McGreevy (John) Productions

inside the vatican cover

  Director and producer John McGreevy was born in London, England, in 1942. He was educated at Southampton, and emigrated to Canada while still a teenager. He began in the mailroom of the CBC in 1962, and soon persuaded the head of engineering to take him on as a junior technician. By 1967 he was working on the network’s variety programs. McGreevy started freelance producing for the CBC’s Man Alive series in 1970, and in 1974 he created People of Our Time, a series on the prominent writers and thinkers of the day (guests included Mavis Gallant, Mordecai Richler, and Michel Tremblay). In 1975, he wrote, produced and directed the docudrama Beaverbrook.
  After directing or producing 27 programs for CBC television, McGreevy founded his own independent production company (John McGreevy Productions) in 1976. The company, which is based in Toronto, has produced numerous documentaries and films for Canadian and international markets. His first independent project, a series called Cities, featured well-known personalities and their cities (Glenn Gould in Toronto, Peter Ustinov in Leningrad, etc.). In 1978, he returned to CBC to direct an episode of The Newcomers series written by Timothy Findley. In 1983, he produced a documentary on Robertson Davies for BBC's Writers and Places (and in 1996 another one on Davies for CBC's Life and Times series) and a docudrama on General Douglas MacArthur, starring John Huston, for American television. He worked on the documentary Quintet - Visions of Five (1984). He returned to his cities theme in 1985 with a second series called Return Journey, again featuring well-known personalities and their cities. He produced a documentary on the International PEN Congress in New York in 1986 and a multi-media show for CN at Expo '86.  Throughout his career, McGreevy has often worked with writer-actor Peter Ustinov. After their first collaboration on the Cities series, McGreevy directed Ustinov in the 6-part Peter Ustinov's Russia (1986), then in Peter Ustinov in China (1987), Peter Ustinov's Voyage Across the 80s (1989), Ustinov on the Orient Express (1991) and An Evening With Peter Ustinov (1996). McGreevy's 6-part Inside the Vatican (1994) also featured Peter Ustinov. Other projects produced by McGreevy include a tribute to actor-director John Neville in 1989, a 4-part documentary on language with Jonathan Miller, Born Talking (1990), and an 8-part documentary on Greek mythology, Paths of the Gods (1995).
  McGreevy has often collaborated with other production companies, and much of his work has been created with the assistance of his partner, Jennifer Puncher.

Sources: 

John McGreevy Productions website http://www.johnmcgreevyproductions.ca

Library and Archives Canada http://collectionscanada.gc.ca/ourl/res.php?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&url_tim=...

Pape, Gordon. “Take two: Once headed for the land of Oz, Canada’s film industry is staging a comeback.” Canadian Business, August 1984.

Knelman, Martin. “Peter the grateful.” Toronto Life, March, 1986.

Hume, Christopher. “Ustinov shows human side of Russia.” The Sunday Star, March 2, 1986.

 

Accession No.: 
2004.007
Dates of creation: 
1972-2002
Physical description: 

3.9 m of textual records

12, 750 photographs
• 7,703-35mm slides
• 1,065 prints (573 col. and 491 b&w)
• 120 contact sheets (76 col. and 44 b&w)
• 3,855 col. negatives (2,451 col. and 1,404 b&w)
• 8 photo-plaques

22 audio recordings
• 15 cassettes (ca. 589 min.)
• 4 DAT cassettes (ca. 116 min.)
• 2 DA88 cassettes (ca. 78 min.)
• 1 roll ¼ in. magnetic tape (ca. 20 min.)

841 video recordings
• 26 – 1 in. tape (ca. 21 hrs.)
• 76- ¾ in. cassettes (ca. 66 hrs.)
• 527 Betacam/Betacam-SP cassettes (ca. 250 hrs.)
• 57 Betamax cassettes (ca. 60 hrs.)
• 147 VHS cassettes (ca. 128 hrs.)
• 1 DVCam cassette (ca. 90 min.)
• 1 Mini-DV cassette (ca. 48 min.)
• 2 Hi-8 cassettes (ca. 78 min.)
• 4 D2 cassettes (ca. 3 hrs.)

30 cinefilms
• 30 rolls 16mm cinefilm (ca. 554 min.)

82 graphic materials
• 50 posters
• 32 sketches

23 artifacts (awards)

Scope and content: 

This fonds consists of 7 series, divided by format. These series include: Textual Material; Photographs and Artwork; Awards/Nominations; Posters; Audio; Video; and Cinefilm.

The first series, Textual Material, includes production files, correspondence, transcripts, budgets, scripts, and research for McGreevy’s productions. Several books are included here, as are scripts and proposals for programs that have not been produced (including a screenplay by author Anthony Burgess).

The second series, Photographs and Artwork consists of negatives, prints, and slides taken for publicity purposes during most of McGreevy’s major productions (including Beaverbrook, Return Journey, People of Our Time, and Peter Ustinov on the Orient Express). Numerous celebrities, such Omar Sharif, Melina Mercouri, John Huston and Glenn Gould are featured here. This series also includes 32 original pen sketches drawn by Peter Ustinov, featuring Ustinov and McGreevy on location.

The third series, Awards/Nominations, consists of award and nomination certificates from ACTRA, the Banff Festival, CFTA, the Geminis, the Emmys and the Genies.

The fourth series, Posters, consists of 9 posters from McGreevy’s productions.

The fifth series, Audio, consists of audio cassettes and transcripts from radio interviews with McGreevy. This series also includes recordings of Glenn Gould’s funeral, various events with Peter Ustinov, and research for McGreevy’s productions.

The sixth series, Video, includes viewing copies of some of McGreevy’s productions (e.g. American Caesar, Cities, Paths of the Gods and Around the World in 15 Minutes). This series also encompasses the original, uncut interviews with subjects of Born Talking, as well as interview tapes from the Robertson Davies biography project.

The seventh series, Cinefilm, includes release prints of People of Our Time, Beaverbrook, and Peter Ustinov’s Leningrad. This series also includes unique film elements from the production of Locomotion, which documented the 1986 Expo.

This fonds includes textual material relating to a number of productions, including:

  • Mandelstam’s Witness (Theatrical performance, 1975)
  • Beaverbrook (Television, 1976)
  • Cities (Television, 1976)
  • The Newcomers—1832 (Television, 1978)
  • Quintet (Film, 1984)
  • Return Journey (Television, 1985-1987)
  • Pen ‘86 (Television, 1986)
  • Peter Ustinov’s Russia (Television, 1986)
  • Peter Ustinov in China (Television, 1987)
  • In the Beginning (Television, 1988)
  • Secrets of the Phantom of the Opera (Television, 1988)
  • Around the World in 15 Minutes (1989)
  • Voyage Across the 80s (Television, 1989)
  • Born Talking (Television, 1990)
  • Ustinov on the Orient Express (Television, 1991)
  • Inside the Vatican (Television, 1994)
  • Paths of the Gods (Television, 1995)
  • East Meets West (Television, 1995)
  • Quebec/Canada 1995 (Television, 1995)
  • The Danger Tree (Television, 1996)
  • The Canadian Revolution (Television, 1997)
  • Empire of the Bay (Television, 1998)
  • Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the Romance of Canada (1999)
  • Visions of an Island (Film, 2000)

This fonds includes audiovisual material relating to a number of productions, including:

  • Mandelstam’s Witness (Theatrical performance, 1975)
  • Beaverbrook (Television, 1976)
  • Cities (Television, 1976)
  • The Newcomers—1832 (Television, 1978)
  • Acts of War (Television, 1983)
  • American Caesar (Television, 1983)
  • Writers and Places: Robertson Davies in Kingston (Television, 1983)
  • Return Journey (Television, 1985-1987)
  • Pen ‘86 (Television, 1986)
  • Peter Ustinov’s Russia (Television, 1986)
  • Peter Ustinov in China (Television, 1987)
  • In the Beginning (Television, 1988)
  • Secrets of the Phantom of the Opera (Television, 1988)
  • Around the World in 15 Minutes (1989)
  • Voyage Across the 80s (Television, 1989)
  • John Neville, Actor for All Seasons (Video, 1989)
  • Born Talking (Television, 1990)
  • Ustinov on the Orient Express (Television, 1991)
  • Children of Russia (Television, 1993)
  • Inside the Vatican (Television, 1994)
  • Paths of the Gods (Television, 1995)
  • Quebec/Canada 1995 (Television, 1995)
  • East Meets West (Television, 1995)
  • The Danger Tree (Television, 1996)
  • Life and Times of Robertson Davies (Television, 1996)
  • An Evening with Sir Peter Ustinov (Television, 1996)
  • The Canadian Revolution (Television, 1997)
  • Deadly Seas (Television, 1998)
  • Empire of the Bay (Television, 1998)
  • Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the Romance of Canada (1999)
  • Visions of an Island (Film, 2000)
  • Eatons: A Canadian Saga (Television, 2002)
  • Reflections on Science and Conscience (Video, 2003)
Rights and access: 

A) No access restriction.
B) Material is subject to copyright restrictions; please consult an archivist.

Language: 
English