Ken Annakin has one of the longest directing careers in British cinema. His first feature was Holiday Camp (yes, he brought us The Huggetts) and he's still plugging away trying to get another project off the ground. This is his story.
He prides himself on being a commercial rather than an arty director and in the course of the book tells us the off-screen stories of such highly enjoyable films as Miranda, Swiss Family Robinson and Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines. He doesn't shy away from the occasional turkey on his CV but explains why they didn't work out as planned.
There are several inaccuracies in the book such as Henry the Eighth having eight wives or Carmen Dillon going on from The Story of Robin Hood to design Henry V (made seven years earlier). These little slip-ups add to the charm of the book. So many film autobiographies seem over-edited, with only people some twenty-something editor thinks are famous left in. Ken Annakin has no such agenda and is as happy writing about a prop man as he is about a star. It's like listening to your favourite uncle reminisce about his life. And it's fascinating.
This is a book that wannabe directors should read. Like Annakin's career, it concentrates on the practical rather than the artistic side of the business. It makes a nice change from some of the more lurid memoirs around.
Pub: Tomahawk Press
ISBN: 0 - 953 - 1926 - 5 - 2