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Encyclopedia > Terence Rattigan
Terence Rattigan — British Playwright

Sir Terence Mervyn Rattigan (June 10, 1911November 30, 1977) was one of England's most important 20th century dramatists. He was born in London of Irish Protestant extraction and educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Oxford, and his work to some extent reflects this privileged and intellectual background. Image File history File links Terence_Rattigan. ... Image File history File links Terence_Rattigan. ... June 10 is the 161st day of the year (162nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1911 (MCMXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Saturday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... November 30 is the 334th day of the year (335th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Also: 1977 (album) by Ash. ... Motto (French) God and my right Anthem No official anthem - the  United Kingdom anthem God Save the Queen is commonly used England() – on the European continent() – in the United Kingdom() Capital (and largest city) London (de facto) Official languages English (de facto) Unified  -  by Athelstan 927 AD  Area  -  Total 130... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999... A dramatist is an author of dramatic compositions, usually plays. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... It has been suggested that Houses of Harrow School be merged into this article or section. ... College name The College of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity and Sir Thomas Pope (Knight) Named after The Holy Trinity Established 1555 Sister College Churchill College President Sir Ivor Roberts KCMG MA JCR President Richard Appleton Undergraduates 298 MCR President Andrew Ng Graduates 105 Homepage Boatclub See also Trinity...


Life and career

Success as a playwright came early, with the light comedy French Without Tears in 1936, set in a crammer. Rattigan's determination to write a more serious play produced After the Dance (1939), a fine satirical social drama about the 'Bright Young Things' of the 1920s and their failure of political engagement in the darkening political climate of the 1930s. Unfortunately the war itself scuppered the play's chances of a long run. Rattigan would alternate between comedies and dramas, and after the war, a string of dramas made his name as one of the major playwrights of the day: The Winslow Boy (1946), The Browning Version (1948), The Deep Blue Sea (1952), Adventure story which was written about Alexander the Great and Separate Tables (1954). French Without Tears is a comic play written by Terence Rattigan in 1936. ... Cram schools (also known as crammers) are specialized schools that train their students to meet particular goals, most commonly to pass the entrance examinations of high schools or universities. ... Bright Young Things is a 2003 movie directed by Stephen Fry; the film represents the directorial debut for the British actor and presenter. ... The Winslow Boy is an English 1946 play by Terence Rattigan based on an actual incident in the Edwardian era, which took place at the Royal Naval College, Osborne House. ... Terence Rattigans play, The Browning Version, was first performed on September 8, 1948 at the Phoenix Theatre, London, in a joint performance with Harlequinade. ... The Deep Blue Sea (1952) is a play by Terence Rattigan. ... Separate Tables is a 1958 film, based on the play by Terence Rattigan and directed by Delbert Mann. ...

Rattigan believed in craftsmanship, structure, and his plays find their emotions in the depths of subtext and formal organisation. This all became very old-fashioned after 1956 when John Osborne's Look Back in Anger announced a new kind of emotional explicitness and intensity. Rattigan, like many other writers of his generation, suffered an almost immediate eclipse, falling into critical disfavour. Rattigan was not a thick-skinned writer and the decline in his reputation hit at his confidence. He retaliated in churlish interviews, and ill-advised comments in the plays, and in doing so he turned himself into his enemies' caricature of him: a conservative, old-fashioned, play-carpenter with no sympathy or understanding of the modern world. In fact, he was none of these things, he publicly supported Joe Orton and the Liberal Party, and some of the better work of the last twenty years of his life, like Ross, Man and Boy, In Praise of Love, and Cause Célèbre, which stand up with the finest of his other work. Look Back in Anger (1956) is a John Osborne play and 1958 movie about a love triangle involving an intelligent but disaffected young man (Jimmy Porter), his upper-middle-class, impassive wife (Alison), and her snooty best friend (Helena Charles). ... Joe Orton Joe Orton (Born: John Kingsley Orton 1 January 1933, Leicester, England. ... This article is about the historic Liberal Party. ... Ross is a 1960 play by British playwright Terence Rattigan. ... Man and Boy is a play by Terence Rattigan. ...

He was homosexual, with a string of lovers but no long-term partners. It has been said that most of his work is autobiographical, containing many coded references to his sexuality and the issues it raised in a society in which he was forced to keep this part of himself secret from all but the closest friends. There is certainly some truth in this, but it risks being crudely reductive, in, for example, the repeated (and unfounded) claim that Rattigan originally wrote The Deep Blue Sea as a play about male lovers, turning into a heterosexual play at the last minute. Rattigan's female characters are in fact finely drawn as female and are in no sense 'men in drag'. Since its coinage, the word homosexuality has acquired multiple meanings. ... The Deep Blue Sea (1952) is a play by Terence Rattigan. ...

He was diagnosed as having leukemia in 1962 and recovered two years later, but again fell ill in 1968. He disliked the Swinging Britain of the 1960s and moved abroad, living for the rest of the sixties in Bermuda, and living off lucrative, but forgettable screenplays (for a time he was the highest-paid screenwriter in the world). He was knighted in the early seventies and moved back to Britain where he experienced a minor revival in his reputation before his death from bone cancer in 1977 at the age of 66. Leukemia or leukaemia (see spelling differences) is a cancer of the blood or bone marrow and is characterized by an abnormal proliferation (production by multiplication) of blood cells, usually white blood cells (leukocytes). ... Swinging, sometimes referred to as the swinging lifestyle, is non-monogamous sexual activity, treated much like any other social activity, that can be experienced as a couple. ... A sarcoma is a cancer of the bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue. ...

Fifteen years after his death, largely through a magnificent revival of The Deep Blue Sea, at the Almeida Theatre, London, directed by Karel Reisz, Rattigan came to be seen as one of the century's finest playwrights, an expert choreographer of staged emotion, an anatomist of human emotional pain. A string of successful revivals follows. Most recently, in 2005, Man and Boy was revived at the Duchess Theatre, London, with David Suchet as Gregor Antonescu. The UK's Chichester Festival Theatre revived his last play In Praise Of Love as part of its 2006 summer season, and the Royal Exchange, Manchester, offered a well-received Separate Tables directed by Sarah Frankcom. His play on the last days of Nelson, A Bequest to the Nation was revived on Radio 4 for Trafalgar 200. It starred Janet McTeer as Lady Hamilton, Kenneth Branagh as Nelson, and Amanda Root as Lady Nelson. The Deep Blue Sea (1952) is a play by Terence Rattigan. ... Founded in 1980, the Almeida Theatre has become one of the key theatres in London. ... Karel Reisz (born 1926, Ostrava, Czechoslovakia, died London, United Kingdom, 2002) was a Jewish refugee who became one of the most important film-makers in post war Britain. ... Man and Boy is a play by Terence Rattigan. ... David Suchet OBE (born May 2, 1946) is an English actor best known for his television portrayal of Agatha Christies Hercule Poirot in the television series Agatha Christies Poirot. ... Chichester Festival Theatre is one of the UKs flagship theatres with an international reputation for creating magical live performances. ... Separate Tables is a 1958 film, based on the play by Terence Rattigan and directed by Delbert Mann. ... Lord Nelson The Right Honourable Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, KB (September 29, 1758 – October 21, 1805) was a British admiral who won fame as a leading naval commander. ... The mayor of Penzance taking part in the re-enactment of the announcement of the death of Nelson from the Union Hotel. ... Janet McTeer (8 May 1961-) is a British actor. ... Kenneth Charles Branagh (b. ... Amanda Root is a British actress (born 1963 in Essex), best known for her television appearances. ...

Stage Plays

  • 1934 First Episode (written with Philip Heimann)
  • 1936 French Without Tears
  • 1939 After the Dance
  • 1940 Follow My Leader (written with Anthony Maurice [aka, Tony Goldschmidt])
  • 1940 Grey Farm (written with Hector Bolitho)
  • 1942 Flare Path
  • 1943 While the Sun Shines
  • 1944 Love in Idleness
  • 1946 The Winslow Boy
  • 1948 Playbill (comprising Harlequinade and The Browning Version)
  • 1949 Adventure Story
  • 1950 A Tale of Two Cities (from Dickens, co-adapted with John Gielgud)
  • 1950 Who is Sylvia?
  • 1952 The Deep Blue Sea
  • 1953 The Sleeping Prince
  • 1954 Separate Tables (comprising Table By the Window and Table No. 7)
  • 1958 Variation on a Theme
  • 1960 Ross
  • 1960 Joie de Vivre (written with Robert Stolz and Paul Dehn)
  • 1963 Man and Boy
  • 1970 A Bequest to the Nation
  • 1973 In Praise of Love (comprising After Lydia and Before Dawn)
  • 1976 Duologue (stage adaptation of All On Her Own, see below)
  • 1977 Cause Célèbre

(Henry) Hector Bolitho (1897 - 12 September 1974) was a prolific author, novelist and biographer. ... Dickens redirects here. ... Sir Arthur John Gielgud, OM, CH (14 April 1904 – 21 May 2000), known as Sir John Gielgud, was an Emmy, Grammy, Tony and Academy Award-winning English theatre and film actor, and is generally regarded as one of the great British actors in history. ... Robert Elisabeth Stolz (August 25, 1880 – June 27, 1975) was an Austrian songwriter and conductor as well as a composer of operettas and film music. ... Screenwriter Paul Dehn (1912 - 1976) began his show-business career in 1936 as a movie reviewer for several London newspapers. ...

Television Plays

  • 1951 Final Test
  • 1962 Heart to Heart
  • 1964 Ninety Years On
  • 1966 Nelson - A Portrait in Miniature
  • 1968 All On Her Own
  • 1972 High Summer

Several of his later plays were adapted for film and/or television. The best-known are:

The Winslow Boy is an English 1946 play by Terence Rattigan based on an actual incident in the Edwardian era, which took place at the Royal Naval College, Osborne House. ... Terence Rattigans play, The Browning Version, was first performed on September 8, 1948 at the Phoenix Theatre, London, in a joint performance with Harlequinade. ... The Browning Version is a 1951 British film based on the play of the same name by Terence Rattigan. ... The Deep Blue Sea is a 1955 film, directed by Anatole Litvak, starring Vivien Leigh and Kenneth More. ... Separate Tables is a 1958 film, based on the play by Terence Rattigan and directed by Delbert Mann. ...

Radio Play

Many of Rattigan's stage plays have been produced for radio by the BBC. The first play he wrote directly for radio was Cause Célèbre, broadcast on BBC Radio 4, 27th October 1975, based on the 1935 murder of Francis Rattenbury. Francis Mawson Rattenbury (1867-1935) was an architect born in England, although most of his career was spent in British Columbia, Canada. ...


  • Rattigan lived briefly at The Red House in the Berkshire village of Sonning during 1945–47 and there is a blue plaque recording his stay there, visible from the road.
  • He was a cousin of the Franciscan John Bradburne.

This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... The Thames near Sonning Sonning is a small village in Berkshire, England a few miles east of Reading. ... A blue plaque showing information about The Spanish Barn at Torre Abbey in Torquay. ... John Randal Bradburne (born 1921, Skirwith, Cumbria, died 1979, near Mutoko, Zimbabwe) was a lay member of the Order of St Francis, a poet, warden of the Mtemwa leper colony at Mutoko. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Terence Rattigan | Biography | MTV Movies (1579 words)
Terence Rattigan was that relative rarity among the ranks of playwrights: a major theater author who was almost equally successful as a screenwriter, and one of a very few playwrights of his era privileged to adapt his own stage work to the screen on a regular basis.
Rattigan's finest and most enduring work for the screen was probably The Browning Version, which had its roots in his time as a boy at Harrow in the mid-'20s, drawing on his memories of one cold, distant, dry-as-dust teacher of classical languages, and of another teacher to whom he was attracted romantically.
Rattigan had the misfortune to come of age as a gay man in the England of the 1930s, when such matters were still criminalized and prosecuted; he had the good fortune, however, to be a man of the theater, the one respectable area of creative life that tolerated such relationships.
  More results at FactBites »



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