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Obituary: Jack Davies

Jack Davies, scriptwriter, journalist: born London 25 November 1913; married (two sons); died California 22 June 1994.

I HAD 40 happy years in the film business, and was stimulated by working as editor with Victor Savile, Alfred Hitchcock, Alexander Korda, Erich Pommer and others, but I never had the sheer enjoyment and pleasure with anyone to compare with my producer times with Jack Davies, writes Hugh Stewart. We would meet in his basement study in Bryanston Square, in London, and I knew at once that, as well as the affectionate exuberance, there was a clear creative brain fizzing with fun, yet totally professional.

The first script we did together was Up in the World. The idea behind it was original, and I knew that Jack was my answer in the search for an idea to add a new dimension to Norman Wisdom's performance on the screen. Jack responded with delight and came up with the brilliant notion of Norman playing a double role as a German general. Jack himself demonstrated certain of the scenes, and I knew we had take-off. The resulting film, The Square Peg (1958), made Norman an international star. Jack's next script Follow a Star, had some wonderful scenes with Norman under hypnosis, and the process went further with On the Beat, when Norman, apart from playing Norman, was also Giulio Napolitani, the boss of the Soho Mafia. The gangster had a 'cover' as a marvellously camp West End hairdresser, and Norman had fun imitating him. Thus he had four distinct presentations in the one film.

As the scripts went on, Jack and Norman became very close collaborators, and it was a source of enormous enjoyment to me to see them building up the comedy together. However, I knew that, however wild their ideas might be, Jack's professionalism as a scriptwriter would ensure a solid construction.

For some years now Jack and Dorothy had lived in California, but we remained in close touch. Every time I heard his voice on the telephone I savoured again the joy and pleasure he gave me.

(Photograph omitted)