Saville, Victor: Director (and Producer) Career; Filmography

Victor Saville was born on September 25, 1895

Saville directed 39 films between 1927 and 1954, and produced 36 films between 1923 and 1962.

Saville produced his first film, Woman to Woman, with Michael Balcon in 1923. After its success, he produced pictures for director Maurice Elvey, including the classic British silent Hindle Wakes (1927).

His first picture as director was The Arcadians in 1927.

In 1929 he and Balcon worked together again on a talkie remake of Woman to Woman, with Saville directing, for Balcon’s company, Gainsborough Pictures.

From 1931, as Gainsborough Pictures and the Gaumont British Picture Corporation joined forces, Saville produced comedies, musicals and dramas for Gainsborough and Gaumont-British, including the popular Jessie Matthews pictures.

In 1937, he left to set up his own production company, Victor Saville Productions, and made three pictures for Alexander Korda’s London Films at Denham studios.

As an independent producer, he purchased the film rights to A. J. Cronin’s novel The Citadel. He was persuaded to sell them to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in return for the chance to produce the film and another big-budget adaptation, Goodbye Mr Chips (1939). Both films starred Robert Donat and were a great success in the USA as well as in Britain.

When WWII broke out in 1939, Saville was in the U.S., where he produced pictures in support of the war effort, such as The Mortal Storm and Forever and a Day (1943), in which he worked for the last time with former star Jessie Matthews, and in 1945 Tonight and Every Night, based on the history of the Windmill Theatre in London.

After the War, Saville continued directing films for MGM but eventually returned to Britain. Saville acquired production rights for Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer mysteries and produced a few features, though Spillane thought that what really motivated him was to acquire the money to produce The Silver Chalice.

He produced two final films in the 1960s, The Greengage Summer (1961), adapted from the novel of the same name, and Mix Me a Person (1962).

He died on May 8, 1979 at the age of 84.

Selected filmography

1927
A Woman in Pawn

The Glad Eye

Roses of Picardy

The Arcadians, also directed

The Flight Commander

1928
Tesha, directed

1929
Kitty

Woman to Woman, directed

1930
The W Plan, directed

A Warm Corner

1931
The Sport of Kings, directed

Sunshine Susie

Michael and Mary

Hindle Wakes

1932
Love on Wheels

The Faithful Heart

1933
The Good Companions

I Was a Spy

Friday the Thirteenth

1934
Evergreen

Evensong

The Iron Duke

1935
First a Girl (1935)

The Dictator

1937
Dark Journey, directed

Storm in a Teacup, directed

1938
The Citadel

South Riding, directed

1939
Goodbye, Mr. Chips

1940
Bitter Sweet

1941
A Woman’s Face

1943
Above Suspicion

Forever and a Day, directed

1945
Tonight and Every Night, directed

1946
The Green Years, directed

1947
Green Dolphin Street, directed

1949
Conspirator, directed

1950
Kim, directed

1951
Calling Bulldog Drummond, directed

1952
24 Hours of a Woman’s Life, directed

1953
I, the Jury (only produced)

1954
The Long Wait, directed

1954
The Silver Chalice, produced and directed