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The Man in Grey

James Mason, Margaret Lockwood and Stewart Granger star in the first of the fantastically successful Gainsborough melodramas.

Melodrama 1943 116 mins

Director: Leslie Arliss


The first of the Gainsborough melodramas, The Man in Grey was the first film to established the fantastically successful template, fusing elements from the Hollywood ‘women’s picture’ and German Expressionism, all rounded off with intricate Regency period detail.

Its elaborate story revolves around the tortuous friendship between two women, Hesther and Clarissa (Margaret Lockwood and Phyllis Calvert) and their relationships with a pair of rakish rogues, Rohan (James Mason) and Rokeby (Stewart Granger). Although a critical failure upon its release, the film was such a box office success it famously had to return to London for a triumphant second West End premiere. Mason and Lockwood would become the actors most closely associated with Gainsborough Pictures’ run of melodramas, and at the height of the films’ success they were two of the biggest draws in British cinema.