Karel Reisz (21 July 1926 – 25 November 2002) was a Czech-born British filmmaker who was active in post–World War II Britain, and one of the pioneers of the new realist strain in 1950s and 1960s British cinema.
Reisz was born in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia. He was a Jewish refugee, one of the 669 rescued by Sir Nicholas Winton. His father was a lawyer. He came to England in 1938, speaking almost no English, but eradicated his foreign accent as quickly as possible. After attending Leighton Park School, he joined the Royal Air Force towards the end of the war; his parents died at Auschwitz. Following his war service, he read Natural Sciences at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and began to write for film journals, including Sight and Sound. He co-founded Sequence with Lindsay Anderson and Gavin Lambert in 1947.
His first feature film Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) was based on the social-realism novel by Alan Sillitoe, and used many of the same techniques as his earlier documentaries. In particular, scenes filmed at the Raleigh factory in Nottingham have the look of a documentary, and give the story a vivid sense of verisimilitude.
He produced Anderson's This Sporting Life (1963) and directed Morgan: A Suitable Case For Treatment (1966) adapted by David Mercer from his 1962 television play. Isadora (1968), a biography of dancer Isadora Duncan, with a screenplay by (among others) Melvyn Bragg starred Vanessa Redgrave. In the following decade he made The Gambler (1974) and Who'll Stop the Rain (1978)...
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