Walter Charles Mycroft (1890-1959) was the film critic of the Evening Standard from 1922-1927, and also a founding member of London's Film Society. In 1928, he was appointed Head of the Scenario Department-and then Director of Production-at British International Pictures (later Associated British Pictures). In 1941 Mycroft was sacked following the death of the company's Managing Director and the requisition of Elstree studios by the British Government for war purposes. After that his career went into steady decline, although after the Second World War he worked for nearly a decade as Scenario Adviser to Robert Clark, who ran the rebuilt Elstree studios. This long-lost memoir, which Mycroft wrote mainly in the 1940s, offers a detailed account of the vagaries and complex economic vicissitudes of British film production in the 1930s. Mycroft also recalls how he selected film stories for directors Harry Lachman, E. A. Dupont and Alfred Hitchcock, and he reveals, for the first time, the true story behind Hitchcock's departure from British International Pictures. Mycroft also provides incisive portraits of British film industry captains: the charismatic Alexander Korda, C. M.
Woolf, the rising J. Arthur Rank, and above all John Maxwell, the shrewd iconoclastic Scots lawyer who built Associated British into the largest and most financially successful film corporation in pre-war Britain. The memoirs conclude with the death of Maxwell and Mycroft's fall from grace at Elstree. The volume is supplemented by four appendixes consisting of Mycroft's earlier writings on the aesthetics and business of film production, along with a filmography of over 200 films on which he worked. This memoir provides both scholars and the general reader with new and fascinating insights into the worlds of British journalism during the first two decades of the twentieth century and of British film production during the 1930s. Walter Mycroft: The Time of My Life will be of interest not only to scholars of British journalism a
Walter Mycroft (1891-1959) was a film journalist and Britain's most prolific pre-war film producer, working on over 200 films. Vincent Porter is Emeritus Professor of Mass Communications at the University of Westminster. He is the coeditor (with James Curran) of British Cinema History (1983) and coauthor (with Sue Harper) of British Cinema of the 1950s: The Decline of Deference (2003).
Part 1 Acknowledgments Part 2 Introduction Chapter 3 1. The Poet in the Pub Chapter 4 2. Critic by Chance Chapter 5 3. Journey into Films Chapter 6 4. Halfway House Chapter 7 5. Fade In Chapter 8 6. Comic Business Chapter 9 7. The Glittering Prizes Chapter 10 8. The Man Who Was Elstree Chapter 11 9. Some of My Best Friends... Chapter 12 10. The Man Who Knew Too Much Chapter 13 11. Grief Chapter 14 12. New Blood Chapter 15 13. The Captains and the Kings Chapter 16 14. The Way Is the Stars Chapter 17 15. Farewell Scene Part 18 Appendix A: Scenario Writing: Principles of Adaptation: Hints to Authors Part 19 Appendix B: Finding a New Screen Story Every Fortnight Part 20 Appendix C: Films as an Industrial Element of Entertainment: Sane Production Costs Will Triumph over British Studio Crisis Part 21 Appendix D: Shaw-and the Devil to Pay Part 22 The Filmography of Walter C. Mycroft Part 23 Index Part 24 About the Author and Editor