Leslie Arliss - Rotten Tomatoes

Leslie Arliss

Highest Rated:   89% The Farmer's Wife (1928)
Lowest Rated:   29% The Wicked Lady (1945)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Not Available
Leslie Arliss is a figure in British cinema whose early life and background remain shrouded in mystery and dispute, decades after his death. A screenwriter/director whose work was highly influential on British cinema of the 1940's -- if not widely respected -- the mystery of his origin is a remarkable footnote to a career that engendered more than its share of controversy. Many credible and responsible reference sources state without equivocation that Leslie Arliss was the son of George Arliss, one of the most renowned British stage actors of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; other sources categorically deny that this is the case, and state without equivocation that Arliss and his wife, Florence Arliss, had no children. What is definite about his early life is that he was born in 1901, and apparently had the name Leslie Andrews (which was, indeed, the Arliss family's original surname). And he grew up with a thorough background in literature and theater, and entered adult life as a journalist and critic in the 1920s. By the end of that decade, however, Arliss had developed a serious interest in film and had begun contributing to screenplay adaptations of theatrical works. He entered the movie industry formally in the 1930s as a screenwriter. His work was usually done in collaboration with others, and divided equally between serious historical profiles and comedies, including Strip, Strip, Hooray (1931), The Innocents of Chicago (1932), Rhodes of Africa, Windbag the Sailor (both 1936), Good Morning, Boys (1937), and Said O'Reilly to McNab (1937). By 1939, he had moved up to work on the screenplay of the Boulting brothers' production of Pastor Hall, the first serious anti-Nazi drama ever made in England. His subsequent output included the screenplay of the topical comedy The Foreman Went to France (1942), set in the dark early days of the war. Arliss moved into the director's chair in 1941 when he joined Associated British Productions to work on The Farmer's Wife, a sound remake of a film that Alfred Hitchcock had done as a silent in 1928 (from a screenplay to which Arliss had contributed, uncredited), based on a hit play of the 1920s. Arliss co-directed the remake with fellow screenwriter Norman Lee, and it was moderately successful, enough to get Arliss a solo directing spot on the thriller The Night Has Eyes (1942), starring James Mason. A stylish mystery set on the Yorkshire mores, the movie proved a good vehicle for the star (who showed an attractive vulnerable quality that was new to his screen image) and the director. Arliss' career took off, however, when he moved to Gainsborough Studios, a part of J. Arthur Rank's General Film Distributors, where he wrote and directed The Man in Grey (1943). The first of what became known as Gainsborough romances, the movie was set some three hundred years in the past, featuring what seemed like lush costuming amid the wartime austerity of the early '40s, but what made it special was the overt lustiness and wickedness of the two protagonists, played by Mason and Margaret Lockwood, all wrapped around some unbridled (for its era) sadism. The movie was a huge hit, and even played well in the United States (where it was shorn of some ten minutes' running time), and it helped elevate Mason to a major stardom as a serious box-office draw. Next up for Arliss was the romance Love Story (1944), retitled A Lady Surrenders in America, a romantic melodrama about a terminally ill woman pianist (Lockwood) who falls in love with a pilot (Stewart Granger) who is going blind; this film was also successful. Arliss followed it with The Wicked Lady (1945), starring Lockwood and Mason -- that movie stretched and shattered numerous boundaries marking out good taste, steeped in lusty talk about sex and some of the most revealing gowns ever worn by actresses in a British film. It was a box-office smash in England and even in America (despite the fact that the stud

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet Saints And Sinners
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
2013
No Score Yet The Wicked Lady
  • Screenwriter
1983
No Score Yet The Woman's Angle
  • Director
1954
No Score Yet A Man About the House
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1947
No Score Yet The Man in Grey
  • Director
1945
29% The Wicked Lady
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1945
No Score Yet Love Story
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1944
No Score Yet The Foreman Went to France (Somewhere in France)
  • Screenwriter
1942
No Score Yet The Night Has Eyes
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1942
No Score Yet Pastor Hall
  • Screenwriter
1940
No Score Yet Come on George
  • Screenwriter
1939
89% The Farmer's Wife
  • Screenwriter
1928

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