January 2, 2017


Muriel Box (1905-1991) b. Tolworth, England.

Screenplay writer who became Britain’s foremost female director during the 1950s. She began as a script-girl working for British Instructional Films from 1927. It was 1935 before her first screenplay was accepted; Alibi Inn (1935). During the war she worked for documentary company Verity Films. From then, however, she rapidly became one of Britain’s most prolific writers, turning out dozens of one-act plays with her husband Sydney (married 1935, divorced 1969), brother of producer Betty Box. In 1945 Muriel again turned her attention to the cinema and Sydney was her producer and often co-writer. They won an Academy Award (Best Original Screenplay) for The Seventh Veil (1945), and Muriel turned director in 1952. Although her films never touched great heights, most of them are solidly crafted entertainment within the demands of the times. The best examples of her work, always polished and often lifting ordinary subjects above the average, are Street Corner (1953), a study of British women police; The Beachcomber (1954), with Robert Newton; Simon and Laura (1955), a lively, satirical look at television and its most perfect couple (in private life they fight like cat and dog); and Rattle of a Simple Man (1964), an underrated and winning version of a stage play about the encounter between a naive northerner and a London prostitute.

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