b. 17 June 1888
Producer, Writer, Director
Founder of Britannia Films (1923), Shurey was Britain’s only feature film director in the late 1920s. Britannia’s first film, Afraid of Love (1925, Reginald H. West) met with controversy due to the involvement of the Hon. Mrs John Russell, whose marital affairs had been the subject of a recent court case. The company’s later films included the military and naval melodramas Second to None (1926, Jack Raymond), Carry On! (1927, co-directed by Shurey and Victor Peers) and The Last Post (1929, Shurey). Based on stories by Shurey and scripted by Lydia Hayward, these patriotic and militaristic films often confused reviewers’ expectations of a female producer (Gledhill, 2007, p. 11).
In 1930 Shurey sued Film Weekly for libel due to an article written by the journal’s acerbic gossip columnist Nerina Shute. Shute had claimed that it was ‘pathetically obvious’ that women could not direct films and cited The Last Post as an example. To further support her contention that women could not make films, Shute quoted an on-set interview she had conducted with Mrs Walter Forde (aka Adeline Culley). Forde has suggested that although ‘a woman of ideas could be invaluable to a director’ she was incapable of handling the work of a director herself. The jury found in Shurey’s favour and she was awarded £500 damages with costs.
In 1930 Shurey set up a distribution company, Showman Films, which handled the sound version of The Last Post (1930). Showman folded soon after Britannia Films ceased production in 1932 and Shurey was left bankrupt.
NM (sources: Directors in British and Irish Cinema entry on Shurey (2006) and ‘Reframing Women in 1920s British Cinema: The Case of Violet Hopson and Dinah Shurey’ (2007), both Christine Gledhill).
For full details see Print and On-line Sources for Dinah Shurey.
See Filmography for Dinah Shurey
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Christine Gledhill (SB
Birth date – Janice Healey