Ken Annakin (1914-2009) b. Beverley, England.
A varied career in the Civil Service, as a salesman and as a journalist, gave Annakin a broader experience of life than most British directors. After a number of documentary shorts, his directed his first feature for the Rank Organisation, Holiday Camp (1947), an urban ‘slice of life’ featuring the fictional Cockney Huggett family. The film was a minor success and Annakin directed three more in quick succession; The Huggetts Abroad (1949), Vote for Huggett (1949), and Here Come the Huggetts (1948). Following this he co-directed two Somerset Maugham portmanteau films; Quartet (1948) and Trio (1950). His subsequent output has been generally reliable, but rarely remarkable. During the subsequent years he directed a number of inoffensive but jolly comedies including Hotel Sahara (1951), Value for Money (1955), Three Men in a Boat (1956), Very Important Person (1961), The Fast Lady (1962) and Crooks Anonymous (1962). The one interesting exception was the Graham Greene adaptation Across the Bridge (1957), an offbeat psychological thriller filmed in Spain and boasting a gripping performance from Rod Steiger in the lead role. He is one of a select band of British directors trusted by Hollywood, and much of his work since has been for American companies, directing films such as The Longest Day (1962), Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965) and Battle of the Bulge (1965). “Star Wars” creator George Lucas paid him an indirect compliment when he named the character Anakin Skywalker for him. Annakin was awarded with an OBE in 2002.