January 2, 2017


John Paddy Carstairs [John Keys] (1910-1970) b. London, England.

British writer, director and author of humorous novels, several of them autobiographical. Carstairs, after beginning as an assistant cameraman, worked steadily along the safe middle lines of the commercial British cinema for 30 years. He began writing screenplays with Honeymoon Adventure (1931), and directing in 1934. Most of his films as director were modest, middle-budget successes, with Lassie from Lancashire (1938) and The Chiltern Hundreds (1949) the most attractive and original. In 1953, for no particular commercial reason, Carstairs was put in charge of the first major Norman Wisdom comedy, Trouble in Store (1953). The film was a massive box-office success in its native country, and Carstairs suddenly found himself a man with a reputation for steering new comic talent to success on the screen. Besides making several Wisdom comedies, he was also put in charge of early vehicles for Frankie Howerd, Ronald Shiner, Tommy Steele, Charlie Drake and Bob Monkhouse. The quality of these comedies was variable but, with the help of canny advertising, especially on the Rank films, they were nearly all money-makers for their producers. Carstairs quit films in 1962 to concentrate on writing and painting, but died at 60.

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