January 2, 2017


Clive Donner (1926-2010) b. London, England.

Clive Donner

Donner was born in West Hampstead, London. Aged 17, after leaving Kilburn polytechnic and starting work as an office clerk, he went to Denham Studios and graduated to direction via the cutting room and it is in the fluidity of his editing that his talents are most apparent. He served national service in the Royal Army Educational Corps, and then continued to gain experience at Pinewood Studios as an editor. There is a vein of sentimentality, particularly in his early work, which seemed over-concerned with the problems of childhood and adolescence. His debut movie, The Secret Place (1957), was a heist drama shot on location in the East End. Some People (1962) centred on three alienated youths who are encouraged by a liberal-minded choirmaster, Kenneth More, to form a rock band. Filmed on location in Bristol, it was an unabashed publicity vehicle for the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme.

Donner�s films became more abrasive during his most productive period of the mid-sixties, such as the stark low-budget adaptation of Harold Pinter’s play The Caretaker (1963); black-comedy Nothing but the Best (1963), What�s New, Pussycat (1965) and Stevenage-set permissive-society comedy Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (1967). Alfred the Great (1969) with David Hemmings was a critical and commercial flop, and with work drying up Donner returned to directing commercials. He spent the next three decades working in film, television and advertising on both sides of the Atlantic, without recapturing his earlier energy. One of his better later efforts was a tightly-paced adaptation of Geoffrey Household’s classic thriller Rogue Male for BBC Television. Donner is adept at catching the voguishness of the time, consequently his films only a few years later seem dated.

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