Nascimento: 6 de Setembro de 1932 (62 years)
Falecimento: 19 de Maio de 1995
Essex, England, UK
Derek Ford (born 6 September 1932 in Tilbury Essex - died 19 May 1995) was a British film director and writer, most famous for exploitation films such as The Wife Swappers (1970), Keep it Up Jack! (1973) and Sex Express (1975), which was also filmed in a hardcore version.
Ford began as a writer in collaboration with his brother Donald Ford (died 1991), originally for radio before progressing to television (The Saint, Adam Adamant Lives!) and film (The Yellow Teddybears, A Study in Terror). Ford's first foray into directing, 'Los Tres Que Robbaran Una Banco', made in Spain in 1961 was an unhappy experience, around the same time Ford entered exploitation when he was asked to re-edit and film additional sequences for a Swedish sex film called 'Svenska Flickor I Paris', eventually released as 'Paris Playgirls'.
Ford's directing career began proper in the late sixties when he entered into partnership with producer Stanley Long, resulting in three films including the massively successful The Wife Swappers, released in America as 'The Swappers' with the tag line "remember when all the guy next door wanted to borrow was your lawnmower?".
Ford's early seventies films were mainly shot in London and Maldon, Essex where he lived, while hardcore scenes meant for the European versions of his films were shot in secret at his own house, with his wife Valerie acting as co-director and assistant. Interviewed in the book, 'Keeping the British End Up', fellow director Ray Selfe referred to Ford as "a male nymphomaniac", and themes of swinging, wife swapping and outwardly respectable people living double lives run throughout Ford's work.
In the 1970s the two most well-known Ford films in America were Groupie Girl (1970) and Sex Express, starring Heather Deeley, released as 'Diversions' in 1976. 'Diversions' premiered in the Kips Bay area of Manhattan and was nominated for best foreign film by the Adult Film Association of America.
In Italy he directed 'Erotic Fantasies' (1978) a.k.a. 'Symphony of Love' while back in England he quit as the director of 'Don't Open Til Christmas' (1984). In the mid-eighties Ford attempted to find more mainstream work and dissociate himself from his past, but what little work came his way would drag him back to exploitation film. He directed 'For Members Only' in Italy in 1985, in which (returning to the themes of 'The Wife Swappers') a group of Italian women join a 'dare club', and co-directed a horror film in Sweden called 'Blood Tracks' which also features a brief cameo role from Ford as a location scout for a rock video (Ford's only other known acting role is as "Circus Santa Claus" in 'Don't Open Till Christmas'). He was also involved in writing a never-made softcore sitcom called 'Park Lane'. Ford's final film, 'The Urge to Kill', starring Peter Gordeno & Sarah Hope-Walker has never been released, although clips from it appear in the 2005 documentary 'The Wild, Wild World of Dick Randall'.
At the close of the eighties with the impending recession of the early nineties on the horizon and no work Ford decided to opt for a quieter life and put his ideas on paper. So leaving the film business behind him for good he attempted a second career as an author, writing two books. His experience in the world of 'b' rate movies along with his connections in the business reflected on the theme and setting for both books. The two books were 'Panic on Sunset' (1989), and 'The Casting Couch' (1990) ("the true story of broken dreams, disillusionment and fallen idols"). 'Panic on Sunset' concerns George Schapner, the stressed out manager/agent of Velma Torraine a vamp of the silent screen whose heavy Brooklyn accent spells the end of her career as the 'talkie' era approaches. A visit to a Hollywood whorehouse specializing in celebrity look-a-likes provides George with an unlikely solution to their problem. 'The Casting Couch' was a collaborative effort with the agent Alan Selwyn, and is credited under the joint pseudonym "Selwyn Ford". Confusingly the book portrays Selwyn Ford as an actual person.
A third book 'Bella', about Darvi and Darryl Zanuck was never completed, Ford died after a heart attack in a branch of WH Smith. According to Stanley Long's recent biography, Ford was almost penniless at the time of his death.