Alexander Mackendrick began his filmmaking career in the early 1940s as a screenwriter. His first known credit was for Carnival in the Clothes Cupboard (1941). He later worked on such films as Train Trouble (1943), Saraband for Dead Lovers (q.v., 1948 with John Dighton), Dance Hall (1950), The Man in the White Suit (1951) and The Maggie (1954).
As a director Mackendrick's first feature film is believed to have been Whisky Galore (1949). He also directed The Man in the White Suit and The Maggie. Later films include The Ladykillers (1955), The Devil's Disciple (1959), A High Wind in Jamaica (1965) and Don't Make Waves (1967). The director was also at the helm of The Guns of Navarone (1961) during the early stages of production but was fired by producer Carl Foreman (and is subsequently omitted from the credits).