H. Lisle Lucoque

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(b. Twyford, Berkshire, **/**/1887 – d. West Kensington, London, **/11/1925). Director, producer, distributor.


H. (Horace) Lisle Lucoque was the son of a tobacco and cigar merchant in Twyford, Berkshire. At the time of the 1901 Census, when he was 13, he was a cabinet maker’s apprentice, but ten years later, in 1911, he had married Nellie Edith Foster and was a confectioner in Twyford. Also in 1911, he obtained a license for the Vaudeville Picture Theatre in Bath (Nellie’s hometown) and though three years later he gave up his share in the theatre, his involvement had stimulated his interest in the film industry. By early 1916, the feature She, which he co-directed with Will Barker, had been released. Starring Alice Delysia, it was the first of his films based on the works of H. Rider Haggard. In 1917, this was followed by Dawn, based on the author’s first novel.

Lucoque came out to South Africa in January 1918 to direct first King Solomon’s Mines (1918) and then Allan Quatermain (1919) for African Film Productions. He was one of the first filmmakers to have realised the cinematic potential of Haggard's work and, having secured the motion picture rights to all his books, the opportunity to film ‘on location’ must have been enormously appealing. Though King Solomon’s Mines was filmed in 1918, Lucoque had an earlier connection with African Film Productions. A poster for the film Gloria (1916), adapted from a novel by Charlotte Mansfield by Harold M. Shaw and directed by Lorimer Johnston, indicates that it was produced by AFP, but includes the name of Lucoque Films (93 & 95 Wardour Street, London). As Lucoque was also a distributor, it is likely that the firm handled the distribution of the film in England.

Amongst his most notable British productions are a version of Lorna Doone (1920) and Castles in Spain (1920), both starring actress Bertie Gordon (who had played the part of Foulata in King Solomon's Mines) and both scripted by his wife Nellie Foster. His last film as director was Where the Rainbow Ends (1921). Though initially he had his own studio, first in London’s Ebury Street and then near Kew Bridge, over a period of time production fell off and when, in October 1925, the firm of Lucoque-Taylor went into bankruptcy, he committed suicide. He was only 38. (FO)


Stage & Cinema, 2 March 1918

Stage & Cinema, 7 September 1918

Stage & Cinema, 16 November 1918

Le Roux, André I. & Fourie, Lilla – Filmverlede: geskiedenis van die Suid-Afrikaanse speelfilm




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