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John Hastings Turner

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John Hastings Turner
Born16 December 1892
Died29 February 1956 (aged 63)
OccupationNovelist, dramatist/playwright, theatre and film director
Spouse(s)Laura Cowie

John Hastings Turner (16 December 1892 - 29 February 1956) was an English novelist, dramatist and theatre director. His works were filmed and performed on stage and in film in the UK and the United States from the 1920s to the 1940s.


Turner married the Scottish silent film actress, Laura Cowie, on 20 June 1918. They later settled in Blue Tiles Farm near Fakenham, Norfolk.[1]

During World War 1 Turner wrote three plays: Nothing New, Peace Time Prophecies or Stories Gone Wrong and Tails Up.[2] An early published novel of his from 1919, Simple Souls,[3] was made into a movie in 1920 with a scenario by Fred Myton, directed by the American Robert Thornby.[4] In 1926, Turner's play The Scarlet Lady,[5] a comedy, opened at the Criterion Theatre in London, starring Marie Tempest, a friend and the driving force behind the establishment of the actors' union Equity. Supporting Tempest was an ingénue, Fabia Drake, who became Tempest's firm confidante and then Turner's sister-in-law through marriage to his barrister brother, Maxwell Turner.[6]

Thereafter, in addition to his solo work, Turner collaborated with other writers, notably Roland Pertwee, with whom he wrote plays, scenarios or dialogues for a number of productions in the early 1930s, including a series of movies directed by John Daumery and William C. McGann, and Irving Asher's now-lost 1935 U.K. production Murder at Monte Carlo directed by Michael Barringer and starring Errol Flynn in his first major role.[7][8] Turner's work was performed by other leading actors including Margot Grahame (A Letter of Warning, 1932[9]), Nora Swinburne (A Voice Said Goodnight, 1932,[10][11] Cedric Hardwicke, Boris Karloff and Ralph Richardson (The Ghoul, 1933[12]), and Jane Baxter (The Night of the Party, 1935, directed by Michael Powell.[13]

From the late 1930s, Turner did some writing - and Cowie occasional acting - for productions by The Rank Organisation, which had bought film studios like Gaumont-British that Turner had previously worked for.[1]

Turner died at home in Norfolk in 1956, at the age of 63.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "From Rothiemay To The Silver Screen". Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  2. ^ "John Hastings Turner". Great War Theatre. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  3. ^ "Simple Souls". Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Simple Souls (1920)". Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  5. ^ "The Scarlet Lady". Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  6. ^ Drake, Fabia (1978). Blind Fortune. London: William Kimber. pp. 112, 120.
  7. ^ "John Hastings Turner". Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  8. ^ "Murder at Monte Carlo". Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  9. ^ "A Letter of Warning". Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  10. ^ "A Voice Said Good Night". Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  11. ^ "A Voice Said Good Night". Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  12. ^ "The Ghoul". Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  13. ^ "The Night of the Party". Retrieved 22 June 2019.
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John Hastings Turner
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