THE FILMS OF NOEL COWARD
       
Noel Coward's first appearance on film was as a boy with a wheelbarrow in "Hearts of the World" directed by D.W. Griffiths. "In Which We Serve", was one of his most popular wartime films. He directed with David Lean, starred and wrote the music. "Brief Encounter", an adaptation of 'Still Life' from 'Tonight at 8.30', is considered by many to be the finest film made of his work.
In this list where a video, either in NTSC or PAL format, or a DVD is known to be available a V or DVD is shown. Where a soundtrack is available this is shown as CD or Tape.
Hearts of the World 1917 V D.W. Griffiths Noel's famous first film appearance. A silent film starring Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Robert Harron, Kate Bruce & Noel Coward who was paid a £1 a day. In her autobiography, 'The Movies, Mr. Griffith and Me', Lillian Gish recalls “a darling seventeen-year-old English boy...[who] pushed the wheelbarrow toward the camera instead of away from it. I am sure that if Mr. Griffith had not been so preoccupied with such a responsible assignment, he would have perceived the boy’s extraordinary talent. The boy was Noël Coward and the film was his first.”
Easy Virtue 1927 V & DVD Alfred Hitchcock Based on the Coward play. A silent film produced by Gainbsborough Pictures of England and starring Isabel Jeans, Franklyn Dyall, Violet Farebrother, Dacia Deane, Frank Elliot, Dorothy Boyd, Robert Irvine, Eric Bransby-Williams, Ian Hunter and Enid Stamp-Taylor. First shown at the Stoll, London, March, 1928
The Queen Was in  the Parlour (also  known as 'Forbidden Love') 1927 Graham Cutts Based on the Coward play. A silent film produced by Gainbsborough Pictures of England and starring Lili Damita, Paul Richter, Harry Leichke, Rosa Richards, Klein Rogges, Trude Hesterberg.
The Vortex 1928 Adrian Brunel Another silent Gainsborough Picture, starring Dorothy Fane, Kinsey Peile, Willette Kershaw, Alan Hollis, Ivor Novello, Sir Simeon Stuart, Julie Suedo and Frances Doble. First shown at The Marble Arch Pavilion, London March, 1928.
Show of Shows  1930 Warner Bros, Vitaphone Noel Coward's song sung by Beatrice Lillie, 'The Roses Have Made Me Remember' was filmed, cut and later released as a short film.
Private Lives 1931 V Sidney Franklin Based on the Coward play with Norma Shearer and Robert Montgomery in the lead parts of Elyot and Amanda with Una Merkel and Reginald Denny in the other key roles plus Jean Hersholt and George Davis.
Tonight Is Ours 1932 Stuart Walker A talking version of 'The Queen Was in the Parlour' made by Paramount Pictures featuring Claudette Colbert, Frederic March, Paul Cavanaugh, Ethel Griffies, Arthur Byron, Alison Skipworth, Clay Clement, Warburton Gamble and Edwin Maxwell.
Cavalcade 1932 V Frank Lloyd American film of the play made by Fox Films. Starred Dianne Wynyard, Clive Brook, Una O'Conner and Herbert Mundin. Available on a video produced by MGM.
Bitter-Sweet  1933  Herbert Wilcox Made by British and Dominion films and featuring Anna Neagle. Ivy St. Helier and Kay Hammond also in the cast.
Design for Living  1933  Ernst Lubitch Frederic March and Gary Cooper lead the cast in this Paramount production with a screen adaptation by Ben Hecht. Criticism included comment on the changes in the plot and and the loss of many of Coward's wittiest lines.
The Scoundrel (Originally called 'Miracle in 49th Street') 1934 Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur Starring Noel Coward, Julie Haydon and Alexander Woollcott. Noel Coward's first major film as an actor. Won an Academy Award for Best Original Story and became a cult classic.
Les Amants Terrible 1936 Marc Allégret French version of 'Private Lives' with André Luguet and Gaby Morlay in the key roles.
Bitter Sweet 1941 V W.S. Van Dyke II Described as a musical triumph. Filled with Noel Coward's songs and harmonies of "America's Sweethearts", Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.
We Were Dancing 1942 Robert Z. Leonard Based on Noel Coward’s "Tonight at 8:30," critics called this comedy as sparking as "flat champagne." Starred Norma Shearer who made only one more film after this and retired from the screen at age 40.
In Which We Serve 1942 Noel Coward and David Lean Starring Noel and a galaxy of rising stars including Richard Attenborough, John Mills, Bernard Miles and Celia Johnson. A very popular film during this period in the middle of WW2.
This Happy Breed (107 minutes) 1944 V David Lean A star studded cast with Robert Newton, Celia Johnson, John Mills and Stanley Holloway with Kay Walsh as the wayward daughter.
Blithe Spirit 1945 David Lean Cast led by Rex Harrison and Constance Cummings and Kay Hammond as Elvira.
Brief Encounter 1946 V & DVD David Lean One of the most popular films of all time. Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson epitomising the kind of extramarital romance that only the British could endure. Telescopes the timescale of Coward's play 'Still Life' upon which it is based.
The Astonished Heart 1949 Anthony Darnborough and Terence Fisher Noel Coward plays Dr. Christian Faber and wrote the play as part of 'Tonight at 8.30'. Features Celia Johnson, Joyce Carey and Graham Payn with Michael Horden, Margaret Leighton, Alan Webb and Philip Lucas..
Meet Me Tonight 1952 Anthony Pelissier Film version of three of Coward's plays from 'Tonight at 8.30'; Red Peppers, Fumed Oak and Ways and Means. Ted Ray appears with Kay Walsh in Red Peppers; Stanley Holloway in Fumed Oak and Nigel Patrick in Ways and Means.
Around the World in Eighty Days 1956 V CD Michael Anderson Featuring Noel Coward in the part of Hesketh-Baggot in one scene in the film. Adaptation of Jules Verne's novel about a Victorian Englishman who bets that with the new steamships and railways he can do what the title says. It one many Oscars that year, but Yul Bryner won the award for Best Actor in the part Coward turned down of the King in the King and I.
Our Man in Havana  1960 Carol Reed Noel Coward as Hawthorn in this successful film. Starred with Alec Guinness plus Burl Ives, Maureen O'Hara and Ralph Richardson.
Surprise Package  1960 Stanley Donen Noel Coward as King Paval II. He sings and dances.
The Grass Is Greener  1960 Stanley Donen Features Noel Coward's songs. Stars Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr, Jean Simmonds, Robert Mitchum and Moray Walters. Produced by Universal-International.
Paris When It Sizzles 1963 V  Richard Quine Coward plays Alexander Meyerheimer in this film with parallel plots and star Audrey Hepburn. A Paris based screenwriter (William Holden) has to deliver a script in two days, after spending months living it up. He hires a temporary secretary (Audrey Hepburn) to help him finish the script, and the two find themselves acting out his ideas. The film is based on the French movie 'La Fete a Herniette'. Cameo parts for Tony Curtis, Marlene Dietrich, and the voice of Frank Sinatra.
Bunny Lake is Missing  1965 Otto Preminger Came out in 1965 it was universally panned. Coward plays the part of Wilson. The subject and moment of one of Coward's famous quotes, Keir Dullea appears.
A Matter of Innocence  1968 Guy Green Based on a Noel Coward short story, Pretty Polly Barlow. Starred Hayley Mills and Trevor Howard.
Boom  1968 Joseph Losey Based on the Tennessee Williams 'The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore'. Featured Noel Coward as 'The Witch of Capri'.
Star  1968 Robert Wise A bio pic of Gertrude Lawrence. Contains Coward songs and productions including pieces from Red Peppers, Private Lives and the songs Forbidden Fruit and Parisian Pierrot.
The Italian Job  1969 V Peter Collinson Noel Coward plays Mr. Bridger and Graham Payn, Keats .
Sidste akt  1987 Edward Fleming Danish film. Noel Coward has writing credit with Edward Fleming.
Relative Values  Premiere, 21st June 2000.  Eric Styles New film marking the Coward Centenary. Stars Julie Andrews as Felicity, Edward Atterton as Nigel, William Baldwin as Don Lucas, Colin Firth as Peter, Stephen Fry as Crestwell, Sophie Thompson as Dora Moxton (Moxie), Jeanne Tripplehorn as Miranda Frayle. An excellent comedy film.

Copyright - The Noel Coward Society - May 2001