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Bower, Dallas (1907-1999)

Producer, Director

Main image of Bower, Dallas (1907-1999)

Now most famous as initiator and associate producer of the wartime success, Henry V (d. Laurence Olivier, 1944), Dallas Bower (born in London on 25 July 1907) had a long career as sound recordist, from 1927, and as pioneer TV producer-director with the BBC TV Service 1936-39. In the latter capacity, he produced operas, ballets, revues, and plays, including some major Shakespearean productions. On screen, he had acted as associate producer to Paul Czinner on Escape Me Never (1935) and As You Like It (1936).

He was commissioned in the Royal Corps of Signals in 1939, was executive producer of the Ministry of Information's Films Division (1940-42), and ensured the interest first of Filippo Del Giudice and then of the Rank Organisation in backing Henry V. Bower had hoped to direct but Olivier chose to do so as well as to star, and in the intervening years Bower's contribution (for instance, it was he who brought composer William Walton into the venture) has been undervalued.

In 1934, he directed his first film, Path of Glory and, postwar, he directed versions of Alice in Wonderland (UK/Fr/US, 1949, combining puppets and live action) and The Second Mrs Tanqueray (1952), two minor US films, and wrote the screenplay for an eight-part children's serial, Mystery in the Mine. In 1936, he wrote the book, Plan for Cinema.

Bower, Dallas, Plan for Cinema (1936)
McFarlane, Brian, 'Dallas Bower: The Man Behind Olivier's Henry V', in Shakespeare Bulletin, Winter 1994.

Brian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of British Film

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Selected credits

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Arthurian swashbuckler starring later Dr Who companion William Russell

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