January 2, 2017


Basil Dearden (1911-1971) b. Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, England.

Basil Dearden

Basil Dearden was initially an actor with the Ben Greet repertory company, Briton Basil Dear later became a stage manager for director Basil Dean. To avoid being confused with Dean, Dear added a "den" to his professional name. When Dean became a staff director at Ealing films, Dearden went along as a scriptwriter, production manager and associate producer. He co-directed several comedies featuring such major stars as George Formby and Will Hay, finally getting a chance to solo with the morale-boosting wartimer The Bells Go Down (1943). From 1949 through 1971, Dearden was associated with producer Michael Relph; the team won British Film Academy Awards for the quasi-documentary The Blue Lamp (1950) and the racially charged melodrama Sapphire (1959). Dearden’s efficient if impersonal technique enabled him to direct comedies; The Smallest Show on Earth (1957), psychological dramas including Victim (1961) and murder mysteries like Woman of Straw (1964) with equal success. He also helmed the 1966 historical epic Khartoum (1966), starring Charlton Heston and Laurence Olivier. In 1959, Dearden directed several half-hour instalments of the internationally produced TV series The Four Just Men. Basil Dearden died in an auto crash at the age of 60; he was survived by his son, writer/director James Dearden.

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