Reed, Sir Carol

Reed, Sir Carol
born Dec. 30, 1906, London, Eng.
died April 25, 1976, London

British film director.

He made his stage debut as an actor in 1924 and as a director in 1927, staging Edgar Wallace's detective thrillers. He began directing films in 1935, winning praise for The Stars Look Down (1939), Night Train (1940), and the wartime semidocumentary The True Glory (1945). Noted for his technical mastery of the suspense-thriller genre, he had great success with Odd Man Out (1947), The Fallen Idol (1948), and the classic The Third Man (1949). His later films include The Key (1958), Our Man in Havana (1959), and Oliver! (1968, Academy Award). He was the first British film director to be knighted.

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▪ British director
born December 30, 1906, London, Eng.
died April 25, 1976, London

      British film director noted for his technical mastery of the suspense-thriller genre. He was the first British film director to be knighted.

      Carol Reed was born to the mistress of one of England's most successful stage actors, Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree (Tree, Sir Herbert Beerbohm). After a rather lacklustre school career at King's School, Canterbury, Reed followed in his father's footsteps and at age 18 began taking small acting roles. He broke into films as a dialogue coach for Associated Talking Pictures in 1932 and codirected several films before releasing Midshipman Easy (1934), his first solo effort.

      Most of Reed's early films are inexpensive, unremarkable efforts. When in 1938 the British government stipulated that film companies must fully fund the making of domestic motion pictures—rather than focusing on the distribution of foreign films—Reed was able to produce such noteworthy efforts as The Stars Look Down (1939), an internationally acclaimed film that depicted life in an English mining town, and Night Train to Munich (1940), a Hitchcock (Hitchcock, Sir Alfred)-style thriller that featured Rex Harrison (Harrison, Sir Rex) as a British double agent. During World War II, Reed directed documentaries for the British army's film unit, including The True Glory (1945), which he codirected with Garson Kanin under the supervision of General Dwight D. Eisenhower (later U.S. president). For this film, Reed won his first Oscar for “distinctive achievement in documentary production.”

      The making of documentaries had an enormous influence on Reed's filmmaking style. His postwar films are characterized by a documentary-style emotional detachment and a perfectionist's eye for detail. Nowhere is this more evident than in three films made in successive years, beginning with Odd Man Out (1947), a fatalistic tragedy starring James Mason as a fugitive IRA agent. Masterful cinematography by Robert Krasker infused the film with long shadows and a look of gloom, a visual style common to Reed's films of this period. Reed began his collaboration with two important associates—writer Graham Greene (Greene, Graham) and producer Alexander Korda (Korda, Sir Alexander)—on his next film, The Fallen Idol (1948). The following year, the trio turned out what is arguably Reed's greatest film, The Third Man (1949), a Cold War thriller starring Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles (Welles, Orson). The film won first prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and Reed was nominated for best director at the Academy Awards. Because of the strength and reputation of Reed's films of the late 1940s, he was knighted in 1952, the first British film director to be so honoured.

      Most of the films Reed made during the 1950s and '60s were not up to the level of his initial postwar efforts. Films such as the circus drama Trapeze (1956), the Graham Greene spy spoof Our Man in Havana (1960), and the epic story of Michelangelo The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965) were well-received, but many critics felt that Reed had long since passed his prime. He proved them wrong with a rousing screen adaptation of Lionel Bart's stage musical Oliver! (1968), Reed's only venture into the musical genre. The film won five Oscars, including best picture and best director, and was Reed's final noteworthy film.

Additional Reading
Nicholas Wapshott, The Man Between: A Biography of Carol Reed (1990; also published as Carol Reed: A Biography, 1994).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Reed, Sir Carol — (30 dic. 1906, Londres, Inglaterra–25 abr. 1976, Londres). Director de cine británico. Debutó como actor teatral en 1924, y en 1927 se inició como director, con las historias de detectives de Edgar Wallace. Comenzó a dirigir películas en 1935, y… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Reed — /reed/, n. 1. Sir Carol, 1906 76, British film director. 2. Ishmael (Scott), born 1938, U.S. novelist and poet. 3. John, 1887 1920, U.S. journalist and poet. 4. Stanley Forman /fawr meuhn/, 1884 1980, U.S. jurist: associate justice of the U.S.… …   Universalium

  • Reed — Reed, Carol * * * (as used in expressions) Reed, John Reed, Sir Carol Reed, Thomas B(rackett) Reed, Walter Reed, Willis …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Reed — Reed, Sir Carol (1906 76) a British film ↑director, whose films include The Third Man (1949), Our Man in Havana (1959), and the musical film Oliver! (1968) …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • carol — caroler; esp. Brit., caroller, n. /kar euhl/, n., v., caroled, caroling or (esp. Brit.) carolled, carolling. n. 1. a song, esp. of joy. 2. a Christmas song or hymn. 3. a seat in a bay window or oriel. 4. a compartment in a cloister, similar t …   Universalium

  • Carol — /kar euhl/, n. a male or female given name. * * * I Popular song, usually of religious joy, associated with a season, especially Christmas. It typically alternates verses with a repeated refrain or chorus. The carol originated in medieval England …   Universalium

  • reed — reedlike, adj. /reed/, n. 1. the straight stalk of any of various tall grasses, esp. of the genera Phragmites and Arundo, growing in marshy places. 2. any of the plants themselves. 3. such stalks or plants collectively. 4. anything made from such …   Universalium

  • sir — /serr/, n. 1. a respectful or formal term of address used to a man: No, sir. 2. (cap.) the distinctive title of a knight or baronet: Sir Walter Scott. 3. (cap.) a title of respect for some notable personage of ancient times: Sir Pandarus of Troy …   Universalium

  • Carol — ► Nombre de varios reyes de Rumania. * * * (as used in expressions) Burnett, Carol Carol II Carol I Jemison, Mae (Carol) Oates, Joyce Carol Reed, Sir Carol …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Carol Reed — Nacimiento 30 de diciembre de 1906 Putney, Londres, Inglaterra Ocupación Guionista, productor y director de cine. Sir Carol Reed (Londres, Inglaterra; 30 de diciembre de 1906 – Ibídem; 25 de abril de 1976) fue un director de cine inglés, conocido …   Wikipedia Español

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