Four of Somerset Maugham’s short stories are brought to the screen with each introduced by the author himself. In the first story, The Facts of Life, a young man with great potential on the tennis courts goes to Monte Carlo and soon finds himself doing the exact opposite of what his father recommended. In The Alien Corn, an aspiring pianist devotes himself to perfecting his artistic skills but finds he likely hasn’t the talents to reach the heights he so desperately craves. In The Kite, a young man who lives at home and loves kite flying goes against his overbearing mother’s wishes and marries the girl he’s been dating. He’s soon back home, much to his mother’s delight, but re-considers when his wife takes up a new hobby. In the final chapter The Colonel’s Lady, a middle-aged man is shocked to learn that his somewhat dowdy wife has written a collection of racy poems and is now a best-selling author. —IMDb
Ken Annakin directed four motion pictures for Disney, including the live-action classic “Swiss Family Robinson” in 1960. A director of epic proportions, Ken lent his vision and precision to realizing “Swiss Family Robinson,” which was considered one of Disney’s most lavish films at the time, costing more than $4 million to create.
Shot on location on the Caribbean island of Tobago over a 22-week period, a menagerie of exotic animals, as well as actors, were cast in the movie, including elephants, ostriches, tigers, and more. In his recently published autobiography “So You Wanna Be a Director?,” Ken recalled Walt Disney suggesting a scene with a tiger. Ken hesitated, however, based on a previous experience directing a tiger and suggested a lion instead.
“Oh-ho,” Walt said. “At last we’ve found something Ken’s afraid of. If you’re scared to film the tiger, I’ll come out with a sixteen millimeter camera and shoot it myself!”
The tiger stayed in the picture.
A cinematographer turned director, Arthur Crabtree enjoyed a decade and a half as a successful filmmaker, most of his best work in the fields of melodrama, thrillers, and chillers. Born in 1900, he entered the movie business at British International Pictures in the early 1930s, where his work behind the camera was restricted to ultra-low-budget quota quickies, including the Michael Powell-directed The Love Test (1935). At Gainsborough Studios from 1936, he developed a reputation as a fast, very efficient lighting cameraman, and most of his work across the end of the 1930s and the early 1940s was confined to the company’s bread-and-butter pictures, such as the Will Hay comedies, all movies that were immensely popular in England and guaranteed profit-producers, but hardly the kind of films to give a photographer opportunities for notable quality or inventiveness. By the mid-‘40s, however, amid the exigencies of the Second World War, he had moved up to the studio’s front ranks with a run… read more
London-born Harold French made his name on the stage, both as an actor and director. He crossed over to films, making his acting debut in 1920. He became a director shortly before the beginning of World War II, debuting with The Cavalier of the Streets (1937), and made a well-received adaptation of A.E.W. Mason’s thriller, Secret Mission (1942). He didn’t score again until 1948, with My Brother Jonathan (1948). Known more for his romantic dramas and comedies, French switched to a period action piece, Rob Roy: The Highland Rogue (1953). He directed his last film, The Man Who Loved Redheads (1955) in 1955 and went back to writing. Toward the end of his career he returned to directing in the theater. While he may not have been classified among the top-ranked British directors, he nevertheless turned out many well-made, entertaining films over his 20-year-plus career. —IMDb