Seth Holt

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Holt on the set of directorial debut Nowhere to Go (1958)

Seth Holt (1923, Palestine – 14 February 1971, London) was a British film director, producer and editor.[1] Holt was educated at Blackheath School in London.[2] He trained originally as an actor, and spent a term at RADA in 1940 before acting in repertory in Liverpool and Devon. In 1942 he joined a documentary film company as assistant editor, and his career in films began. By the 1960s, Movie magazine championed Holt as one of the finest talents working in the British film industry, although his output was notably sparse.[3]

Originally a film editor, he worked on a number of Ealing comedies before directing a number of features for Hammer Studios. The most enduring of the Hammer movies were the psycho-thrillers Taste of Fear (1961) and The Nanny (1965), with Bette Davis, and the gory Blood from the Mummy's Tomb (1971), which was completed by Michael Carreras after Holt's unexpected death from heart failure. His death is believed to be alcohol related. TCM's Ben Mankiewicz says it received better reviews than Hammer's other Mummy movies, which suffered from "The curse of the Mummy Movie," and he gave credit to Holt for the improvement. "He took the wrappings off." [4][5]

Holt produced a documentary called Barbed Water which was about the whalers of Faial in the Azores.

He also worked for a period as an 'editing doctor', and by accounts was responsible for saving Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) and The Entertainer (1960).[6]

British film critic Dilys Powell described Holt's 1962 film Station Six-Sahara as “true cinema”.[7]

In 1969, Holt was due to direct the pioneering youth-alienation fantasy if...., but his health was in such crisis that Lindsay Anderson was obliged to take over direction.[8]

Bette Davis famously called Holt "the most ruthless director I've ever worked with outside of William Wyler".[9]

His films are characterized by their tense atmosphere and suspense, as well as their striking visual style.

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ "Seth Holt". BFI. 
  2. ^ British Crime Film. 
  3. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Holt, Seth (1924-1971) Biography". 
  4. ^ "Overview for Seth Holt". Turner Classic Movies. 
  5. ^ "BFI - Sight & Sound - Lost and found: Station Six Sahara". 
  6. ^ "BFI - Sight & Sound - Lost and found: Station Six Sahara". 
  7. ^ "BFI - Sight & Sound - Lost and found: Station Six Sahara". 
  8. ^ "Seth Holt". 
  9. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Holt, Seth (1924-1971) Biography". 

External links[edit]