Charles Saunders (director)

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Charles Saunders
Born Charles Joel Saunders
(1904-04-08)8 April 1904
Paddington, London, England
Died April 1997 (aged 93)
Denham, Buckinghamshire, England
Other names Chas Saunders
Occupation Film director, screenwriter, film editor
Relatives Sir Peter Saunders (brother)

Charles Joel Saunders (8 April 1904[1] – April 1997[2]) was an English film director and screenwriter who started in the industry as a film editor, and who also contributed to television.[3] He was the brother of the theatrical producer Sir Peter Saunders.

Career[edit]

Saunders entered the world of films in 1930 with his drama called No Exit (which he wrote, produced and directed),[4] about a publisher's daughter who wrongly believes that a humble staff writer of her father's is secretly a best-selling author.[5]

He then served as art director for three films in 1931 and 1932.[6] However, his main occupation from 1930 to 1943 was in the film editing sphere, learning the trade by contributing to over 20 films,[7] and rising to become supervising editor for the 1942 Gainsborough movie Alibi, a thriller which starred James Mason and Margaret Lockwood.[8]

In 1944, he combined with Bernard Miles to co-direct (and co-screenwrite) Tawny Pipit, a film starring Miles himself as the Army colonel involved with village folk in an effort to protect rare birds' nests from egg thieves.[9]

After working as a second unitdirector in 1945 on The Way to the Stars,[10] and as a location director in 1947 on The White Unicorn,[11] he began his career proper as a dedicated director.

Following his solo debut with Fly Away Peter in 1948,[12] Saunders would go on to make around ten films (including 1951's One Wild Oat,[13] featuring a very young Audrey Hepburn as a hotel receptionist) before switching to the medium of television, and in 1953 and 1954 he directed 8 episodes of the anthology series Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Presents, for Douglas Fairbanks Productions Limited.[7]

He was still busy on the movie front, making The Golden Link, The Scarlet Web, and Meet Mr. Callaghan in 1954. He also made three films in 1955 – The Hornets Nest, One Jump Ahead, and A Time to Kill. Returning to television direction once more, he then made 7 episodes of the police drama series, Fabian of the Yard, broadcast on the BBC in 1955, before completing three more films in 1956 (Behind the Headlines, The Narrowing Circle, and Find the Lady).[7]

After making three more episodes of "Fabian" in 1956, he continued working with the BBC, filming 9 instalments of another TV series, Adventures of the Big Man, for them, which presented stories about a public relations officer in a large store.[14]

Seven films followed in 1957, before Saunders began to make films which marked a radical departure from the tried and trusted formula he had employed for many years.[7] The 1958 "English sexploitation movie", Nudist Paradise,[15] was perhaps the beginning of the end of Saunders' career in films, although he did make a B movie in the same year, called Womaneater (described as "one of the very worst British horror films ever"). It recounted the story of a crazed scientist who feeds women to a flesh-eating tree, in return for a life-giving serum.[16]

After eight more films, culminating in the 1962 crime thriller Danger by My Side,[17] Saunders retired from film-making.

He died in April 1997 at Denham, Buckinghamshire.

Selected filmography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Full name and birth details: BFI.org.uk website. Retrieved on 4 March 2008.
  2. ^ Death details: IMDB.com website. Retrieved on 4 March 2008.
  3. ^ List of films and credits: BFI.org.uk website. Retrieved on 4 March 2008.
  4. ^ No Exit (1930 film), director, producer and writer: IMDB.com website. Retrieved on 4 March 2008.
  5. ^ No Exit synopsis: New York Times website. Retrieved on 4 March 2008.
  6. ^ Art director, three films 1931–32: IMDB.com website. Retrieved on 4 March 2008.
  7. ^ a b c d Film credits: BFI.org.uk website. Retrieved on 4 March 2008.
  8. ^ Alibi (1942 film), supervising editor: BFI.org.uk website. Retrieved on 4 March 2008.
  9. ^ Tawny Pipit (1944 film), co-director and co-screenwriter: IMDB.com website. Retrieved on 4 March 2008.
  10. ^ The Way to the Stars (1945 film), second unit director: IMDB.com website. Retrieved on 4 March 2008.
  11. ^ The White Unicorn (1947 film), location director: BFI.org.uk website. Retrieved on 4 March 2008.
  12. ^ Fly Away Peter (1948 film), solo directorial debut: Allmovie website. Retrieved on 4 March 2008.
  13. ^ One Wild Oat (1951 film), director: IMDB.com website. Retrieved on 4 March 2008.
  14. ^ Adventures of the Big Man (1956 TV series), director of 9 episodes: BFI.org.uk website. Retrieved on 4 March 2008.
  15. ^ Nudist Paradise (1958 film), director: EMoviePoster.com website. Retrieved on 4 March 2008.
  16. ^ Womaneater (1958 film), director: Encyclopedia of Fantastic Film and Television website. Retrieved on 4 March 2008.
  17. ^ Danger by My Side (1962 film), final movie as a director: Time Out magazine website. Retrieved on 4 March 2008.

External links[edit]