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Cy Endfield

Cyril Raker Endfield ( November 10, 1914 - 16 April 1995), American screenwriter - film director, theatre director and sometime inventor, based in Britain from 1953.

After attending Yale University, Endfield began his career as a theatre director and drama coach, becoming an important figure in New York's progressive theatre scene. Despite this shared background, it was largely Endfield's skill as a card magician which brought him to the attention of Orson Welles, who recruited him as an apprentice for Mercury Productions (at that time based at RKO Pictures). Following the The Magnificent Ambersons debacle (which ended with the expulsion of the Mercury team from the RKO lot) Endfield signed on as a contract director at MGM, directing a wide variety of shorts (including the last films in the long-running Our Gang series), before moving on to freelance on low-budget productions for Monogram and independents.

It was with the 1950 noir The Underworld Story, an independent production released through United Artists, that Enfield first came to critical and studio attention. The film was a major leap from anything he had produced before in terms of budget and social commentary, a coruscating attack on press corruption which could equally be taken as an wider attack on the McCarthyite ideology of the times. He followed this with the film often cited as his masterpiece, The Sound Of Fury (aka Try And Get Me), a lynching thriller based on a true story. It was with these two films that Endfield's signature approach to character developed, pessimistic without being uncompassionate.

In 1951 Endfield was named as a Communist at a HUAC hearing. Unable to get work in Hollywood, he moved to Britain, slowly building up his profile from pseudonymous low-budget B-movies, often starring fellow blacklistees, to his most famous work, Zulu (1964). Even such a success as this couldn't stablise his career, however, and after a few more independent productions he withdraw from film direction in 1971.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2004.

Cy Endfield Facts

Birth NameCyril Raker Endfield
OccupationDirector, Screenwriter
BirthdayNovember 10, 1914
BirthplaceScanton, Pennsylvania, USA
Date of deathApril 16, 1995 (age 80)

Selected Filmography

Mysterious Island
De Sade
Sands of the Kalahari
Hell Drivers
The Fantastic Films of Ray Harryhausen: Legendary Science Fiction Series
The Little Ranger
The Limping Man
Auto Antics
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