Star Archive

James Mason (1909 - 1984)

For the women of wartime Britain, James Mason was Heathcliff, Mr Rochester and Mr Darcy all rolled into one brooding package.

He was born in Huddersfield and educated at Marlborough and Cambridge. Though trained as an architect, he transferred his interest to the theatre and started off in rep at Aldershot in 1931. He was soon in the West End which inevitably lead to a dabble with film, though this one ended badly when he was replaced on The Private Life of Don Juan. He then joined the Gate Theatre in Dublin. He stayed there for three years, but crossed back to England occasionally for the odd film role.

His career got a boost with I Met a Murderer which he set up with his friends Roy and Pamela Kellino. The Kellinos were both well-connected in the film industry: he was a cinematographer and son of director W P Kellino, she was an actress and daughter of Isadore Ostrer chairman of Gaumont-British. The film was a modest success. They all remained friends even when Pamela divorced Roy and married James.

After a steady couple of years, he got the role that established his position as a sex symbol: The Man in Grey. In this, the first of the Gainsborough Melodramas, he was thoroughly rotten to the ladies - and they loved it. The huge international success of The Seventh Veil got Hollywood interested and he left for the States, leaving behind much criticism.

His early years in Hollywood were disappointing. For the first few years the films he made there were largely unsuccessful. His first solid hit was the Rommel biopic, The Desert Fox. However, though he remained a star, even in his most successful films he was usually just second lead such as in his Oscar nominated turn in A Star is Born. Pamela turned to journalism, becoming a noted gossip columnist; their marriage ended in 1964.

As he aged, he accepted smaller roles but rarely allowed the standard of his performance to drop. Though many of his later films are unmemorable, he never allowed himself to go down the outrageously hammy route taken by many aging actors.  

James Mason in AlibiJames Mason in AlibiJames Mason in They Met in the DarkStill from Odd Man OutPoster featuring James Mason in Odd Man Out


1935 Late Extra
1936 Twice Branded
1936 Prison Breaker
1936 Blind Man's Bluff
1936 The Secret of Stamboul
1936 Fire Over England
1937 The Mill on the Floss
1937 The High Command
1937 Catch as Catch Can
1938 The Return of the Scarlet Pimpernel
1939 I Met a Murderer
1941 This Man is Dangerous
1942 Hatter's Castle
1942 The Night Has Eyes
1942 Alibi
1942 Secret Mission
1943 Thunder Rock
1943 The Bells Go Down
1943 The Man in Grey
1943 They Met in the Dark
1944 Candlelight in Algeria
1944 Fanny by Gaslight
1944 Hotel Reserve
1945 A Place of One's Own
1945 They Were Sisters
1945 The Seventh Veil
1945 The Wicked Lady
1946 Odd Man Out
1947 The Upturned Glass
1949 Caught
1949 Madame Bovary
1949 The Reckless Moment
1949 East Side West Side
1950 One Way Street
1951 Pandora and the Flying Dutchman
1951 The Desert Fox
1952 Lady Possessed
1952 Five Fingers
1952 The Prisoner of Zenda
1952 Face to Face
1953 The Desert Rats
1953 Julius Caesar
1953 The Story of Three Loves
1953 Botany Bay
1953 The Man Between
1953 Charade
1954 Prince Valiant
1954 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
1954 A Star is Born
1956 Forever Darling
1956 Bigger than Life
1957 Islands in the Sun
1958 Cry Terror
1958 The Decks Ran Red
1959 North by Northwest
1959 Journey to the Centre of the Earth
1960 A Touch of Larceny
1960 The Trials of Oscar Wilde
1961 The Marriage Go Round
1962 The Land We Love
1962 Escape from Zahrain
1962 Tiara Tahiti
1962 Lolita
1964 The Fall of the Roman Empire
1964 Torpedo Bay
1964 The Pumpkin Eater
1965 Lord Jim
1965 The Piano Players
1965 Genghis Khan
1966 The Blue Max
1966 Georgy Girl
1967 The Deadly Affair
1967 Stranger in the House
1968 Duffy
1968 Mayerling
1969 Age of Consent
1969 The Seagull
1970 Spring and Port Wine
1970 Kill!
1970 Cold Sweat
1971 Bad Man's River
1972 A Dangerous Summer
1972 Ivanhoe
1972 Child's Play
1973 The Last of Sheila
1973 The Mackintosh Man
1974 11 Harrowhouse
1974 The Marseilles Contract
1974 The Tempest
1974 Nostro Nero in Casa Nichols
1975 Centra di Respetto
1975 La Citta Sconvolta
1975 Mandingo
1975 Autobiography of a Princess
1976 Voyage of the Damned
1976 Inside Out
1976 The Left Hand of the Law
1977 Cross of Iron
1978 The Water Babies
1978 Heaven Can Wait
1978 The Boys from Brazil
1979 Murder by Decree
1979 The Passage
1979 Bloodline
1980 North Sea Hijack
1982 Evil Under the Sun
1982 The Verdict
1983 Yellowbeard
1984 The Shooting Party

 James Mason at Amazon UK

 James Mason at Amazon US