Joseph Losey

"Film-makers as far apart as Alain Resnais and Bernardo Bertolucci recognize him as a master of the art. To them, it matters little that he has often been obliged to work with unsuitable or unworthy material. His direction of actors, his handling of camera - his mise-en-scène, in short - have triumphed over many a weak script." - Richard Roud (Cinema: A Critical Dictionary, 1980)

Joseph Losey

Director / Producer / Screenwriter
(1909-1984) Born January 14, La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Countries: UK, USA, France, Italy
Key Genres: Drama, Psychological Drama, Thriller, Romantic Drama, Film Noir, Family Drama, Psychological Thriller, Crime Drama, Short Films
Key Collaborators: Reginald Beck (Editor), Norman Priggen (Producer), Richard MacDonald (Production Designer), Gerry Fisher (Cinematographer), Dirk Bogarde (Leading Actor), Reginald Mills (Editor), Alexander Knox (Leading Character Actor), Stanley Baker (Leading Actor), Harold Pinter (Screenwriter/Character Actor), Evan Jones (Screenwriter), John Heyman (Producer), John Dankworth (Composer)

"Joseph Losey's Hollywood career ended in 1951 after five films. He was named as a communist in 1951, and moved to England, where he worked for the rest of his life. Not until 1956, with his film Time Without Pity (1957), was he able to use his real name; the arm of the blacklist was long. With the exception of The Boy with the Green Hair (1948), Losey's U.S. films were all examples of film noir, the domain where the Hollywood left-wing excelled in its critique of an alienated and alienating society, where fate was economic and not mere bad luck... Sadly, from 1962 on, Losey's work became self-conscious and self-indulgent but delighted those who had understood nothing of his earlier movies. Only the exemplary King & Country (1964) and The Go-Between (1970) reach the level of his finest film noirs." - Reynold Humphries (501 Movie Directors, 2007)
"Like many directors, Losey seems more effective when he transcends conventions than when he avoids them altogether. Genre movies give him the distancing he needs to writhe expressively on the screen. By contrast, movies about Life and Time and The World seem to make him relatively subdued, functional, and impersonal." - Andrew Sarris (The American Cinema, 1968)
"A victim of the McCarthy witch-hunts, Joseph Losey, who made several taut movies in Hollywood, was forced into exile in England, where he became a sharp observer of the social mores of his new home... He became part of the "new realism" movement of British cinema, although he developed a more baroque visual style using elaborate camera movements, shock angles, and dramatic set designs." - Ronald Bergan (Film - Eyewitness Companions, 2006)
"Joseph Losey's career spanned five decades and included work in both theater and film. The early years of his life as a director were spent in the very different milieus of New Deal political theater projects and the paranoia of the Hollywood studio system during the McCarthy era. He was blacklisted in 1951 and left America for England where he continued making films, at first under a variety of pseudonyms. His work is both controversial and critically acclaimed, and Losey has long been recognized as a director with a distinctive and highly personal cinematic style." - Janet E. Lorenz (The St. James Film Directors Encyclopedia, 1998)
"Shadowy figures moving through an indistinct landscape describe the best films of Losey. He creates atmospheres of paranoia, fear, alienation, and disillusionment like nobody else in cinema today." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
"Films can illustrate our existence... they can distress, disturb and provoke people into thinking about themselves and certain problems. But NOT give the answers." - Joseph Losey
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
The Lawless (1949), The Prowler (1951) ✖︎, The Sleeping Tiger (1954)
Recommended
The Boy with Green Hair (1948), The Big Night (1951), The Criminal (1960), The Servant (1963) , Accident (1967)
Worth a Look
M (1951) ✖︎, Finger of Guilt (1956), The Damned (1962), Eva (1962), The Go-Between (1970), Mr. Klein (1977), Don Giovanni (1979)
Approach with Caution
Pete-Roleum and His Cousins (1939), A Gun in His Hand (1945), Time Without Pity (1957), Modesty Blaise (1966), Boom! (1968), Secret Ceremony (1968), Figures in a Landscape (1970), The Assassination of Trotsky (1972)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films ✖︎ 1,000 Noir Films
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    Accident
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