Ken Annakin

A Gentleman and a Filmmaker


His career in feature films followed early experience making documentaries, he made his fiction film debut in 1947 with the Rank Organisation. The following year he moved to Gainsborough Pictures to direct three films about the Huggetts, a working class family living in suburban England. Annakin became known for a series of Walt Disney adventures including The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men (1952), The Sword and the Rose (1953) and Swiss Family Robinson (1960).

He was later associated with another American producer, Darryl F. Zanuck, when he was hired to direct the British segments in The Longest Day (1962). As head of the 20th Century-Fox Studio, Zanuck endorsed Annakin’s most ambitious project Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965). Annakin also directed the big-scale war film Battle of the Bulge (also 1965) for the Warner Brothers studio.

However, some of Annakin’s better received films are smaller-scale comedies and dramas, including his episodes in Quartet (1948) and Trio (1950), based on Somerset Maugham’s stories, Hotel Sahara (1951), Across the Bridge (1957), Crooks Anonymous (1962), The Fast Lady (1963) and The Informers (1963).

Annakin’s last completed film was The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking (1988), Ghenghis Khan (1992) was not completed. He died on 22 April 2009, the same day as Jack Cardiff, who had been his cinematographer on the 1979 film The Fifth Musketeer.

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