Don Sharp

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2 Nov 1993
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Born 1921, Hobart Australia. Father cashier in the Tramways, family of seven, left Catholic public school at 16, got small office job, then into amateur theatricals. 1941 Royal Australian Air Force, discharged on medical grounds, back to the theatre. Talks about the Equity strike in Australia, went to Japan, touring the Allied camps, and from there worked his way to the UK. Shared a flat with Frank Worth, wrote a screenplay and with the encouragement of James Laurie of the BFFC [British Film Financing Corporation] managed to get his first film Ha’penny Breeze; he describes the making.


He was out of action with TB; again, thanks to James Laurie, he got a job with Group 3; talks about John Grierson, who helped him, tells how he tried to join ACT, was Second Unit Director on Conflict of Wings, also other films. Eventually got a film to direct for the CFF [Children’s Film Foundation], The Stolen Airliner; then he directed Crossroads, then followed various other assignments.


Various 2nd Unit jobs. 20th Century asked him to cover the Brussels World Fair for an Ed Sullivan Show; then a film for The War Office, Keeping the Peace, which he scripted and Directed and then The Professionals for Independent Artists; then Linda. 1961, ATV’s Ghost Squad with Donald Wolfit (good story), various other assignments, then Second Unit Director on The Fast Lady. Then Anthony Hinds asked him to do a film for Hammer – The Kiss of the Vampire which he scripted and directed (1962).


1963. It’s all Happening, another Hammer film, Devil Ship Pirates, various films then Second Unit Director for Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines. 1964: The Curse of the Fly; 1965: Harry Alan Towers [H.A.T.] The Face of Fu Manchu, then various films for H.A.T.


Various projects which never got off the ground; then Monty Berman and Baker asked him to do some of The Champions TV series; also, The Avengers. Followed by work for Westinghouse, 1969 asked to do a chase sequence for Puppet on a Chain. He talks about shooting and editing for stunts. Many more false starts.


He continues talking about Psychomania. More false starts then [the film version of] Callan made at Lee Studios, Wembley with Edward Woodward. The dubbing for this film was the first time Dolby equipment was used for that purpose. He then talks about Hennessy, a film he made starring Rod Steiger. He then goes on to talk about War in an English Country Garden (The Micronauts) [?]. Then he talks about a lot of ventures that never took off. In 1976 he made the re-make of The Four Feathers, and in 1978 the re-make of The Thirty-Nine Steps. He then backtracks to Bear Island.


Bear Island continued; various other non-starters. He then talks about A Woman of Substance.


Continues about A Woman of Substance, then Tusitala, shot in Samoa, 6 x 1hr episodes mini-series [Imdb says 3 parts] ; then, again, a series of non-starters, then Love Story; Tears in the Rain, shot at Pinewood for cable television. Then Act of Will.{TV mini-series].

Finally, Don ran out of energy and gave up.




Australian filmmaker Don Sharp began his career in 1945 as an actor in Australian theatre and cinema. Three years later, he went to London where in 1949, he became a screenwriter. By the mid-'50s Sharp had become a prolific director; he began with children's movies and graduated to movies with Hammer Films with The Kiss of the Vampire (1963), The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964) and other movies including  Psychomania (1972) and The Thity-Nine Steps (1978). He also directed dozens of television shows including The Four Feathers (1978) and A Woman of Substance (1984) . Occasionally he returned to films as a second-unit director, prior to his death at age 89 in late 2011.