Robert Hamer

by |
07/28/2008 9:00 AM |

Robert Hamer was a British director active, primarily at Ealing Studios, from the postwar 40s to his 1963 death, from pneumonia, at age 52. (He was apparently a world-class souse, which may have had something to do with the pneumonia.) Starting out as an editor, assistant director and ghost-director, he helmed eight features (not counting his debut, a contribution to the 1945 horror anthology Dead of Night), and probably would have made more if he had gotten along better with his studio bosses and, later, financiers.

He’s most famous (though grudgingly, as he felt it overshadowed his other work) for the marvelous Kind Hearts and Coronets and Coronets (in which Dennis Price, ninth in line for a dukedom, kills off the eight heirs ahead of him, all played by Alec Guinness), which plays on Tuesday at BAM, as part of a week of Hamer. Tonight is his compromised (it was taken away from him by MGM) Du Maurier adaptation The Scapegoat, from late in his career; on Wednesday is the G.K. Chesterton mystery Father Brown (with Coronets‘ Guinness and Joan Greenwood); closing things out on Thursday is the rationing-era kitchen sink noir It Always Rains on Sunday, rereleased to acclaim at Film Forum earlier this year.