John Edward Boulting (21 December 1913 – 17 June 1985) and Roy Alfred Clarence Boulting (21 December 1913 – 5 November 2001), known collectively as the Boulting brothers, were English filmmakers and identical twins who became known for their popular series of satirical comedies in the 1950s and 1960s.
They produced many of their films through their own production company, Charter Film Productions, which they set up in 1937.
The twin brothers were born to Arthur Boulting and his wife Rosetta (Rose) née Bennett in Bray, Berkshire, England on 21 December 1913 (though both brothers later gave their birthday as 21 November in Who’s Who and elsewhere). John was the elder by half an hour. John was named Joseph Edward John Boulting and Roy was named Alfred Fitzroy Clarence Boulting.
Their elder brother Sydney Boulting became an actor and stage producer as Peter Cotes; he was the original director of The Mousetrap. A younger brother, Guy, died aged eight. Both twins were educated at Reading School, where they formed a film society. They were extras in Anthony Asquith’s 1931 film Tell England while still at school.
The brothers worked together as producer and director whenever they could, and often alternated these duties depending on the nature of each film, although they also made films separately. They also had a hand in the scripts of many of their films.
They began with serious, tight, economical drama films such as Seven Days to Noon (1950) and Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock (1947), both with Roy producing and John directing. They then became known for a series of satirical comedy films, such as Private’s Progress (1956), Lucky Jim (1957) and I’m All Right Jack (1959).
John Boulting co-wrote the films. The Boultings used the same actors in many of their films, including Ian Carmichael, Richard Attenborough, Terry-Thomas, Dennis Price, John Le Mesurier, Irene Handl, and Miles Malleson. I’m All Right Jack featured Peter Sellers, boosting his film career, winning him a BAFTA Best Actor Award.
In 1985, Roy Boulting directed an episode of the Miss Marple mysteries for BBC Television.
John Boulting was married four times and had three sons and three daughters. John and his South African-born wife Anne had two daughters: one of whom is Lucy Boulting Hill, a successful casting director.
Roy Boulting was married five times and had seven sons. In 1951 Roy married Enid Munnik, later known as Enid Boulting, an established fashion model and fashion editor at the French magazine Elle. Ingrid Boulting, is Enid’s daughter from a previous marriage.
Together they had three children: Fitzroy, the eldest, then identical twins named Edmund and Rupert. In 1971, Roy married Hayley Mills 33 years his junior, whom he had met on the set of The Family Way, and they had a son, Crispian Mills. The couple divorced in 1978.
John Boulting died on 17 June 1985 at his home in Sunningdale, Berkshire, and Roy Boulting on 5 November 2001 in the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford; both died of cancer.