About Christopher Miles
Among his feature films, supporting features and documentaries, he has been awarded Golden Globe and Hollywood Oscar nominations, won the British Critics Circle and 1st prize at Oberhausen and San Francisco Film Festivals, and won Diplomas at Taoromina, London, Belgrade, Cannes, and San Diego Festivals. He has also made 10 TV Specials, and over 100 commercials.
As well as lecturing at Oxford, Nottingham, Harvard and Atlanta Universities he has been invited to lecture in Mauritius and throughout India by the British Council, and to run film courses at the Escuela Internacional de Ciné y TV in Havana and the British Academy of Film and Television in London and Oxford. From 1989-93 he was invited to become Professor of Film & Television at the Royal College of Art, and construct their new film studios. The RCA students won the prestigious Fuji Film 1st prize two years running during this time.
Books have been based on two of the films he directed, for both of which he helped devise the story outline. He is a committee member of the D.H.Lawrence Society, and recently, as the Patron of the Christopher Marlowe Society, he helped raise money for a memorial window in Westminster Abbey for the great Elizabethan poet and playwright. Among recent events he was given a retrospective of four of his films in the oldest cinema in Paris.
For the 2012 UK Olympics Soda Pictures launched a new version of "FIRE FROM OLYMPIA" in DVD with “DALEY’S DECATHLON”. Owing to continued unrest in Egypt 'THE LAST PHARAOH' has been postponed and he is working at present on an Italian/UK co-production.In 2007 he co-wrote the story outline for a 1st World War film ‘THE GRAF SPEE SECRET’ for Oxford Film Partners. In the winter of 2006 he launched the National Film Promotion Council at Cochin in Kerala, for producer Joly Joseph to encourage a wider interest in Indian films outside Bollywood. In 2005 he co-wrote in French a film script “LE CHEVAL PÂLE” with Benjamin Legrand for SDP Films in Paris.
In the late 80’s he made three more television specials - one was for Channel 4 UK and ERT Greek TV on the story of the Elgin Marbles, “LORD ELGIN AND SOME STONES OF NO VALUE” which was Hugh Grant’s first film playing opposite Nigel Havers’ Lord Elgin and Julian Fellowes. He also wrote and directed “DALEY’S DECATHLON” with the Olympic Gold Medalist Daley Thompson for Home Video, which won the the UK Video Award in the Sports Section, this was followed by another sports film for Channel 4 and ABC TV “THE MARATHON”.
"PRIEST OF LOVE" a feature film he co-produced and directed on the life of the controversial English writer D.H.Lawrence was Sir Ian McKellen's first film role, but sadly Ava Gardner’s last. It was later re-released in a shorter version for the Lawrence Centenary in 1985 and distributed by Orion Pictures and was given Diplomas at San Diego and London Film Festivals. (DVD with comments and interviews released by C’est la Vie in 2002)
In the late 70’s Anglia Television asked him to kick off one of the first films in the highly successful Roald Dahl series ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ - “NECK” which was the first time Sir John Gielgud played a butler, and that time it was opposite Joan Collins. Prior to that was a TV special - “ALTERNATIVE 3” which had front page headlines in three British national newspapers and was banned in the USA , but was shown 9 times in Canada and Australia. A book on the film by David Ambrose and Christopher Miles with Leslie Watkins was translated into four languages and is still selling, and there is now a book on the book ‘Casebook of Alternative 3’ – a DVD was produced with the film makers talking to Tim Briton just before he died in 2009.
In 1975 the USA company AFT asked him to direct Glenda Jackson and Susannah York in Jean Genet’s “THE MAIDS” which later won a Diploma at the Belgrade Film Festival and was shown in the Cannes Festival’s ‘Les Yeux Fertiles’ section. The year before he was invited by the BBC to direct Charlotte Rampling in a script by Melvyn Bragg based on a short story by Chekhov called “ZINOTCHKA", which he made after returning from the US where he directed his sister Sarah in Thornton Wilder's classic play "THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH".
Two feature films in the early 70’s were “TIME FOR LOVING” based on an original screenplay by Jean Anouilh, with Philippe Noiret, Britt Ekland, Susan Hampshire and others which was shot in Paris in English with an entirely French crew; and then “THAT LUCKY TOUCH” with Roger Moore, Shelley Winters, Lee J.Cobb and Jean-Pierre Cassel which was the first comedy to satirise the European Common Market, made in Brussels and Pinewood Studios - both films were produced by Dimitri de Grunwald.
He began the 70’s with the “THE VIRGIN AND THE GYPSY", which was a world-wide success and was voted best film by the British Critics Circle and New York Press, and also won among other awards a nomination for a Golden Globe. It launched the careers of Franco Nero, and Joanna Shimkus. In the mid sixties he made his first feature, a musical baptism of fire, and before leaving IDHEC (the film school in Paris) he made a half hour film, and then two more on leaving France with his sisters, one of which, “THE SIX-SIDED TRIANGLE”, won an Oscar Nomination and was one of his sister Sarah’s first films.
At the end of the '60's he married; and his wife Suzy and daughter Sophie are both painters
Aged 19 he went round the world making a film for the Silver Line shipping company. During the trip he managed to film behind the "bamboo curtain", and get the first footage out of China, which was later sold to Movietone News as "BEHIND THE SCENES IN CHINA" However, although filming in Shanghai had gone well, in Chinwangtao, an industrial port in the north, he was imprisoned in a police cell and questioned for 20 hours non-stop and accused of spying. This nearly caused an international incident and later had repercussions in Whitehall.
CM Paying his rickshaw boy on the Bund in Shanghai
When he was 16, he was the first person ever to transmit 8mm film on the BBC for the weekly live broadcast childrens’ programme "ALL YOUR OWN" hosted by Huw Wheldon, who later the became the Director General of the BBC. He appeared on the programme with school friend Nigel Begbie, with whom for three years he had been producing a variety entertainment during the school holidays called "THE BEGMILIAN SHOW" in aid of the RSPCA.
Sarah Miles far left with cast of the Begmilian Show and its producers, Christopher Miles and Nigel Begbie - CM and his brother Martin in "Mad Dog and Englishmen" which they sang in the show.... without Chan, but they did fire the noon-day gun!
(photograph © Eastern Daily Press 1956 - Norwich)
As a teenager he was constantly persuading his brother and sisters to star in his films, as by then he had invented a method of synchronising a Grundig tape-recorder to an 8mm projector for sound. The mechanics of photography and film always interested him from his earliest years!