John, 7th Lord Brabourne
In 1958, John produced the film “Harry Black and the Tiger”, which starred Stewart Granger (1913-1993), which was followed in 1960 by “Sink the Bismarck!” - the story of the Royal Navy’s search for the Nazi German’s battleship during 1941, which starred Kenneth More (1914-1982). The fact that his father-in-law (Mountbatten) was Chief of the Defence Staff, is said to have helped John achieve both authenticity with the full co-operation of the Admiralty. Subsequent films included "Damn The Defiant!" in 1962 starring Sir Dirk Bogarde (1921-1999) and Sir Alec Guinness (1914-2000) and "Othello" starring Sir Laurence Olivier, later Lord Olivier (1907-1989) in 1965. John's first Oscar nomination was in 1969 for "Romeo & Juliet" directed by Franco Zeffirelli (b.1923) which starred Leonard Whiting (b.1950) and Olivia Hussey (b.1951).
John bought a copy of “A Passage to India” by E.M. Forster (1879-1970) in 1957 to while away the long journey to Mysore, where he was filming “Harry Black and the Tiger”. After reading it, he realised - he later recalled, that this was "the film I really wanted to make", and upon his return to London he wrote several letters to Forster. In 1961, the two men met, although no formal agreement was ever made. Forster died in 1970, but King's College, Cambridge (which owned the rights to all Forster's books) took a dim view of the film world but for 10 years John wrote an annual letter to the Provost, until he was finally told that the rights were available. The subsequent film in 1984, directed by Sir David Lean (1908-1991) and starred Dame Peggy Ashcroft (1907-1991), Sir Alec Guinness (1914-2000) and Judy Davis (b.1955) was a meticulous and epic study of the tensions between the Indians and the colonial British in the 1920s and won two Oscars, and earned nine other Oscar nominations - John, 7th Lord Brabourne himself was nominated in the Best Picture category.
Film poster for "Harry Black and the Tiger"
Film poster for "Sink The Bismark!"
Film poster for "A Passage to India"
ABOVE: John, 7th Lord Brabourne (still recovering from injuries from the explosion)
with fellow producer Richard Goodwin (centre) and director
on the set of the 1980 film "The Mirror Crack'd"
RIGHT: John, 7th Lord Brabourne on set
Patricia (left) with John, 7th Lord Brabourne at a film premiere
Film poster for "Damn The Defiant!"
During the 1970s and 1980s, John produced several star studded films based on the detective novels by Dame Agatha Christie (1890-1976) with a cavalcade of film stars including Sir Peter Ustinov (1921-2004), James Mason (1909-1984), Mia Farrow (b.1945), Dame Angela Lansbury (b.1925), Dame Maggie Smith (b.1934), Dame Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011), Tony Curtis (1925-2010), Rock Hudson (1925-1985) and Bette Davis (1908-1989). Films included "Murder on the Orient Express", "Death on the Nile", "Evil under the Sun" and "The Mirror Crack'd" - which was made in 1980 whilst he was still suffering from injuries sustained in the explosion which killed Mountbatten, his father-in-law.
John's last film was the 1987 version of "Little Dorrit" which starred Sir Alec Guinness (1914-2000), Sir Derek Jacobi (b.1938) and Joan Greenwood (1921-1987).