Ken Annakin

Active - 1947 - 1988  |   Born - Aug 10, 1914   |   Died - Apr 22, 2009   |   Genres - Comedy, Adventure, Drama, Crime

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Kenneth Annakin spent his youth in Britain, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. At various junctures, Annakin was a tax clerk, auto salesman, journalist and theatre director. And then, while serving in the RAF, Annakin's slate was wiped cleaned-literally, by a bout of amnesia. Starting life over again as an assistant cameraman, Annakin matriculated into a documentary filmmaker. In the postwar era, he directed several films specifically aimed at Britain's home market: one of the more popular of these was Holiday Camp (1947), which introduced the Huggett Family, who were spun off into their own three-film series, each of which was also directed by Annakin. Moving on to higher-budgeted efforts, Annakin co-directed Quartet (1949), and Trio (1950) two of the popular Somerset Maugham portmanteau films. He proved his mettle with huge casts and splendiferous settings with a brace of Disney-produced adventure films, The Story of Robin Hood (1954) and The Sword and the Rose (1955); later on, he helmed the popular location-filmed Disney features Third Man on the Mountain (1959) and, best of all, Swiss Family Robinson (1960). Signing on as one of three directors for The Longest Day (1962), Darryl F. Zanuck's mammoth retelling of the D-Day Invasion, Annakin entered into the "all-star epic" phase of his career, which reached its zenith with Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965). When splashy, overproduced films of this nature went out of favor in the 1970s, Annakin turned to American television, helming such made-for-TV films as Murder at the Mardi Gras (1977) and Harold Robbins' the Pirate (1978). In view of his earlier triumphs, perhaps it's better to draw a charitable veil over such later Ken Annakin productions as The Pirate Movie (1982) and The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking (1988).

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