Crichton was a film editor in England during the '30s and worked on the Alexander Korda productions Sanders of the River, Things To Come, Elephant Boy, and The Thief of Bagdad. He began directing in 1941 with the short The Young Veterans. At Ealing he made his first feature in 1944; the following year he directed the comic chiller "The Golfing Story" in the classic horror anthology Dead of Night. Crichton reached his height in comedy, most notably with Hue and Cry, The Lavender Hill Mob, The Titfield Thunderbolt, and The Battle of the Sexes. He shifted his attention to television in the '60s, but enjoyed a cinema renaissance in 1988, directing writer/actor John Cleese's black comedy A Fish Called Wanda.