★★★★☆ UK. 3h8m. Biography / Historical. Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner. Written by James Goldman (screenplay) and Robert K. Massie (“Nicholas And Alexandra”). Cinematography by Freddie Young. Edited by Ernest Walter. Music by Richard Rodney Bennett. Starring Michael Jayston, Janet Suzman, Laurence Olivier, Tom Baker, Michael Redgrave, Jack Hawkins, Harry Andrews, Roderic Noble, Ania Marson, Lynne Frederick, Candace Glendenning, Fiona Fullerton, Irene Worth.
A partial account of the last ruling Russian monarch, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, and his wife, Tsarina Alexandra. Academy Award winner for Best Art Direction/Set Decoration and Best Costume Design. It was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Janet Suzman), Best Cinematography, Best Music, Original Dramatic Score and Best Picture.
★★★☆☆ UK. 1h16m. Comedy. Directed by Victor Hanbury, John Stafford. Written by Victor Hanbury, Frank Vosper (screenplay) and Dorothy Hope (story). Cinematography by Walter Blakeley. Edited by Edward B. Jarvis, Elmer J. McGovern. Music by Noel Gay. Starring Gertrude Lawrence, Laurence Olivier, Jill Esmond, Edmund Breon, Gibb McLaughlin, Muriel Aked.
A comedy of errors set in a divorce case. Olivier had returned to Britain after his career had faltered, following an initial move to Hollywood.
★★★★☆ UK. 2h45m. Drama. Directed by Stuart Burge. Written by William Shakespeare (“Othello”). Cinematography by Geoffrey Unsworth. Edited by Richard Marden. Music by Richard Hampton. Starring Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Joyce Redman, Frank Finlay, Derek Jacobi, Robert Lang, Kenneth Mackintosh, Anthony Nicholls, Sheila Reid, Edward Hardwicke, Michael Gambon.
Starred Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Joyce Redman, and Frank Finlay, who all received Oscar nominations, and provided film debuts for both Derek Jacobi and Michael Gambon. The film retains most of Shakespeare’s original play, and does not change the order of scenes, as do Olivier’s Hamlet and Richard III. The only major omission is the Fool’s scene, although other minor lines are cut here and there (the stage version contained more of the play than the film did).
★★★☆☆ UK. 1h20m. Comedy / Romance. Directed by Cyril Gardner. Written by Miles Malleson, Michael Powell. Cinematography by Curt Courant. Edited by Thorold Dickinson. Music by Henry Sullivan. Starring Gloria Swanson, Laurence Olivier, John Halliday, Nigel Playfair, Michael Farmer, Genevieve Tobin, Charles Cullum, Nora Swinburne, Peter Gawthorne.
Judy (Swanson) and Nicholas Randall (Olivier) are a newly married couple who agree to a marriage based on “perfect understanding.” This agreement is meant to rule out any form of jealousy. An independent production made at Ealing Studios, conceived as an attempt to revive Swanson’s career, which had suffered following the conversion to sound films.
★★★★☆ UK. 1h19m. Romance / Drama. Directed by Maurice Elvey. Written by Victor Kendall (screenplay) and Maurice Elvey (story) and Edgar Middleton (“Potiphar’s Wife”). Cinematography by James Wilson. Edited by Leslie Norman. Starring Nora Swinburne, Laurence Olivier, Norman McKinnel, Guy Newall, Donald Calthrop, Ronald Frankau, Elsa Lanchester.
A lady of royalty tries unsuccessfully to interest her chauffeur in a clandestine romance.
★★★★☆ USA. 1h57m. Romance / Drama. Directed by Robert Z. Leonard. Written by Aldous Huxley, Jane Murfin (screenplay) and Helen Jerome (story) and Jane Austen (“Pride And Prejudice”). Cinematography by Karl Freund. Edited by Robert Kern. Music by Herbert Stothart. Starring Greer Garson, Laurence Olivier, Mary Boland, Edna May Oliver, Maureen O’Sullivan, Ann Rutherford, Frieda Inescort, Edmund Gwenn, Karen Morley, Melville Cooper, Edward Ashley Cooper, Bruce Lester, E.E. Clive.
About five sisters from an English family of landed gentry who must deal with issues of marriage, morality, and misconceptions. The film was released by MGM on July 26, 1940, in the United States and was critically well received. The New York Times film critic praised the film as “the most deliciously pert comedy of old manners, the most crisp and crackling satire in costume that we in this corner can remember ever having seen on the screen.”
★★★☆☆ UK / USA. 1h55m. Comedy / Romance. Directed by Laurence Olivier. Written by Terence Rattigan (screenplay) and Terence Rattigan (“The Sleeping Prince”). Cinematography by Jack Cardiff. Edited by Jack Harris. Music by Richard Addinsell. Starring Marilyn Monroe, Laurence Olivier, Sybil Thorndike, Richard Wattis, Jeremy Spenser, Paul Hardwick, Esmond Knight, Rosamund Greenwood, Aubrey Dexter, Maxine Audley.
The film is set in London in June 1911. George V will be crowned king on 22 June and in the preceding days many important dignitaries arrive. Among those arriving are the 16-year-old King Nicholas VIII of the (fictional) Balkan country of Carpathia, with his father the widower Prince Regent, Charles (Laurence Olivier) and his maternal grandmother the widowed Queen dowager of Carpathia, considered to be inspired by King Michael of Romania, Carol II of Romania, and Queen Marie of Romania.
The British government decide that keeping Carpathia in the Triple Entente is critical during the rising tensions in Europe. They find it necessary to pamper the royals during their stay in London, and thus civil servant Northbrook (Richard Wattis) is detached to their service.
★★★☆☆ UK. 1h22m. Comedy / Mystery. Directed by Tim Whelan, Arthur B. Woods. Written by Brock Williams, Jack Whittingham, Ian Dalrymple. Cinematography by Harry Stradling Sr. Edited by Hugh Stewart. Music by Muir Mathieson. Starring Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, Valerie Hobson, George Curzon, George Merritt, Gus McNaughton, David Tree.
In September 1938, advanced British aircraft prototypes carrying experimental and secret equipment are vanishing with their crews on test flights. No one can fathom why, not even spymaster Major Hammond or his sister Kay, a newspaper reporter, who is working undercover in the works canteen at the Barrett & Ward Aircraft Company.
★★★★★ USA. 2h10m. Romance / Thriller. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Written by Robert E. Sherwood, Joan Harrison (screenplay) and Philip MacDonald, Michael Hogan (story) and Daphne du Maurier (“Rebecca”). Cinematography by George Barnes. Edited by W. Donn Hayes. Music by Franz Waxman. Starring Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier, Judith Anderson, George Sanders, Reginald Denny, Gladys Cooper, C. Aubrey Smith, Nigel Bruce.
A gothic tale shot in black-and-white. Maxim de Winter’s first wife Rebecca, who died before the events of the film, is never seen. Her reputation and recollections of her, however, are a constant presence in the lives of Maxim, his new wife and the housekeeper Mrs. Danvers.
Rebecca was theatrically released on April 12, 1940. A critical and commercial success, it received eleven nominations at the 13th Academy Awards, more than any other film that year. It won two awards; Best Picture, and Best Cinematography, becoming the only film directed by Hitchcock to win the former award.
★★★★☆ UK. 2h41m. Drama. Directed by Laurence Olivier. Written by Laurence Olivier (screenplay) and Colley Cibber, David Garrick (story) and Willilam Shakespeare (“Richard III”). Cinematography by Otto Heller. Edited by Helga Cranston. Music by William Walton. Starring Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, Claire Bloom, Cedric Hardwicke, John Gielgud, Laurence Naismith, Norman Wooland.
Depicts Richard plotting and conspiring to grasp the throne from his brother King Edward IV. In the process, many are killed and betrayed, with Richard’s evil leading to his own downfall. The prologue of the film states that history without its legends would be “a dry matter indeed”, implicitly admitting to the artistic licence that Shakespeare applied to the events of the time.
★★★☆☆ UK / USA. 1h53m. Mystery. Directed by Herbert Ross. Written by Nicholas Meyer (screenplay) and Nicholas Meyer (“The Seven-Per-Cent Solution”). Cinematography by Oswald Morris. Edited by Chris Barnes. Music by John Addison. Starring Nicol Williamson, Robert Duvall, Alan Arkin, Laurence Olivier, Charles Gray, Samantha Eggar, Vanessa Redgrave, Joel Grey, Jeremy Kemp, Jill Townsend.
Dr. John H. Watson (Robert Duvall) becomes convinced that his friend Sherlock Holmes (Nicol Williamson) is delusional — particularly in his belief that Professor James Moriarty (Laurence Olivier) is a criminal mastermind — as a result of his addiction to cocaine. Moriarty visits Watson to complain about being harassed by Holmes. Watson enlists the aid of Sherlock’s brother, Mycroft (Charles Gray), to trick Holmes into traveling to Vienna, where he will be treated by Sigmund Freud (Alan Arkin).
★★★★☆ USA. 2h42m. Drama. Directed by Michael Anderson. Written by John Patrick, James Kennaway (screenplay) and Morris West (“The Shoes Of The Fisherman”). Cinematography by Erwin Hillier. Edited by Ernest Walter. Music by Alex North. Starring Anthony Quinn, Laurence Olivier, Oskar Werner, David Janssen, Barbara Jefford, Vittorio De Sica, Leo McKern, John Gielgud, Burt Kwouk.
Cold War drama about a Russian archbishop who, after enduring life in Siberia, unexpectedly becomes a candidate for Pope.
★★★★★ UK / USA. 2h18m. Mystery / Thriller. Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Written by Anthony Shaffer (screenplay) and Anthony Shaffer (“Sleuth”). Cinematography by Oswald Morris. Edited by Richard Marden. Music by John Addison. Starring Laurence Olivier, Michael Caine.
Andrew Wyke, a successful crime fiction author, lives in a large country manor house filled with elaborate games and automata. He invites his wife’s lover, Milo Tindle, a hairdresser, to his home to discuss the situation and would like Milo to take his wife off his hands. To provide him the means to support her, Andrew suggests that Milo steal some jewelry from the house, with Andrew recouping his losses through an insurance claim.
★★★★☆ USA. 3h4m. Drama / Historical. Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Written by Dalton Trumbo (screenplay) and Howard Fast (“Spartacus”). Cinematography by Russell Metty. Edited by Robert Lawrence. Music by Alex North. Starring Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov, Tony Curtis, John Gavin, John Dall, Nina Foch, John Ireland, Herbert Lom.
Inspired by the life story of Spartacus, the leader of a slave revolt in antiquity, and the events of the Third Servile War.
★★★★☆ UK / Germany. 1h24m. Comedy / Mystery. Directed by Gustav Ucicky. Written by Karl Hartl, Walter Reisch, Benn Levy (screenplay) and Curt Goetz (“Hokuspokus”). Cinematography by Carl Hoffmann, Werner Brandes. Music by Robert Stolz. Starring Lilian Harvey, Laurence Olivier, Athole Stewart, Gillian Dean, Frank Stanmore, Felix Aylmer, Frederick Lloyd, Henry Caine.
Kitty Kellermann is put on trial for murdering her husband, a failed painter. When her counsel resigns from his mandate, the mysterious Peter Bille steps in, though it becomes apparent that he actually is not an advocate.
★★★★☆ UK. 2h10m. Drama. Directed by Peter Glenville. Written by Peter Glenville (screenplay) and James Barlow (“Term Of Trial”). Cinematography by Oswald Morris. Edited by Jim Clark. Music by Jean-Michel Damase. Starring Laurence Olivier, Simone Signoret, Sarah Miles, Terence Stamp, Hugh Griffith, Roland Culver, Dudley Foster.
Graham Weir is an alcoholic schoolteacher whose criminal record for refusing to fight during World War II has prevented him from progressing further in his teaching career. Now, years later, he is married to a very embittered wife and is a teacher in a school with many disaffected pupils. While at the school, he meets Shirley Taylor, a new girl who develops a crush on him. Graham does not realise it, but Shirley’s infatuation will lead to serious trouble, including the threat of a false sexual molestation charge.
★★★★☆ UK. 2h8m. Drama / Historical / Romance. Directed by Alexander Korda. Written by Walter Reisch, R.C. Sherriff. Cinematography by Rudolph Maté. Edited by William W. Hornbeck. Music by Miklós Rózsa. Starring Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, Alan Mowbray, Gladys Cooper, Heather Angel, Gilbert Emery, Ronald Sinclair, Norma Drury, Juliette Compton, Sara Allgood.
Set during the Napoleonic Wars, the film tells the story of the rise and fall of Emma Hamilton, dance-hall girl and courtesan, who married Sir William Hamilton, British ambassador to the Kingdom of Naples. She later became mistress to Admiral Horatio Nelson. The film was a critical and financial success, and while on the surface the plot is both a war story and a romance set in Napoleonic times, it was also intended to function as a deliberately pro-British film that would portray Britain positively within the context of World War II which was being fought at that time.
★★★☆☆ UK. 2h45m. Drama. Directed by Laurence Olivier, John Sichel. Written by Moura Budberg (screenplay) and Anton Chekhov (“Three Sisters”). Cinematography by Geoffrey Unsworth. Edited by Jack Harris. Music by William Walton. Starring Jeanne Watts, Joan Plowright, Louise Purnell, Derek Jacobi, Sheila Reid, Kenneth MacKintosh, Daphne Heard, Judy Wilson, Mary Griffiths, Ronald Pickup, Laurence Olivier, Alan Bates.
Based on the 1901 play by Anton Chekhov. The final feature film directed by Olivier. The film was based on a 1967 theatre production that Olivier had directed at the Royal National Theatre. Both the theatrical production and the film used the translation from the original Russian by Moura Budberg. The film was released in the U.S. in 1974 as part of the American Film Theatre. This was a series of thirteen film adaptations of stage plays shown to subscribers at about 500 movie theaters across the country.
★★★☆☆ USA. 1h13m. Drama / Romance. Directed by Robert Milton. Written by Bradley King, Humphrey Pearson (screenplay) and Margaret Ayer Barnes (“Westward Passage”). Cinematography by Lucian Andriot. Edited by Charles Craft. Music by Max Steiner. Starring Ann Harding, Laurence Olivier, ZaSu Pitts, Irving Pichel, Juliette Compton, Irene Purcell, Emmett King, Florence Roberts, Ethel Griffies, Bonita Granville, Don Alvarado.
Concerns a woman who falls in love and marries, but soon discovers how unpleasant her new husband is. The film marked Olivier’s second major role in the United States. It was not a commercial or critical success, and Olivier did not make another film in America until 1939 when he starred in Wuthering Heights.
★★★★☆ USA. 1h43m. Romance. Directed by William Wyler. Written by Charles MacArthur, Ben Hecht, John Huston (screenplay) and Emily Brontë (“Wuthering Heights”). Cinematography by Gregg Toland. Edited by Daniel Mandell. Music by Alfred Newman. Starring Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier, David Niven, Flora Robson, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Hugh Williams, Donald Crisp, Leo G. Carroll, Miles Mander.
Based on the 1847 novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. The film depicts only 16 of the novel’s 34 chapters, eliminating the second generation of characters.