Val Guest  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Val Guest (December 11 1911May 10, 2006) was a British film director, best known for his science-fiction films for Hammer Film Productions in the 1950s, but who also enjoyed a long, varied and active career in the film industry from the early 1930s up until the early 1980s.

Early Life and Career

He was born Valmond Maurice Grossmann in London, England. Guest's initial career was as an actor, appearing in various productions in London theatres. He also appeared in a few early sound film roles, before he gave up an acting career and moved into writing. For a time in the early 1930s he was the London correspondent for the Hollywood Reporter trade paper, before he began working on film screenplays for Gainsborough Pictures, his first being No Monkey Business in 1935.

Directing career

He wrote screenplays for the rest of the decade, as well as some film scores, before in the early 1940s becoming a director, with his debut feature in this role being Miss London Ltd. in 1943. He went on to direct, produce and script a huge number of films over the following forty years, with perhaps his best known work being on the first two Hammer Films Quatermass science-fiction adaptations in the 1950s: The Quatermass Xperiment (1955) and Quatermass 2 (1957). He also directed the cult science-fiction films The Abominable Snowman (1957) and The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961), directed and wrote the screenplay for When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970), and was one of several directors to work on the 'unofficial' James Bond film Casino Royale (1967).

In 1974 he directed the first of the Confessions of... series of sex comedy films, Confessions of a Window Cleaner. Guest's last feature film work was writing and directing The Boys in Blue in 1982, a vehicle for the then popular British comedy double act Cannon and Ball. The film was a remake of an earlier picture called Ask a Policeman, released in 1939, which Guest himself had co-written.

Other works

He also worked, albeit less extensively, in television, directing episodes of various 1970s series such as Space: 1999, The Adventurer and The Persuaders!, for the latter of which he also wrote an episode. His last professional work was as the director of several episodes of the Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense series in 1984 and 1985.

An autobiography, "So You Want to be in Pictures", was published in 2001.

He married the actress Yolande Donlan in 1954. They lived together in retirement in California.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Val Guest" 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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