Robert (Bob) Dunbar Papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Personal and business papers relating to the films of Dunbar and others; also film scripts, production notes, papers from the London Film School, personal correspondence, press-cuttings, literary papers and interview transcripts, 20th century.

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert ('Bob') Dunbar (1914-2000), film director, producer, teacher and critic, was a pioneer of the field of film studies in Britain but also worked extensively in the industry in numerous capacities. He was apprenticed to producer Erich Pommer at Germany's Ufa Studios but returned to England when Hitler came to power in 1933. He worked first at Gainsborough studios as an assistant director, then as a production manager at Alexander Korda's London Films, where he assisted Alfred Hitchcock and René Clair; he also worked closely on William Cameron Menzies' film of H.G. Wells' Things to Come (1936).

In 1953 he became a producer with Group III, a government-sponsored organisation aimed at nurturing new talent. After a brief period working on comedies at Hammer Films, he produced one of his most successful films The Man Upstairs (1958) starring Richard Attenborough. However, production of British films was becoming increasingly difficult, and he set about teaching at a small art school in South London, which he bought and transformed into the London School of Film Technique. Early students of the LSFT included Mike Leigh, Iain Sinclair and Bill Douglas. In 1974 the School went into liquidation, but it survives today as the London International Film School.

Along with Roy Fowler, Dunbar instigated the BECTU Film History Project, an extensive archival research initiative aiming to preserve oral histories, ephemera, papers and artefacts pertaining to the history of film production in Britain. He also chaired the Journal Committee of the film technicians' union ACTT, of which he was made an honorary member.

Arrangement

Since deposit, this collection has been dispersed throughout the general collections of the Bill Douglas Centre.

Conditions Governing Access

Usual BDC and University of Exeter Library arrangements apply.

Other Finding Aids

The items in this collection are listed fully on EVE, the online catalogue of the Bill Douglas Centre: see http://billdouglas.ex.ac.uk

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Charlotte Berry, Archivist, 25 April 2005, and encoded into EAD, 6 June 2005.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual BDC and University of Exeter Library restrictions apply.

Custodial History

Donated to the Bill Douglas Centre in 2001.

Related Material

None known.

Bibliography

It is not known whether this collection has formed the basis for publication.