Charles Ashton and British Silent Films

British Silent Film Star – Charles Ashton

Eliot Stannard

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(1888 – 1944),

Eliot Stannard was an screenwriter. He wrote for 147 films between 1914 and 1933, including seven films directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

It was thought that silent films did not require screenwriters, but Eliot Stannard set out to prove that it was an important role and therefore wrote a screenwriting manual.

“Some of the Public believe this mystical and almost mythical person merely writes those fragments of explanation or dialogue technically known as sub-titles.”

Who is Eliot Stannard? If the name is recognised these days it would most likely be for his writing credits on eight of Alfred Hitchcock’s silent films, from his directorial debut (The Pleasure Garden, 1925) to his penultimate silent picture (The Manxman, 1927). Stannard, however, had already garnered over 80 screenwriting credits since he started in the trade in 1914, a decade before the grocer’s son from Walthamstow waddled into Gainsborough Studios. Equally significantly, Stannard was one of the very first practitioners of the profession to think seriously and write publicly about exactly what it takes to be a writer for the screen. And his articles about the craft remain, to my mind, more analytical and useful than the shelves of ‘how to’ volumes that have proliferated in recent years.

The man who wasn’t there.  In: Sight and sound, Dec 2005


Films with Charles Ashton

The Last King of Wales (1922)

The American Prisoner (1929)


Written by anneramsden

April 28, 2010 at 2:28 pm

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