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Leo Marks

  • Highest Rated: 96% Peeping Tom (1960)
  • Lowest Rated: 96% Peeping Tom (1960)
  • Birthday: Sep 24, 1920
  • Birthplace: Not Available
  • Leo Marks went from a life in the deepest, darkest secret locales in England's World War II espionage operations into life as a screenwriter. Born in London in 1920 and the son of an antiquarian book dealer, Leopold Samuel Marks became intrigued by the idea of codes and ciphers at the age of eight, when he read Edgar Allen Poe's story The Gold Bug. He became proficient at breaking codes as well as devising them, and when World War II broke out, he joined the newly created Special Operations Executive, which aimed at sabotaging the smooth running of Hitler's fortress Europe. Working under the cover of being an employee in the Ministry of Supply, Marks was the chief designer of the codes used to communicate with British agents in the field during World War II. After the war, Marks pursued his other great ambition, to be a writer, authoring works for the stage and movies. His earliest plays dated from the end of the 1940s, and in 1958, Marks served as technical advisor on the film Carve Her Name With Pride, which dealt with the life and death of Violet Szabo, a British agent killed by the Germans during World War II; one of his poems also served as the basis for a code used in the film. Soon after, Marks became a friend of Michael Powell, the celebrated co-director/co-producer (with Emeric Pressburger) of such films as The Red Shoes and The Tales of Hoffmann -- he made his screenwriting debut with the script for Powell's Peeping Tom, a film dealing with a sexually deranged young filmmaker. The film proved so controversial at the time, that it fatally damaged Powell's career in England, although it has since come to be regarded as a towering cinematic achievement. Peeping Tom was subsequently presented at the New York Film Festival under the aegis of director Martin Scorsese, and has appeared in numerous videocassette, laserdisc, and DVD editions with special supplementary materials. Marks later wrote the screenplays for the thriller The Guns at Batasi, about a Mau-Mau uprising on colonial East Africa, and the 1968 comedic espionage film Sebastian, starring Dirk Bogarde. In addition to writing screenplays, he also appeared as the voice of the Devil in Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ. His father's store, Marks & Company, was also the setting for Helene Hanff's book 84, Charing Cross Road, which was later made into a play and a film. In 1998, Marks published a book about his wartime activities entitled Between Silk and Cyanide: A Codemaker's War, 1941-1945.

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No Score Yet Twisted Nerve Screenwriter 1969
No Score Yet Guns at Batasi Screenwriter 1964
96% Peeping Tom Screenwriter 1960
No Score Yet Cloudburst Screenwriter 1951


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