Boulting brothers

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John Boulting
Roy-and-john-boulting1952.jpg
Roy (left) and John (right) Boulting, 1952
Born Joseph Edward John Boulting
(1913-12-21)21 December 1913
Bray, Berkshire, England
Died 17 June 1985(1985-06-17) (aged 71)
Sunningdale, Berkshire, England
Occupation Film producer and director
Spouse(s) Veronica Davidson (1938–?)
Jacqueline Duncan (1952–1966)[1]
Ann Marion (1972–?)
Anne Josephine (1977–1985)[2]
Children 6
Roy Boulting
Born Alfred Fitzroy Clarence Boulting
(1913-12-21)21 December 1913
Bray, Berkshire, England
Died 5 November 2001(2001-11-05) (aged 87)
Eynsham, Oxfordshire, England
Cause of death Cancer
Occupation Film producer and director
Spouse(s) Angela Warnock (1936–1941)
Jean Capon (1942–1951)
Enid Munnik (1951–1964)
Hayley Mills (1971–1978)
Sandra Spencer (1978–1984)[2]
Partner(s) Victoria Vaughan (mid-1960s)[2]
Children 7, including Crispian Mills

John Edward Boulting[citation needed] (21 December 1913 – 17 June 1985) and Roy Alfred Clarence Boulting[citation needed] (21 December 1913 – 5 November 2001), known collectively as the Boulting brothers, were English filmmakers and identical twins who became known for their popular series of satirical comedies in the 1950s and 1960s. They produced many of their films through their own production company, Charter Film Productions, which they set up in 1937.[3]

Early life[edit]

The twin brothers were born to Arthur Boulting and his wife Rosetta (Rose) née Bennett in Bray, Berkshire, England on 21 December 1913. John was the elder by half an hour. John was named Joseph Edward John Boulting and Roy was named Alfred Fitzroy Clarence Boulting. Their elder brother Sydney Boulting became an actor and stage producer as Peter Cotes; he was the original director of The Mousetrap. A younger brother, Guy, died aged eight. Both twins were educated at Reading School, where they formed a film society. They were extras in Anthony Asquith's 1931 film Tell England while still at school.[2] During the Spanish Civil War, John served with the International Brigades as an ambulance driver.

Careers[edit]

Frank Capra (right) confers with Roy Boulting on the editing of the film Tunisian Victory

The brothers constitute one of those producer-director teams responsible for so much notable British cinema. For most of their careers, one produced while the other directed, but the product remained essentially a 'Boulting Brothers film'. They were socialistically inclined (John fought with the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War), but despite a somewhat patrician demeanour, they wanted film to have serious connections with social reality.

In 1937, they set up Charter Film Productions and made several short features, including Consider Your Verdict, which attracted critical and commercial attention.[4]

Being eager to speak out against the Third Reich, the brother’s first major film, Pastor Hall (1940), a moving account of a German preacher who refuses to kowtow to the Nazis, had to have its initial release delayed by the British Government, which was not yet ready to be openly critical of Nazism. Once released, the film was well-received by the critics and the public.[5]

They followed it up with Thunder Rock (1942), a passionate anti-isolationist allegory distinguished by imaginative cinematography and a theatrical but highly atmospheric lighthouse setting.

In 1941 Roy joined the Army Film Unit, where he was responsible for the enormously influential Desert Victory - which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1944[6] and Burma Victory in 1945. John joined the RAF Film Unit, where he made Journey Together in 1945, a dramatised documentary about the training and combat experience of a bomber crew with Richard Attenborough in the lead part.

By the mid-50s they quickly became identified with "affectionate" [7] satires on various British institutions such as the army in Private's Progress, (1956), diplomacy in Carlton-Browne of the FO (1959) and, most famously, industry and trade unionism in I'm All Right Jack (also 1959).

The Boulting Brothers worked frequently with both Attenborough and Sellers, helping to establish them as leading actors. Attenborough was notably cast as Pinkie in Brighton Rock in (1947), and Sellers as Fred Kite in the hugely successful satirical comedy I’m All Right, Jack (1959).[7]

In later years, the Boultings directed and produced the northern comedy The Family Way (1966) and the thriller Twisted Nerve (1968), both starring the just-adult Hayley Mills, whose first husband Roy subsequently became.[7]

The brothers worked inseparably for their whole career. When John died of cancer in 1985, Roy stopped making films. When the National Film Theatre mounted its biggest retrospective to date of British cinema in the late 1980s, Roy who launched it, introduced Desert Victory. The Boulting Brother’s films are regarded by film historians[who?] as "a sensitive barometer of the changing times."

Personal lives[edit]

John Boulting was married four times and had three sons and three daughters.[2] John and his South African-born wife Anne had two daughters: one of whom is Lucy Boulting Hill, a successful casting director.[8][citation needed] John's grandson Jordan Stephens is one half of uk hip hop duo Rizzle Kicks.[9]

Roy Boulting was married five times and had seven sons.[2] In 1951 Roy married Enid Munnik, later known as Enid Boulting, an established fashion model and fashion editor at the French magazine Elle. Ingrid Boulting is Enid's daughter from a previous marriage.[citation needed] Together they had three children: Fitzroy, the eldest, then identical twins named Edmund and Rupert.[citation needed] In 1971, Roy married Hayley Mills, 33 years his junior, whom he had met on the set of The Family Way. Their son is musician and filmmaker Crispian Mills. The couple divorced in 1978.[2]

Deaths[edit]

John Boulting died on 17 June 1985 at his home in Sunningdale, Berkshire, and Roy Boulting 16 years later on 5 November 2001 in the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford; both died of cancer.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

A still from The Family Way was used for The Smiths single ‘I’ve Started Something I Couldn’t Finish’.

Filmography[edit]

Films directed jointly[edit]

Films directed by John[edit]

Films directed by Roy[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mrs. John Boulting Gets Decree". The Times. 21 June 1966. p. 16. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Burton, Alan. "Boulting, John Edward (1913–1985); also including Roy Alfred Clarence Boulting (1913–2001)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/30836.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ IMDb: Charter Film Productions Linked 2013-05-24
  4. ^ Carney, George; Goring, Marius; Petrie, Hay (2000-01-01), Consider Your Verdict, retrieved 2017-01-28 
  5. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Boulting Brothers". www.screenonline.org.uk. Retrieved 2017-01-28. 
  6. ^ "The 16th Academy Awards | 1944". Oscars.org | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2017-01-28. 
  7. ^ a b c Barr, Charles (2001-11-07). "Roy Boulting". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-01-28. 
  8. ^ "Lucy Boulting". IMDb. Retrieved 2016-09-19. 
  9. ^ Duerden, Nick (31 July 2014). "Rizzle Kicks interview: The Brighton boys are on a roll". The Independent. 
  • Burton Alan, O'Sullivan Tim, Wells Paul; Eds. 2000. The Family Way: The Boulting Brothers and British Film Culture. Trowbridge: Flicks Books. ISBN 0-948911-59-X

External links[edit]