Lewis Gilbert

Lewis Gilbert

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Lewis Gilbert

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Lewis Gilbert CBE (born 6 March 1920 in London) is an English film director, producer and screenwriter.

Early life

He was the son of music hall performers, and spent his early years travelling with his parents, and watching the shows from the side of the stage. He first performed on-stage at the age of 5, when asked to drive a trick car around the stage. This pleased the audience, so this became the end of his parents' act. When travelling on trains, his parents frequently hid him in the luggage rack, to avoid paying a fare for him. His father contracted tuberculosis when he was a young man. He died aged 34, when Gilbert was seven. As a child actor in films in the 1920s and 1930s, he was the breadwinner for his family, his mother was a film extra, and he had an erratic formal education. At age 17, Gilbert had a small uncredited role in The Divorce of Lady X (1938) opposite Laurence Olivier.

He began shooting documentary films for the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, and was eventually seconded to the U.S. Air Corp film unit. His commanding officer was William Keighley, an American film director, who allowed Gilbert to take on much of his film-making work. When viewing rushes of film which he had made of airmen preparing to fly, he met Arthur Elton, who was head of the films division for the Ministry of Information, leading to him becoming a film director.

Directorial career

Gilbert made his name as a director in...
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