A Film-maker’s Education

  • Robert F. Moss


Reed’s career at Associated Talking Pictures had been streaking rapidly forward when Basil Dean, head of the studio, decided to entrust him with his first directorial assignment, It Happened in Paris (1935), codirected by Robert Wyler. The film is one of a number of early Reed works which have largely disappeared from view. Michael Voigt, who has helpfully assembled thumbnail sketches of even the most obscure of these movies, summarizes the plot as a ‘romantic drama in which a millionaire’s son goes to Paris to study art and finds romance’.1 The same year Dean gave his young apprentice complete possession of Midshipman Easy (US title: Men of the Sea). An adaptation of Captain Frederick Marryat’s famous adventure story, Mr Midshipman Easy, the film had the advantage of retelling a yarn that thousands of Englishmen had thrilled to as adolescents. The film’s budget was as limited as other British movies of the period, and most of it was shot in the Ealing Studios in London. English press coverage was affectionate and quite tolerant of the movie’s limitations. The notice in The Times was typical. Noting the film’s mood of harmlessly juvenile escapism, the anonymous reviewer remarked that ‘it would be no surprise if at any moment Captain Hook and his crocodile were to heave into sight over the gunwale’.


Screen Time Love Story Beauty Contest Seaside Resort Musical Comedy 
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  1. 1.
    Michael Voigt, ‘Pictures of Innocence: Sir Carol Reed’, Focus on Fil, no. 17 (Spring 1974) 34.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Graham Greene, The Pleasure Dom (London, 1927) p. 42 (Greene’s collected film criticism from The Spectator) Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    Andrew Sarris, ‘Carol Reed in the Context of His Time’, Film Cultur, 2, 4 (1956) 15.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    Basil Wright, ‘The Director: Carol Reed’, in The Yeas Work in Fil, ed. by Roger Manvell (London, 1950) p. 11Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    Frank S. Nugent, ‘Talk of the Devil’, New York Time, 15 May 1937, p. 23.Google Scholar
  6. 17.
    Archer Winston, ‘Climbing High’, New York Pos, 5 June 1939.Google Scholar
  7. 18.
    Wanda Hale, ‘Climbing High’, New York Daily New, 4 June 1939.Google Scholar
  8. 20.
    Bosley Crowther, ‘A Girl Must Live’, New York Time, 24 March 1942. p. 25.Google Scholar
  9. 20.
    Bosley Crowther, ‘A Girl Must Live’, New York Time, 24 March 1942. p. 25.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Robert F. Moss 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert F. Moss

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