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Paul Almond

Paul AlmondApril 26, 1931, Montreal


Born in 1931 and educated at McGill and Oxford, Paul Almond was one of the finest filmmakers of his generation and a prolific director and producer. He was only 23 in 1954 when he began his career in film and television. By the mid-1960s, he had directed or produced over 100 dramas (and a few documentaries) for the CBC, in series such as Festival, Quest, Playdate and Folio. Many of these films won awards and stand out in the history of indigenously produced dramas at the CBC.

At the close of the turbulent decade of the 1960s, Almond ambitiously attempted to establish a quality Canadian art cinema with the understated and highly interiorized films Isabel (1968), The Act of the Heart (1970) and Journey (1972), which all starred his wife at the time, Geneviève Bujold. Peter Harcourt wrote, "All three films are concerned with rites of passage, most particularly, with a change of consciousness of the young woman played by Bujold. Her presence grounds these films in a corporeality that exists apart from their metaphysical aspirations." At the time, these films were met with considerable critical resistance in Canada; however, Isabel won four Etrogs at the 1968 Canadian Film Awards and Almond was nominated as best director of the year by the Directors Guild of America. The Act of the Heart won five Canadian Film Awards in 1970. This unique trilogy, constitutes Almond's best work to date and is a distinctive contribution to Canadian film.

After an absence from filmmaking for almost a decade, Almond was called in to direct the ill-fated Final Assignment (1980). Since 1980, he has directed Ups and Downs (1983), Captive Hearts (1987) and The Dance Goes On (1991), which chronicled a father-son relationship and featured his son Matthew. Almond claims that his company, Quest Film Productions, is now the oldest motion picture company in Canada.

In addition to his film and television work, Almond has produced and directed several plays, by such playwrights as Henrik Ibsen, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Hailey and Shakespeare. He has also created his own adaptations of works by Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, Henry James, Somerset Maugham and T.S. Eliot, to name a few.

After 40 years, Almond returned to writing. In 1999, with Michael Ballantyne, he produced the fascinating High Hopes: Coming of Age at the Mid-Century, a collection of letters, which includes correspondence from Christopher Isherwood and Sean O'Casey. In the same year, he published his second novel, La vengeance des dieux, about an asteroid zooming toward the Earth's surface.

Film and video work includes

Night Watch, 1954 (director; producer; TV)
Sweeney Agonistes, 1954 (director; producer; TV)
On Camera series, 1954-1957 (director; producer; TV, 20 episodes)
The Return of Don Juan, CBC Summer Theatre series, 1955 (director; producer; TV)
CBC Folio series, 1955-1959 (director; producer; TV, six episodes)
The Hill, 1956 (director; writer; producer; TV)
Alternate version: 
The Hill, 1959, (director; writer; producer; TV)
Alternate version:  The Hill, 1960, (director; writer; producer; TV)

General Motors Theatre series, 1956 (director; producer; TV, two episodes)
Television Theatre series, 1956-1958 (director; producer; TV, 13 episodes)
Who Destroyed the Earth?, 1957 (director; producer; TV)
General Motors Presents series, 1958-1961 (director; producer; TV, 12 episodes)
Alfred Hitchcock Presents series, 1958-1959 (director; TV, two episodes)
RCMP series, 1959 (director; TV, three episodes )
Cabin B13, 1959, The Unforeseen series (director; producer; TV)
Shadow of a Pale Horse, 1960 (director; producer; TV)
Play of the Week, series, 1960 (director; TV, two episodes)
End of Innocence, 1960, First Person series (director; producer; TV)
Point of Departure, 1960 (director; producer; TV)
Julius Caesar, 1960, Festival ‘61 series (director; producer; TV)
Q for Quest, series, 1961–1962 (director; producer; TV, three episodes)
Peg-Leg Pirate of Sulu, 1961, Shirley Temple Hour series (director; TV)
The Dumb Waiter, 1961 (director; TV)
Festival series, 1961-1966 (director; producer; TV, 17 episodes)
A Resounding Tinkle, 1961 (director; TV)
Playdate series, 1961-1963 (director; producer; TV, six episodes)
Backfire, 1961 (director; TV)
Seven Keys to Baldpate, 1962 (director; TV)
Forest Rangers series, 1963–1965 (director; TV, 12 episodes)
The Dark Did Not Conquer, 1963 (director; writer; producer; TV)
Journey to the Centre, 1963 (director; writer; producer; TV)
The Rose Tattoo, 1964 (director; TV)
Telescope series, 1964 (director; writer; producer; TV, two episodes)
Seven-Up!, 1964 (director; writer; producer; TV)
For the People series, 1965 (director; TV)
The American Dream, 1965 (director; TV)
The Betrayal, Bob Hope Theatre, 1965 (director; producer; TV)
Wojeck series, 1966 (director; producer; TV, two episodes)
The Puppet Caravan/La roulotte aux poupées, 1967 (director; TV)
Isabel, 1968 (director; writer; producer)
The Act of the Heart, 1970 (director; writer; producer)
Journey, 1972 (director; writer; producer)
Fellowship, 1976 (director)
Every Person Is Guilty, 1979 (director; TV)
The Burning Book, 1979 (director)
Final Assignment, 1980 (director)
Kiss Me Better, 1981 (director)
Ups & Downs, 1983 (director; co-writer with Lewis Evans; producer)
Captive Hearts, 1987 (director)
The Dance Goes On, 1991 (director; writer; producer)

Note: Updated to January 2003.



Source: The Film Companion; Take One's Essential Guide to Canadian Film; The Canadian Encyclopedia
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