Her career as a star lasted the best part of twenty years and covered virtually every film genre and role. Yet now she is remembered for her brief period as costume drama villainess: British Cinema's Wicked Lady.
Lockwood was born in Karachi (some say in 1911 rather than 1916 but what's five years between friends). When the family moved back to London, she went to the Italia Conti stage school and from there to RADA. She had walk-ons in stage productions, and like most pretty West End actresses got a bit-part in a movie (Lorna Doone). However when second lead Dorothy Hyson fell ill, Lockwood was promoted and got herself a long-term contract with British Lion.
There followed a succession of ingénue roles as she slowly worked her way up the ladder, transferring to Gainsborough Studios during the making of Dr Syn. It was at Gainsborough that her career really took off. She had two smash hits with the ensemble piece Bank Holiday and the Hitchcock thriller The Lady Vanishes. This latter got her a Hollywood contract but playing support to Shirley Temple wasn't her sort of thing so she came back.
By now she had established a persona as an attractive, confident, ordinary leading lady. It took The Man in Grey to change all that. She was thoroughly rotten to nice Phyllis Calvert, sleeping with Calvert's husband James Mason and driving her to her death and in turn being whipped to death by Mason. The critics hated it, but the audience knew better.
In 1945 and 1946 she was the number one box office star but from this point on her films took a nose-dive in quality. In 1952 she moved to Herbert Wilcox' production company to see if he could do to her career what he was doing to Anna Neagle's, but he was already struggling and her film career failed.
She continued to work in the theatre and on TV, most notably in the series The Royalty (1957-58) and Justice (1971-74). She was married once to businessman Rupert Leon (1937-49). Her daughter Julia Lockwood made a few films in the late fifties. Her most prominent performance was as the teenage novelist in the comedy Please Turn Over.
|1935||The Case of Gabriel Perry|
|1935||Man of the Moment|
|1935||The Amateur Gentleman|
|1936||The Beloved Vagabond|
|1936||Irish for Luck|
|1937||The Street Singer|
|1937||Who's Your Lady Friend?|
|1937||Melody and Romance|
|1938||The Lady Vanishes|
|1939||Rulers of the Sea (U.S.)|
|1939||Susannah of the Mounties (U.S.)|
|1939||A Girl Must Live|
|1939||The Stars Look Down|
|1940||Night Train to Munich|
|1940||The Girl in the News|
|1943||The Man in Grey|
|1944||Give Us the Moon|
|1945||A Place of One's Own|
|1945||I'll Be Your Sweetheart|
|1945||The Wicked Lady|
|1947||The White Unicorn|
|1948||Look Before You Love|
|1948||The Cardboard Cavalier|
|1949||Madness of the Heart|
|1952||Trent's Last Case|
|1954||Trouble in the Glen|
|1955||Cast a Dark Shadow|
|1976||The Slipper and the Rose|
Margaret Lockwood at Amazon UK
Margaret Lockwood at Amazon US