Stanley Dent: Senior figure in the postwar film industry

 

Adelphi Films was one of the companies whose feature films and B-movies helped to fill cinemas in the industry's boom years after the Second World War. As business manager, Stanley Dent was responsible for securing distribution deals for pictures showcasing some of the earliest performances by stars such as Peter Sellers and Diana Dors, whose contracts he drew up.

He was an honourable man who received from Spike Milligan a letter about royalties for the 1951 knockabout farce Penny Points to Paradise thanking him for "the Lolly" and adding: "It is a pleasant suprise [sic], as I never expected any at all, knowing the film profession to be what it is." Penny Points to Paradise and a short, Let's Go Crazy (also 1951), were two oddities starring Milligan and Sellers that were lost to film fans for almost half a century until the BFI began restoring those in Adelphi's catalogue to issue on DVD.

The pictures distributed by Adelphi and made by its production arm, Advance, and associated companies represented a snapshot from a short but prolific era in British cinema. They ranged from the 1947 Robert Burns biopic Comin' Thro' the Rye, with Terence Alexander in his first screen role as the Scottish poet, to the 1956 musical Stars in Your Eyes, featuring the singer Dorothy Squires in her only film.

Diana Dors appeared in four Adelphi-distributed films, the comedies My Wife's Lodger (1952), The Great Game (1953) and Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary (1953), and the crime comedy-drama Miss Tulip Stays the Night (1955). Others in Adelphi pictures who later became stars of the screen, big or small, included Thora Hird, Sid James, Brian Rix, Joan Hickson, Stanley Unwin, Cardew Robinson, Alfred Marks, Dora Bryan, Joan Sims, Tommy Trinder, Jimmy Clitheroe, Ronnie Corbett, Joan Hickson, Miriam Karlin, Max Bygraves, Cicely Courtneidge, Jack Hulbert, Rolf Harris and Molly Weir.

Stanley Dent was born in London in 1917, the son of Arthur Abrahams, who worked as a sales representative for various film companies, and his wife, Hettie. They later changed their family name to Dent and Stanley attended Kingsbury County School, before qualifying as an accountant with Price Waterhouse. During the Second World War he served with the Army as a gunner in Egypt.

After the war, Arthur Dent bought Adelphi Films – formed in 1939 to reissue previously released material – as a means of handling films made by himself and his son David as producers, with Stanley running the business. The company was among hundreds vying for audiences during the post-war cinema boom, when more than half the population regularly "went to the pictures".

However, no new films were made for Adelphi following Arthur's death in 1956, although Stanley continued to secure deals for television rights and assigned theatrical distribution to British Lion and Grand National. At the same time, he published the trade magazine Fashion Forecast, built stands for the Ideal Home Show and other exhibitions, and managed a carpentry factory and locksmith business.

Adelphi continues to trade, getting DVD releases and screenings on Sky Arts and at the BFI Southbank, and benefits from the deals secured by Dent in the 1990s with writers and their estates, who gave the company rights to their work in perpetuity. Dent is survived by his wife, Margaret, and their two daughters, Jean and Kate, both directors of Adelphi Films.

Stanley Joseph Dent, film executive: born London 19 May 1917; married 1942 Margaret Jacoby (two daughters); died London 24 July 2012.

Suggested Topics
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballStriker in talks over £17m move from Manchester United
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
boksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor