Gordon Wong Wellesley (8 December 1894 – 1980) was an Australian-born screenwriter and writer of Chinese descent. Born in Sydney in 1894 He wrote over thirty screenplays in the United States and Britain, often collaborating with the director Carol Reed. He began his career in Hollywood in the early 1930s and worked in Britain beginning about 1935. He was married to the scriptwriter Katherine Strueby. He was nominated for an Oscar for Best Writing, Original Story at the 1942 Oscars for Night Train to Munich, which was based on his novel, Report on a Fugitive.
By 1923 his short stories such as A Lesson in Cocktails were appearing in magazines. A biography around this time called him "one of the best known commercial men in the Federated Malay states."
In 1931 he was living in Kuala Lumpur. (Another article says he was from Singapore.) He was reportedly "a business man as well as a traveler, writer, explorer and official film producer for the Malayan government." A 1931 profile said he was educated at the University of London and had directed a Malayan picture called Black Sands "which created a lot of excitement in Europe".
He travelled to Hollywood in 1931, when he was 36 years old. He sold the film rights to his novel, Pagan River to Universal. He also sold a story he wrote about the Sino-Japanese war called Shanghai Interlude which was going to be made by director John Ford and star Lew Ayres.
He was using the name "Wong Wellesley" around this time. He says he did this "because with a Chinese surname I might be expected to write nothing but Chinese stories."
Associated Talking Pictures
Wellesley wrote a series of films for Associated Talking Pictures, the forerunner of Ealing Studios: Love, Life and Laughter (1934) with Gracie Fields and Java Head (1934) with Anna May Wong directed by Thorold Dickinson; the latter had Carol Reed as assistant director. Wellesley wrote a second film for Fields, Sing As We Go (1934), directed by Basil Dean.
He was loaned out to work on the script for Death Drives Through (1935), independently done at Ealing, then helped write a comedy, No Limit (1935) for a new star, George Formby. It was a big hit and helped turn Formby into a movie star.
Wellesley worked on a biopic of Mozart for Dean, Whom the Gods Love (1936), and he did another for Fields, Queen of Hearts (1936). Wellesley wrote Laburnum Grove (1936), directed by Carol Reed and produced by Dean.
Producer and Night Train to Munich
In early 1939 a short story of his was published, Report on a Fugitive. It was bought by 20th Century Fox who turned it into Night Train to Munich (1940), directed by Reed and written by Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat. The film was very successful in the UK and the US. In February 1942, Wellesley earned an Oscar nomination for his story for Night Train. It was the only nomination given to a British film that year.
Wellesley did some uncredited work on the script Sailors Three (1940) for Ealing. He also helped write Freedom Radio (1941), Atlantic Ferry (1941), and This Was Paris (1942). In 1941 a script was being prepared based on a story of his, Lisbon Clipper.
Wellesley turned director with The Silver Fleet (1942), a film whose storyline was based on a suggestion of President Roosevelt. He wrote and directed it in tandem with Vernon Sewell and the film was produced by Powell and Pressburger.
Most of his later work was for TV: The Gay Cavalier, White Hunter, The Young Jacobites, International Detective, Sir Francis Drake and Beware of the Dog. He still wrote features such as Passport to China (1961), Dead Man's Evidence (1962), and Doomsday at Eleven (1962).
In 1967 he was awarded a Writers Guild Award for distinguished service.
- Nagana (1933) - writer of original novel
- Shanghai Madness (1933) - writer
- The Right to Live (1933) - writer
- Love, Life and Laughter (1934) - writer
- Over the Garden Wall (1934) - writer
- Java Head (1934) - writer
- Sing As We Go (1934) - script editor
- Lorna Doone (1934) - writer
- Look Up and Laugh (1935) - scenario editor
- Death Drives Through (1935) - scenario editor
- No Limit (1935) - scenario editor
- Whom the Gods Love (1936) - writer
- Queen of Hearts (1936) - scenario editor
- Laburnum Grove (1936) - scenario editor
- The High Command (1936) - producer
- Night Train to Munich (1940) - original story
- Three Cockeyed Sailors (1940) - uncredited contribution to story
- Freedom Radio (1941) aka A Voice in the Night - story
- Atlantic Ferry (1941) - writer
- This Was Paris (1942) - story
- Flying Fortress (1942) - writer
- The Peterville Diamond (1942) - writer
- The Silver Fleet (1943) - co-director, writer
- Rhythm Serenade (1943) aka I Love to Sing- director
- The Shipbuilders (1943) - writer, dialogue editor
- Mr. Emmanuel (1944) - writer
- The Lost People (1949) - producer
- The Reluctant Widow (1950) - writer, producer
- Rheingold Theatre (1953) (TV series) - episode "The Heel" - writer
- The Green Scarf (1954) - writer
- The March Hare (1956) - writer
- The Gay Cavalier (1956–57) (TV series) - writer
- White Hunter (1957) (TV series) - writer
- The Young Jacobites (1960) - writer
- International Detective (1960) (TV series) - writer
- Passport to China (1961) - writer
- Dead Man's Evidence (1962) - script supervisor
- Sir Francis Drake (1962) (TV series) - writer
- Doomsday at Eleven (1962) - director
- Beware of the Dog (1964) (TV series) - writer
- Trouble with Junia (1967) (short) - director
- The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre (1967) (TV series) - writer - episode "The Malpas Mystery"
- A Lesson in Cocktails (1923) - magazine story
- The Bait (1923) - magazine serial
- Anything Might Happen (1923) - magazine story
- The Proper Thing (1923) - magazine story
- Pagan River (1931) - magazine serial
- Report on a Fugitive: A Drama of the Secret Service (1939) - magazine story
- Lisbon Clipper (1941) - magazine story.
- The silver fleet : the story of the film put into narrative (1943) - book
- Sec and the Occult (1973) - book
- "The High Command". Colonial Film: Moving Pictures of the British Empire. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- According to the researcher Steve Holland, he may have been born in China, the son of Florence Edith Wellesley and an unknown father named Wong. Holland suggests that Wellesley reversed his last name and middle name.
- Holland, Steve. "Paperback Cover Cavalcade 6". Bear Alley (blog). Blogspot. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 September 2009. Retrieved 18 August 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- East Liverpoool Review. 22 June 1932. p. 12 https://newspaperarchive.com/east-liverpool-review-jun-22-1932-p-12/. Missing or empty
- According to a 1952 article, Wellesley was born in Sydney in 1906 and lived there until 1933 when he moved to Malaya. "This Week's Films". Northern Standard. 7 (332). Northern Territory, Australia. 31 October 1952. p. 3. Retrieved 1 January 2019 – via National Library of Australia. However considering he was regularly publishing stories in the 1920s, it is more likely his birthdate was earlier.
- "A LESSON IN COCKTAILS". Smith's Weekly. V (5). New South Wales, Australia. 24 March 1923. p. 25. Retrieved 8 January 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
- "THE BAIT". Smith's Weekly. V (26). New South Wales, Australia. 18 August 1923. p. 21. Retrieved 8 January 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
- Oriental Writer Here on Visit Los Angeles Times 19 Feb 1931: A5.
- VISITOR STUDIES COURTS HERE: Singapore Barrister Occupies Bench Los Angeles Times 16 Sep 1932: A5.
- SUGAR and SPICE Whitaker, Alma. Los Angeles Times 15 Mar 1931: B18
- "ENTERTAINMENTS". The Telegraph. Queensland, Australia. 18 March 1933. p. 11 (LATE CITY). Retrieved 8 January 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
- FLASHES FROM STUDIOS New York Times 17 Apr 1932: X5.
- "ENTERTAINMENTS". Queensland Times. LXXIV (14, 776). Queensland, Australia. 22 March 1934. p. 10 (DAILY.). Retrieved 8 January 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
- News and Reviews of the Stage, Screen and Music; Gossip of Studio and the Theater Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 28 July 1933: 11.
- LUNT (H.M. INSPECTOR OF TAXES) v WELLESLEY (1943-1947) 27 TC 78 https://library.croneri.co.uk/cch_uk/btc/27-tc-78
- "BRITISH PRODUCTION NOTES". The West Australian. 51 (15, 298). Western Australia. 5 July 1935. p. 2. Retrieved 8 January 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
- Richards, Jeffrey (2010). The Age of the Dream Palace: Cinema and Society in 1930s Britain. I.B. Tauris. p. 198. ISBN 9781848851221.
- Films of the Day: A Light Mixture Campbell, George. The Bystander; London Vol. 135, Iss. 1755, (Aug 4, 1937): 192.
- Report on a Fugitive: A Drama of the Secret Service Gordon Wellesley. Britannia and Eve; London Vol. 18, Iss. 2, (Feb 1939): 49, 48, 50-51, 110, 112-114.
- CITATIONS LISTED FOR FILM AWARDS: Selection of l0 Best Pictures Among 50 Nominations Made by Academy PRESENTATIONS ON FEB. 26 Bette Davis Receives Mention Again -- Screen Writers and Directors Honored New York Times 09 Feb 1942: 18.
- SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD By DOUGLAS W. CHURCHILL New York Times 3 Oct 1941: 27.
- "The Silver Fleet": The Film Roosevelt Suggested to Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands The Tatler and Bystander; London Vol. 165, Iss. 2151, (Sep 16, 1942): 365.
- "Authentic Basis For Home-Front Story". The Mercury. CLX (23, 084). Tasmania, Australia. 25 November 1944. p. 9. Retrieved 8 January 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
- BRITISH Studio Gossip Nepean, Edith. Picture Show; London Vol. 47, Iss. 1209, (Apr 24, 1943): 4.
- "A LESSON IN COCKTAILS". Smith's Weekly. V (5). New South Wales, Australia. 24 March 1923. p. 25. Retrieved 1 January 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
- "THE BAIT". Smith's Weekly. V (26). New South Wales, Australia. 18 August 1923. p. 21. Retrieved 1 January 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
- "ANYTHING MIGHT HAPPEN". Smith's Weekly. V (36). New South Wales, Australia. 27 October 1923. p. 23. Retrieved 1 January 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
- "The PROPER THING". Smith's Weekly. V (42). New South Wales, Australia. 8 December 1923. p. 27. Retrieved 1 January 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
- SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD New York Times 3 Oct 1941: 27.