Star Archive

Ken Annakin (1914 - 2009)

Ken Annakin was proud of his reputation as a commercial rather than an arty director. Though few of his works feature in lists of the greatest films ever made he managed to spend forty years making some of the most popular and successful films of his era. He is king of Bank Holiday telly.

He was born in Beverley, the son of a surveyor. After leaving grammar school he spent four years working in a tax office. A lucky win on the Derby gave him enough money for a return ticket to New Zealand and he took off on a trip of a lifetime. When he came back he was determined not to go back to the Inland Revenue, so he took a succession of jobs until the war started. A near miss with a bomb took him out of the RAF and into propaganda. 

He started at Verity Films, the documentary unit run by Sidney and Muriel Box. He made about a dozen short documentaries (none of them classics) and when the Boxes moved to Gainsborough at the end of the war, so did he.

His first feature film as director was Holiday Camp, the popular success that brought the Huggett family to the screen. He directed the other three films in the Huggetts series but also found time for several other pictures including Miranda.

His output in the 50s was fairly standard, but he did make a valuable connection with Disney which lead to one of his greatest successes: the evergreen family favourite Swiss Family Robinson. From there is was a small stretch to some of the best of those all-star epics the 60s were so fond of.

Though his career slowed down in the 70s, he kept busy. He moved to Los Angeles and continued to devise new projects right up until his death including writing an autobiography So You Wanna Be a Director?

Still from Holiday CampStill from Here Come the HuggettsThe cast post for The Huggetts Abroad


1946 Holiday Camp
1947 Broken Journey
1948 Miranda
1948 Here Come the Huggetts
1948 Quartet (co.)
1949 Vote for Huggett
1949 Landfall
1949 The Huggetts Abroad
1950 Trio (co.)
1950 Double Confession
1951 Hotel Sahara
1952 The Planter's Wife
1952 The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men
1952 The Sword and the Rose
1954 The Seekers
1954 You Know What Sailors Are
1955 value for Money
1956 Loser Takes All
1956 Three Men in a Boat
1957 Across the Bridge
1958 Nor the Moon by Night
1959 Third Man on the Mountain
1960 Swiss Family Robinson
1961 The Hellions
1961 Very Important Person
1962 The Longest Day (co.)
1962 Crooks Anonymous
1962 The Fast Lady
1965 The Informers
1964 Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines
1965 Battle of the Bulge
1966 The Long Duel
1967 The Biggest Bundle of Them All
1969 Monte Carlo or Bust
1972 Call of the Wild
1974 Paper Tiger
1977 The Fifth Musketeer
1980 Cheaper to Keep Her
1982 The Pirate Movie
1986 The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking

 Ken Annakin at Amazon UK

 Ken Annakin at Amazon US