Three short stories are introduced by author W. Somerset Maugham in the second of his anthology film trilogy. In The Verger, a church verger of seventeen years is fired by his new straight-laced vicar when it’s discovered that he cannot read or write. Forced to make life-altering decisions, the life-long bachelor proposes to his landlady and becomes an entrepreneur. In Mr. Know-All an obnoxiously pushy and irrepressibly boorish dealer in jewelry alienates all his fellow passengers on an ocean cruise despite his cheerful nature and generosity, but later is sensitive enough to realize that sacrificing his ego at a key moment is important to a woman’s happiness. The Sanatorium revolves around the lives of tuberculosis patients at an exclusive Scottish sanatorium including a pair of doomed lovers who choose quality over quantity of life. —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.
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