Karel Reisz was born in 1926 in Czechoslovakia. He came to England in 1938 as a Jewish refugee, one of the six hundred children rescued by Sir Nicholas Winton. After attending Leighton Park School, he joined the Royal Air Force towards the end of the war. Both his parents died at Auschwitz. Following his war service, he read Natural Sciences at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and began to write for film journals, including Sight and Sound. He co-founded Sequence with Lindsay Anderson and Gavin Lambert in 1947.
Reisz was a founder member of the Free Cinema documentary film movement. His first short film, Momma Don’t Allow (1955), co-directed with Tony Richardson, was included in the first Free Cinema programme shown at the National Film Theatre in February 1956.
His first feature film Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) was based on the realist novel by Alan Sillitoe, and used many of the same techniques as his earlier documentaries. It won several BAFTA awards including the… read more