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Box, Betty (1920—)

Box, Betty (1920—)

British film producer. Name variations: Betty Rogers. Born on September 25, 1920, in Beckenham, Kent, England; sister of producer Sydney Box; sister-in-law of writer-directorMuriel Box ; married Peter Rogers (a director-writer), in 1949.

Filmography—as producer:

The Seventh Veil (1945); The Years Between (1946); Dear Murderer (1947); When the Bough Breaks (1947); Miranda (1948); The Blind Goddess (1948); Vote for Huggett (1948); Here Come the Huggetts (1948); Don't Ever Leave Me (1949); The Huggetts Abroad (1949); So Long at the Fair (1950); The Clouded Yellow (1950); Appointment with Venus (1951); The Venetian Bird (1952); A Day to Remember (1953); Doctor in the House (1954); Mad About Men (1954); Doctor at Sea (1955); Checkpoint (1956); Iron Petticoat (1956); Doctor at Large (1957); Campbell's Kingdom (1958); A Tale of Two Cities (1958); Carve Her Name With Pride (1958); The Wind Cannot Read (1958); The 39 Steps (1959); Conspiracy of Hearts (1960); No Love for Johnnie (1961); No, My Darling Daughter (1961); A Pair of Briefs (1961); The Wild and the Willing (1962); Doctor in Distress (1963); Hot Enough for June (1964); High Bright Sun (1965); Deadlier Than the Male (1966); Doctor in Clover (1966); Nobody Runs Forever (1968); Some Girls Do (1969); Doctor in Trouble (1970); Percy (1970); The Love Ban (1972); Percy's Progress (1973); It's Not the Size that Counts (1974).

Dubbed "Miss Box Office" by the British press, Betty Box was one of the most prolific and commercially successful producers in the history of British cinema. She was trained as a commercial artist but developed a taste for motion pictures while working as a "tea girl" at Gainsborough Studios. Her brother, producer Sydney Box, was engaged in the financial reorganization of a failing production company called Verity Films. Within a year, Sydney transformed Verity from near bankruptcy to the largest documentary production company in Britain. His wife Muriel Box directed many of the documentaries, and Sydney put his sister Betty, who began with the company in 1940, in charge of several filmmaking units. Betty Box had produced close to 200 British propaganda films by war's end.

When Box returned to Gainsborough Studios after the war, it was as a full-fledged producer with a reputation as a shrewd executive. She launched her first feature film, The Seventh Veil (written by her sister-in-law Muriel), in 1945. In 1947, Betty produced Dear Murderer with a script co-written by Muriel, Sydney, and Peter Rogers. Though the film proved only a semi-successful adaptation of a play, Peter Rogers had cast his fate with "The Box Team" as Betty, Muriel and Sydney were often called. Betty and Peter were married in 1949.

The following year, Box began what would be her most important professional collaboration. Beginning in 1950, her work with the

British director Ralph Thomas yielded more than 20 years of lightweight, skillfully executed, and commercially successful movies. Winning popular success, though not critical recognition, the Box-Thomas team primarily entertained a middle-class English audience that was anxious to forget their everyday cares. Her three decades of filmmaking earned Betty Box, along with Ealing Studios' Michael Balcon, consideration as one of Britain's two dominant early postwar feature producers.

sources:

Barr, Charles. International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers: Writers and Production Artists. Vol 4. Edited by Samantha Cook. Detroit, MI: St. James Press, 1993.

Heck-Rabi, Louise. Women Filmmakers: A Critical Reception. London: Scarecrow Press, 1984.

Deborah Jones , Studio City, California

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