Life, biography films of a great actor..Charles Laughton

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The son of a Yorkshire hotel keeper, Laughton was expected to go into the family business after graduating from Stonyhurst School at age 16. He was instead drawn to performing, and in 1925 he enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Making his first professional London stage appearance in a 1926 production of The Government Inspector, he was able to avoid the usual typecasting brought on by a plain face and bulky frame, playing a wide variety of characters both villainous and virtuous. He made his film debut in the two-reel British comedy Blue Bottles in 1928, the same year that he met his future wife, actress Elsa Lanchester.

He went to New York City in 1931, where he repeated his London stage success in Payment Deferred (1932), and was signed by Paramount Pictures the following year. Cast as a raving lunatic in his first American picture, Devil and the Deep (1932), he immediately counteracted this image with his portrayal of a good-natured industrialist in The Old Dark House (1932). Shortly afterward he switched gears again to play the depraved Nero in The Sign of the Cross (1932). He returned to England in 1933 to play the title role in The Private Life of Henry VIII, a rich, robust performance that won him an Academy Award.

Continuing to play such unpleasant film characters as Javert in Les Misérables (1935) and Captain Bligh in Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), he balanced these assignments with such sympathetic roles as the mild-mannered British valet in Ruggles of Red Gap (1935) and the pathetic Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939). He even dabbled in broad comedy, most memorably in Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1952). Laughton’s inclination toward hammy self-indulgence was not universally appreciated by his coworkers, but audiences adored him, excesses and all. Near the end of his career, his acting style mellowed considerably, and many observers regard his evenly measured performances in Spartacus (1960) and Advise & Consent (1962) as his finest work. He also proved to be an accomplished film director with the allegorical thriller The Night of the Hunter (1955).

Laughton became a U.S. citizen in 1950, shortly after he began to tour extensively with his readers’ theatre presentations of George Bernard Shaw’s Don Juan in Hell and Stephen Vincent Benét’s John Brown’s Body. Many of Laughton’s best readings have been preserved in audio recordings and in the filmed television series This Is Charles Laughton (1953). Laughton also produced and directed the long-running Broadway drama The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial (1953).

Charles Laughton, (born July 1, 1899, Scarborough, Yorkshire, England—died December 15, 1962, Hollywood, California, U.S.), British actor and director who defied the Hollywood typecasting system to emerge as one of most versatile performers of his generation.

Island of Lost Souls

Bela Lugosi, Charles Laughton

Island of Lost Souls is a 1932 American science fiction horror film starring Charles Laughton, Richard Arlen, Leila Hyams, Bela Lugosi and Kathleen Burke as the Panther Woman. The film..

Rembrandt

Charles Laughton, Elsa Lanchester

Rembrandt is a 1936 British biographical film made by London Film Productions of the life of 17th-century Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn. The film was produced and directed by

The Old Dark House

Boris Karloff, Charles Laughton

The Old Dark House is a 1932 American pre-Code comedy horror film directed by James Whale. It is based on the novel Benighted (1927) by J.B. Priestley. The ensemble cast includes..

This Land Is Mine

Maureen O’Hara, Charles Laughton

This Land Is Mine is a 1943 American war drama film directed by Jean Renoir and starring Charles Laughton, Maureen O’Hara and George Sanders. The film is set in an unspecified Nazi-..

Jamaica Inn

Maureen O’Hara, Charles Laughton

Jamaica Inn is a 1939 film directed by Alfred Hitchcock adapted from Daphne du Maurier’s 1936 novel of the same name, the first of three of du Maurier’s works that Hitchcock adapted.

Les Misérables

Charles Laughton, Fredric March

Les Misérables is a 1935 American drama film starring Fredric March and Charles Laughton based upon the famous Victor Hugo novel of the same name. The movie was adapted by W. P.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Maureen O’Hara, Charles Laughton

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a 1939 American film starring Charles Laughton as Quasimodo and Maureen O’Hara as Esmeralda. Directed by William Dieterle and produced by..

Ruggles of Red Gap

Charles Laughton, Sam Lufkin

Ruggles of Red Gap is a 1935 comedy film directed by Leo McCarey and starring Charles Laughton, Mary Boland, Charlie Ruggles and ZaSu Pitts, and featuring Roland Young and Leila

Spartacus

Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier

Spartacus is a 1960 American epic historical drama film directed by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay by Dalton Trumbo was based on the novel Spartacus by Howard Fast. It was..

Hobson’s Choice

Charles Laughton, John Mills

Hobson’s Choice is a 1954 romantic comedy film directed by David Lean. It is based on the play of the same name by Harold Brighouse. It stars Charles Laughton in the role of Victorian..
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