Thorold Dickinson attended Keble College at Oxford, where he staged amateur theatricals. Dickinson entered films in 1925 as an assistant to Paris-based British director George Pearson. For the next decade, he functioned as editor, screenwriter, production manager and assistant director for a number of British filmmakers; he also spent a few months of 1929 in Hollywood, studying talking-picture techniques. His first solo directorial effort was High Command (1937), a slick espionage thriller starring Lionel Atwill. It was his next project, a no-nonsense documentary of the Spanish Civil War titled Spanish ABC (1937), that solidified Dickinson’s reputation. He went on to direct Gaslight (1939), a widely praised adaptation of Patrick Hamilton’s stage success Angel Street; the film was so good that it was suppressed and ordered destroyed by MGM when that studio produced its own version of Gaslight in 1944 (fortunately, Dickinson’s version has survived).
During World War II, Dickinson… read more