Ivor Montagu

Active - 1926 - 1956  |   Born - Apr 23, 1904   |   Died - Jan 1, 1984   |   Genres - Drama, Spy Film, Thriller

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Film critic, author, and filmmaker Ivor Montagu devoted most of his life to his two passions: cinema and leftist politics. Following studies at the Royal College of Science, where he obtained a degree in zoology and botany, and studies at King's College, Cambridge, where he earned a master's in zoology, Montagu turned toward pursuing his interest in film. He and Sidney Bernstein established the London Film Society, the first film club devoted to showing art films and independent films in 1925. Over the subsequent years, Montagu imported films, showed them, and eventually began writing, producing, directing, and editing his own short films. He also became a film critic, the first to work at such publications as The Observer. His leftist political leanings led Montagu to a long-term friendship with Soviet director Eisenstein and for a time, Montagu traveled with the great filmmaker across Europe and into Hollywood. Later he published an account of this journey in With Eisenstein in Hollywood. For a time during the 1930s, Montagu produced a few Alfred Hitchcock films including The Thirty-Nine Steps (1935). During the Spanish Civil War, Montagu went to Spain to make propaganda films for the Republicans. Once back in England, he compiled some of that footage to make Peace and Plenty (1939). Montagu became interested in television in the late '50s, and began directing his energies there. In 1959, he was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize.

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