Anthony Asquith

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Anthony Asquith
Walter James Redfern Turner, Anthony Asquith, Charles Percy Sanger, Mark Gertler by Lady Ottoline Morrell.jpg
Walter J. Turner, Asquith, Charles Percy Sanger, Mark Gertler in photo taken by Lady Ottoline Morrell
Born 9 November 1902
London, England, UK
Died 20 February 1968(1968-02-20) (aged 65)
London, England, UK
Occupation Film director
Years active 1927–1964

Anthony Asquith (/ˈæskwɪθ/; 9 November 1902 – 20 February 1968) was a leading English film director. He collaborated successfully with playwright Terence Rattigan on The Winslow Boy (1948) and The Browning Version (1951), among other adaptations. His other notable films include Pygmalion (1938), French Without Tears (1940), The Way to the Stars (1945) and a 1952 adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest.


Born in London, he was the son of H. H. Asquith, the Prime Minister during the first two years of the First World War, and Margot Asquith who was responsible for 'Puffin' as his family nickname.[1] He was educated at Eaton House[2], 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.[3] 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.[1] 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 was an alcoholic and, according to Jonathan Cecil, a repressed homosexual. He died in 1968.[3]


Feature films[edit]

Short films[edit]


  1. ^ a b Anthony Asquith biography at BFI Screenonline
  2. ^ "Mr T.S. Morton". The Times. 23 January 1962. 
  3. ^ a b Geoffrey Macnab "The Asquith version", The Guardian, 6 February 2003
  4. ^ See also advertisement for its premiere in The Times, 14 December 1935, p. 11.

External links[edit]

Trade union offices
Preceded by
New position
President of the Association of Cinematograph Technicians
Succeeded by
George Elvin