten films, and producer Anatole de Grunwald. His later films included Rattigan's The Winslow Boy (1948) and The Browning Version (1951), and Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest (1952).
Asquith, an alcoholic, was a charming, gentle man and a closeted homosexual who never married. Asquith died from lymphoma at the age of 65.
Anthony Asquith (British Film Makers) by Tom Ryall
Paperback: 204 pages
Publisher: Manchester University Press; Reissue edition (February 28, 2012)
Amazon: Anthony Asquith
This is the first comprehensive critical study of Anthony Asquith. Ryall sets the director's work in the context of British cinema from the silent period to the 1960s, examining the artistic and cultural influences which shaped his films.
Asquith's silent films were compared favorably to those of his eminent contemporary Alfred Hitchcock, but his career faltered during the 1930s. However, the success of Pygmalion (1938) and French Without Tears (1939), based on plays by George Bernard Shaw and Terence Rattigan, together with his significant contributions to wartime British cinema, re-established him as a leading British film maker. Asquith's post-war career includes several pictures in collaboration with Terence Rattigan, and the definitive adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest (1951), but his versatility is demonstrated in a number of modest genre films including The Woman in Question (1950), The Young Lovers (1954) and Orders to Kill (1958).
More LGBT History at my website: www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Gay Classics
This journal is friends only. This entry was originally posted at http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/3469884.html. If you are not friends on this journal, Please comment there using OpenID.