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Overview for James A Harris
James A Harris

James A Harris


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This acclaimed theater director has made occasional forays into film--usually stage adaptations--which have met with varying degrees of success. The Suffolk native began directing while at Cambridge, and founded the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in 1957 which evolved into The Royal Shakespeare Theatre in 1961. Hall worked as both a director and managing director there until 1968. During that time, he first dipped his toe into films, directing a sequence for Sidney Lumet's "The Deadly Affair" (1967) and designing costumes for Richard Burton's "Dr. Faustus" (also 1967).

Hall began his film career in earnest in 1968, directing "Work is a Four-Letter Word," which he followed up with "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Three Into Two Won't Go" (both 1969), "Perfect Friday" (1970), "The Homecoming" (1973) from Harold Pinter's play, and "Akenfield" (1975). He also acted in Maximilian Schell's "The Pedestrian" (1974). After quite an absence, he returned to the film world with "She's Been Away" (1989), the dark "Delinquent" (1994), which he produced, wrote and directed and his first Hollywood film, the erotic thriller "Never Talk to Strangers" (1995).

Hall has hardly neglected his theater work ("If I don't do a Shakespeare a year, I get very scratchy"). From 1973-88, he was director of London's National Theatre, a post he took over from Laurence Olivier. He was also artistic director of the Glyndeborne Festival Opera from 1984-90. Hall specializes not only in Shakespeare, but in plays of Harold Pinter and Peter Schaffer, and in Mozart's operas. His TV work includes "The Wars of the Roses" (BBC, 1965), "Carmen" (PBS, 1987), "Orpheus Descending" (TNT, 1990) and "Jacob" (TNT, 1994). Hall was knighted in 1977.

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