Log In

Clive Donner Edit Profile

Film director

Clive Donner was a British film and theatre director.


DONNER, Clive was born on January 21, 1926 in London. Son of Alex and Deborah (nee Taffel) Donner.


His best films—Some People and Nothing But the Best—are skillful efforts to expand British conventions. The first was a refreshingly authentic picture of young people, diffident about true improvisation and restrained if compared with TV, but a modest success. The second, from a good Frederic Raphael script, is a much more finely wrought and sardonic comment on British hypocrisy, a film in the vein of Kind Hearts and Coronets. What’s New, Pussycat now looks dated and unfunny; it has always seemed a waste of Paula Prentiss, Capucine, and Romy Schneider on Sellers and O'Toole. Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush was lively, hut somehow desperate that it could be no more.

In fact, Donner flowered rather late after a dutiful preparation as an editor: The Way Ahead (44, Carol Reed); On Approval (45, Clive Brook); The Passionate Friends (48, David Lean); Madeleine (49, Lean); Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (51, Albert Lewin); Scrooge (51, Brian Desmond Hurst); The Card (52. Ronald Neame); Genevieve (54, Henry Cornelius); The Million Pound Note (53, Neame); The Purple Plain (54, Robert Parrish); and I Am a Camera (55, Cornelius).

Donner has now become essentially a TV director: he has had the chance to work with George C. Scott as Fagin and Scrooge, Ian McKellan as Chauvelin, Malcolm McDowell and Candice Bergen in Arthur the kina, and Drew Barrymore in Babes in Toylancl.


Donner looks a sad instance of a modest talent out of work in an increasingly nervous industry. Alfred the Great was not only his worst film, but an expensive Hop. No matter that he may have been compelled to take it on, and then hampered, its lack of success could he enough to damn him. It seems to show that onlv artistic personalities capable of transcending the industry can stay in work. Donner’s inventiveness is essentially sensible and effacing, so that The Caretaker was made with a self-advertised, experimental low budget. It proved a faithful reading of a play already well established.


  • Other Interests

    Classical music (particularly opera), popular music, reading, walking anywhere from the streets of London to the Australian sea shore.


Married Jocelyn Rickards in 1971.


Deborah (nee Taffel) Donner

Jocelyn Rickards