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Knight, Esmond (1906-1987)


Main image of Knight, Esmond (1906-1987)

Near-blindness suffered in naval action early in WW2 scarcely disturbed Esmond Knight's progress from handsome romantic lead to solid character actor; indeed it arguably gave extra depth to roles like the Village Idiot in A Canterbury Tale (1944) - in which he also played a soldier and narrated the Chaucerian Prologue - and the Holy Man in Black Narcissus (1947). These were two of the many films he made for Michael Powell between his screen debut in 77 Park Lane (1931) and The Boy who Turned Yellow (1972); his talismanic status for Powell is confirmed by his casting as the artfully-named Pinewood director Arthur Baden in Peeping Tom (1960).

Other notable roles include the young Johann Strauss in Hitchcock's Waltzes from Vienna (1933), Fluellen in Henry V (d. Laurence Olivier, 1944), and the father, alongside his own wife Nora Swinburne, in Renoir's The River (US, 1951).

Esmond Knight, Seeking the Bubble, 1942.

Charles Barr, Encyclopedia of British Film

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Thumbnail image of Arsenal Stadium Mystery, The (1939)Arsenal Stadium Mystery, The (1939)

Very entertaining football-based comic thriller

Thumbnail image of Black Narcissus (1947)Black Narcissus (1947)

Remarkably passionate melodrama set in a Himalayan convent

Thumbnail image of Boy Who Turned Yellow, The (1972)Boy Who Turned Yellow, The (1972)

Whimsical children's film that marked Powell and Pressburger's swan song

Thumbnail image of Canterbury Tale, A (1944)Canterbury Tale, A (1944)

Weird and fascinating tale of modern-day pilgrims in WWII

Thumbnail image of Contraband (1940)Contraband (1940)

Atmospheric wartime Powell and Pressburger spy thriller

Thumbnail image of End of the River, The (1947)End of the River, The (1947)

Brazil-based melodrama starring Sabu as a young man accused of murder

Thumbnail image of Gone to Earth (1950)Gone to Earth (1950)

Rural melodrama of a young woman pursued by predatory men.

Thumbnail image of Halfway House, The (1944)Halfway House, The (1944)

Unusual cross between ghost story and WWII propaganda film

Thumbnail image of Hamlet (1948)Hamlet (1948)

Laurence Olivier's multi-Oscar-winning Shakespeare adaptation

Thumbnail image of Henry V (1944)Henry V (1944)

Laurence Olivier turns Shakespeare into rousing propaganda

Thumbnail image of Peeping Tom (1960)Peeping Tom (1960)

Notorious horror film which all but ended Michael Powell's career

Thumbnail image of Red Shoes, The (1948)Red Shoes, The (1948)

Powell and Pressburger's beautiful and delirious ballet film

Thumbnail image of Richard III (1955)Richard III (1955)

Laurence Olivier's definitive version of Shakespeare's great history play

Thumbnail image of Silver Fleet, The (1943)Silver Fleet, The (1943)

WWII propaganda film set among the Dutch resistance

Thumbnail image of Waltzes From Vienna (1933)Waltzes From Vienna (1933)

Hitchcock musical comedy (!) about the Viennese waltz king Johann Strauss II

Thumbnail image of A For Andromeda (1961)A For Andromeda (1961)

BBC sci-fi series co-starring a young Julie Christie

Thumbnail image of Antony and Cleopatra (1981)Antony and Cleopatra (1981)

BBC Television Shakespeare adaptation

Thumbnail image of King Lear (1983)King Lear (1983)

Laurence Olivier's farewell to screen Shakespeare

Thumbnail image of Parachute, The (1968)Parachute, The (1968)

David Mercer's imaginative look at Germany between the wars

Thumbnail image of Romeo and Juliet (1978)Romeo and Juliet (1978)

BBC Television Shakespeare version of the classic doomed romance

Thumbnail image of Troilus and Cressida (1981)Troilus and Cressida (1981)

BBC Television Shakespeare adaptation

Thumbnail image of Voyage Round My Father, A (1982)Voyage Round My Father, A (1982)

John Mortimer's fine play about his relationship with his blind father

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