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Frank Vosper

  • Highest Rated: 88% The Man Who Knew Too Much (1935)
  • Lowest Rated: 88% The Man Who Knew Too Much (1935)
  • Birthday: Dec 15, 1899
  • Birthplace: Not Available
  • Frank Vosper began the 1930s as an up-and-coming major playwright as well as a recognized, talented actor on-stage and, later, onscreen. He was the subject of interviews and articles, and had the world at his feet. As the decade wore on, he gained the favor of such directors as Alfred Hitchcock and Michael Powell onscreen. The son of a doctor, Vosper came from a family that, in the preceding 200 years at least, had not a single member of the acting profession in its ranks. He was bitten by the acting bug as a boy, however, to the degree that his devotion of time and energy to amateur theatricals destroyed his academic record. At 17, in lieu of college, he joined the F.R. Benson and then the Ben Greet Players, and played small roles with each company. He served in uniform during the latter part of World War I and was lucky enough to make it into an entertainment unit run by Captain Basil Dean, which only reinforced his devotion to the theater. On returning to civilian life, Vosper made his West End debut as a footman in The Young Visitors. He spent two years in a company that toured the Far Eastern part of the British Empire and surrounding locales, including India and China. Vosper essayed over 130 roles in his repertory, but found himself increasingly trapped in character parts, specifically as old men. He had to break out of that trap before his serious acting career began, and at that point he also started writing plays. His first, The Combined Maze (1927), became a cause célèbre for critics as an outstanding piece of modern theater, and over the next few years he authored several more critical successes in everything from thrillers to comedies. At the same time, Vosper continued acting on stage, playing such roles as Orlando to Edith Evans' Rosalind in As You Like It, and started appearing in movies as well. Vosper played the assassin in Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) and that same year had a starring role in the best of Michael Powell's early low-budget thrillers, Red Ensign (1934). By 1936, Vosper bided fair to have a major career for years to come, when tragedy struck in the wake of his latest success. In late 1936, Vosper went to Jamaica on a vacation that subsequently took him to New York, to assist in mounting an American production of one of his plays, Love From a Stranger (adapted from Agatha Christie's work). On his way back to England on the liner Paris, on the last night before arrival, Vosper attended a party in the quarters of British beauty queen Muriel Oxford. Sometime late that night, he was heard to suggest that he was tired and wished to leave the party as unobtrusively as possible. He was last seen standing at a window on the veranda outside Oxford's room, and then was missing...his body was found off Plymouth days later. An inquiry led to a ruling of death-by-misadventure, though no one can explain why Vosper, who did not drink to excess, and was not depressed so far as anyone knew, and wasn't given to irresponsible behavior, would have climbed out the window of the veranda to get to his room. The death and the mystery surrounding it consumed the legitimate British press for weeks before a judgment of accidental death was delivered. As a coda to his foreshortened career, three film adaptations of Vosper's plays -- including two different movies based on Love From a Stranger -- were produced for the screen.

Highest Rated Movies








No Score Yet Jew Suss Duke Karl Alexander 1940
No Score Yet Spy of Napoleon Louis Napoleon III 1936
88% The Man Who Knew Too Much Ramon Levine 1935
No Score Yet Heart's Desire Van Straaten 1935
No Score Yet Power Actor 1934
No Score Yet Red Ensign (Strike!) Lord Dean 1934
No Score Yet Open All Night Anton 1934
No Score Yet Rome Express M. Jolif 1932


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