James Bridie (1888-1951), whose real name was Osborne Henry Mavor, was a Scottish playwright, screenwriter and surgeon. He wrote 49 plays including The Anatomist (1931) about the infamous Burke and Hare murders. A success in London’s West End, in 1943 he founded the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow.
Bridie’s taste for the supernatural and macabre led to an association with Alfred Hitchcock. He wrote the screenplay for Hitchcock’s Under Capricorn (1949) and is unaccredited for his work on The Paradine Case (1947) and Stage Fright (1950).
The play in the photograph, Mr Gillie (1950), originally starring and directed by Alastair Sim, is representative of Birdie’s ‘problem plays.’ A ghostly Procurator and Judge must decide whether the recently deceased schoolmaster Mr Gillie is deserving of immortality; though he was an unsuccessful writer and the pupils he inspired have also failed to flourish artistically.
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