Born on January 14, 1909 in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Joseph Losey graduated from Dartmouth and received a Masters at Harvard, starting as a student of medicine before transitioning to drama. He rose to prominence directing political theater in New York, studied with Bertolt Brecht in Germany, spent time in the mid-1930s studying Russian theatre in the Soviet Union, and staged the first English language version of Brecht’s Galileo on Broadway. After directing some shorts for MGM, Losey made his first feature film The Boy with Green Hair in 1947.
Soon after, Losey found himself under investigation by the House Un-American Activities Committee (he had joined the Communist Party in 1946 and had worked on the Federal Theater Project, a target of HUAC). When his name was mentioned by two witnesses in the spring of 1951 and it became clear that HUAC would try to compel his testimony, Losey left for Europe, finally settling in England in 1953. In 1954, he made his first film in that country, The Sleeping Tiger, under the pseudonym Victor Hanbury; it starred Dirk Bogarde, who would become a frequent collaborator. He used the pseudonym Joseph Walton on The Intimate Stranger (1956).
By 1960, Losey was well established in England, having directed The Criminal, starring Stanley Baker, and other films. In 1962, he directed Oliver Reed in the science fiction film The Damned and Jeanne Moreau in Eva. His next film, The Servant marked the beginning of his collaboration with Harold Pinter. Pinter and Losey went on to make Accident (1967, also starring Dirk Bogarde), which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and The Go-Between (1971), winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Other Losey films with Bogarde include King & Country (1964) and Modesty Blaise (1966). Notable Losey films from the early ‘70s include A Doll’s House (1973), starring Jane Fonda, and The Romantic Englishwoman (1975). Mr. Klein (1976) starred Alain Delon and won César Awards for Best Director and Best Film. Roads to the South (1978), Don Giovanni (1979), The Trout (1982), and Steaming (1985) followed. He died in London in 1984 at age 75, shortly after completing his last film.
Other Rialto titles by Joseph Losey:
The Criminal (1960)
Roads to the South (1978)
Contact us if you’re interested in booking any of these films.