52 Welsh film facts

Photograph of Rachel Roberts

Photograph of Rachel Roberts taken in 1975.

  1. Jack Howells (1913-1990), from the Rhymney Valley, is the only Welsh director to win an Oscar, for the short Dylan Thomas (1962), which featured Richard Burton as on and off screen narrator.
  2. John Grierson, the 'father of the British documentary movement', edited his Scottish TV series This Wonderful World in the Western Mail offices in Cardiff in the 1950s and 1960s. He was patron and lecturer at Newport film school.
  3. Rachel Roberts (1927-80) gained two Bafta UK Best Actress awards - for Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) and This Sporting Life (1963). She was also awarded the Bafta Best Supporting Actress prize for Yanks (1979).
  4. The first Welsh-set X-certificate film was the comedy Only Two Can Play (1962), featuring a nude shot, supposedly of Swedish actress Mai Zetterling, but actually a 'body double'.
  5. Welsh director Richard Marquand (1938-87) had two hit features: the third completed Star Wars film Return Of The Jedi (1983) and the thriller Jagged Edge (1985) with Jeff Bridges and Glenn Close.
  6. Glenda Jackson, double Oscar winner for Women In Love and A Touch Of Class, starred in Welshman Karl Francis' film Giro City (1982) about council corruption and media compromise. Her co-star Jon Finch played the title role in Roman Polanski's Macbeth (1971), part-shot in Wales.
  7. Hedd Wyn, directed by Paul Turner, was the first Welsh-language film nominated - and shortlisted - for the Best Foreign Language film Hollywood Oscar (in 1994). Later Paul Morrison's Solomon and Gaenor was also shortlisted in the category.
  8. At the first BAFTA Cymru screen awards in 1991, Rachel Thomas gained a Lifetime Achievement Award after a career spanning more than 50 years.
  9. The first all-Welsh animated feature was Under Milk Wood (1992), an adaptation of the Dylan Thomas radio play, by Cardiff's Siriol Productions.
  10. Catherine Zeta Jones is the only Welsh woman to win Hollywood's Best Supporting Actress Oscar - in 2003 for Chicago (2002).
  11. The 1943 British 'lost patrol' drama Nine Men, made on a £20,000 budget by Harry Watt, was set in the North African desert - but filmed at Margam Sands.
  12. During the heyday of the coal export business at Cardiff and Barry docks in 1913/14 exhibitor Leon Vint catered for seafarers at his Barry Dock cinema by advertising films on notice boards in seven languages.

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