My Father and the Silent Film World
Following the sensational success of the silent film The Artist, author Jonathan Croall, best known for his widely praised theatrical biographies of John Gielgud and Sybil Thorndike, now focuses on the career of his father – John Stuart.
John Stuart was one of the most popular stars of the British silent cinema, a screen lover who starred opposite all the leading actresses, an actor whose fan club was equal to that of Ivor Novello. Yet although a few of his 55 silent films survive, like most other stars of the 1920s he is all but forgotten today. Now, drawing on a unique family archive, Jonathan Croall has brought his father back into the spotlight, charting his rapid rise to stardom in vivid detail. He also brings to life many other stars of the day, while exploring the work of directors such as the young Alfred Hitchcock, Maurice Elvey, Anthony Asquith and Victor Saville.
In Forgotten Stars he examines the stars’ working conditions, sheds light on the physical perils of filming, and looks at the pressures the stars faced from their fans, the press, and the lure of Hollywood. He also explores the arguments then raging about the rival merits of stage and screen, and describes the devastating impact of the arrival of the ‘talkies’, which affected so many careers, many of them tragically.