Karel Reisz  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Karel Reisz (born July 21 1926, Ostrava, Czechoslovakia, died London, United Kingdom, November 25 2002) was one of the most important filmmakers in post–war Britain.

Reisz was a Jewish refugee, one of the 669 rescued by Sir Nicholas Winton. After attending Leighton Park School, he joined the Royal Air Force towards the end of the war, after the death of his parents at Auschwitz. After the war, he studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge, and began to write for film journals, including Sight and Sound. He co-founded Sequence with Lindsay Anderson and Gavin Lambert in 1947.

He was also a founder member of the Free Cinema documentary movement. His first short film, Momma Don't Allow, co-directed with Tony Richardson, was included in the first Free Cinema programme shown at the National Film Theatre in February 1956. Three years later, his film We Are the Lambeth Boys was a naturalistic depiction of the members of a South London boys' club, which was unusual in showing the leisure life of working-class teenagers as it was, with skiffle music and cigarettes, cricket, drawing and discussion groups. The film represented Britain at the Venice Film Festival. The BBC made two follow-up films about the same people and youth club, broadcast in 1985.

His first feature film Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) was based on a social realist novel by Alan Sillitoe, and used many of the same techniques as his earlier documentaries. In particular, scenes filmed at the Raleigh factory in Nottingham have the now familiar look of a documentary, and give the story a vivid sense of verisimilitude.

He produced This Sporting Life (1963), and directed Morgan: A Suitable Case For Treatment (1966), Isadora (1968), The Gambler (1974), Who'll Stop the Rain (1978), The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), Sweet Dreams (1985), and Everybody Wins (1990) among others, and was a patron of the British Film Institute.

In 1963 he married Betsy Blair, the former wife of American actor and singer Gene Kelly, and they remained married until Reisz's death in 2002.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Karel Reisz" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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