Paul Rotha

Paul Rotha (center, holding glasses) while filming in the Netherlands in 1962

Paul Rotha (3 June 1907 – 7 March 1984) was a British documentary film-maker, film historian and critic.

Early life and education

He was born Paul Thompson in London, and educated at Highgate School and at the Slade School of Fine Art.


Rotha was a close collaborator of John Grierson, and Wolfgang Suschitzky was one of his cinematographers. He directed dozens of documentaries including Contact (1933), The Face of Britain (1935), World of Plenty (1943), Land of Promise (1947), A City Speaks (1947) and many others. The World Is Rich (1947) and Cradle of Genius (1961), both of which were nominated for an Academy Award, and feature films including the BAFTA-nominated No Resting Place. Rotha was Head of BBC TV's Documentaries Department between May 1953 and May 1955.[1]

Rotha shared with Otto Neurath an interest in the techniques of visual communication, and the two men worked together on several films, where Neurath's ISOTYPE pictorial statistics were animated as an important component of the films' arguments. He was a major opponent of sound in movies.

Personal life

Rotha married Irish actress Constance Smith in 1974. Smith had twice (1961 and 1968) been charged with attacking Rotha and stabbing him.[2]

Rotha died on 7 March 1984 in Wallingford, Oxfordshire.

See also


  1. Timothy Boon (2008) Films of Fact: A History of Science in Documentary Films and Television. London: Wallflower Press. ISBN 1905674376
  2. "Beauty held in knifing of director," Los Angeles Herald & Express, 15 December 1961


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Paul Rotha.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/31/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.