January 2, 2017


Bernard Vorhaus (1904-2000) b. New York City, USA.

Distinctive and innovative director Bernard Vorhaus was born in New York City in 1904. After graduating from Harvard University he became a screenwriter for Columbia and Fox. With the arrival of talkies he moved to England and began to direct films of his own. With the arrival of sound he moved to England in 1929, working initially making quota quickies for producers such Juluis Hagen at Twickenham Studios. Of these early features, Vorhaus is best remembered for The Ghost Camera (1933), Crime on the Hill (1933), Dusty Ermine (1936) and The Last Journey (1936). When Hagen’s studios went bankrupt in 1938, a penniless Vorhaus accepted an invitation from Herbert J. Yates to return to America to work for Republic Pictures on low budget features. During the war, Vorhaus volunteered for the Air Force Motion Picture Unit, and made training documentaries on technical matters, as well as public information films. In the late 40s he continued to make ‘B’ features, for Republic and independently, some, such as The Affairs of Jimmy Valentine (1942), The Spiritualist aka The Amazing Mr X (1948) and So Young So Bad (1950) are still remembered fondly today. Active in left-wing politics, Vorhaus found himself working under increasingly difficult circumstances during the McCarthy era witch-hunt, and eventually he was blacklisted, having been named by Edward Dmytryk before the HUAC. Although he attempted to continue making films in Europe, he was hounded by the American authorities, and eventually he gave up film-making, and settled in London in 1951 as a property developer.

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