Charles Ashton and British Silent Films

British Silent Film Star – Charles Ashton

Posts Tagged ‘John Stuart

John Stuart, A forgotten silent star rediscovered

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Jonathan Croall’s latest book  “Forgotten Stars: My Father and the British Silent Film World”  describes the life and silent film career of his father, John Stuart, and his contemporaries.  John Stuart was a hugely popular film actor who played romantic leads opposite all the leading actresses of the day.  He worked with directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Maurice Elvey, Anthony Asquith and Victor Saville.  Yet like most other stars of the 1920s he is all but forgotten today.  Drawing on a unique family archive, Jonathan Croall’s book examines the working conditions of the stars, the physical dangers they endured, the pressures they faced from their fans and the press, and the lure of Hollywood.  He also covers the revolution in British Cinema caused by the arrival of sound, and the devastating impact of the ‘talkies’, which affected so many of the stars’ careers, some of them tragically.

On Wednesday, 26th June 2013 at 7.30 p.m., Jonathan’s book “Forgotten Stars” will be launched at a free event at the Cinema Museum in London, when the author will show clips from his father’s silent films, talk about his career and sign copies of the book.  The films will include Her Son (1920), Alfred Hitchcock’s first film The Pleasure Garden (1925), Hindle Wakes (1927) and Kitty (1929), the first British part-talkie.  For more information about this event see the Cinema Museum’s events calendar:

Jonathan Croall is the author of twenty books, including the acclaimed biographies John Gielgud: Matinee Idol to Movie Star and Sybil Thorndike: A Star of Life.

Forgotten Stars: My Father and the British Silent Film World is published in June by Fantom Films.


Written by anneramsden

June 20, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Jonathan Croall writes of his silent film star father, John Stuart

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John Stuart, favourite matinee idol of the twenties and star in four of Charles Ashton’s silent films, was the subject of a recent Guardian article by his son and biographer, Jonathan Croall (Guardian (Saturday, 11 February 2012, p. 5).    John Stuart was 43 when Jonathan  was born.  Jonathan recalls him as “a passive presence about the home, very much dominated by my strong-willed mother, his third wife.  He was amiable and kind, inspiring affection, but he was also lazy and weak, and emotionally reserved.”  Stuart’s reserved nature was more than likely due to his experiences at the front line in France during World War I.  He had enlisted at 19 and during the war he lost most of his comrades and then was released with “trench fever”.  He was once thought the equivalent of Ivor Novello in charm and good looks.  Jonathan owns most of the films his father made and is currently writing a book about the screen idols of the 1920s including John Stuart.

Croall, Jonathan (2012). Silenced by the trenches. Guardian, 11 February 2012, p 5. Accessed 20 February 2012.

Also, Libby Purves interviewed Jonathan Croall about his father in the BBC Radio 4’s Midweek programme on 15 February 2012, which is available to listen for a limited period from the BBC website.  Accessed 20 February 2012.

John Stuart’s films with Charles Ashton

Alex St George in Kitty (1929)

Richard Bristol in Smashing Through (1928)

Michael in The Woman Juror (1926)

Michael Rivven in We Women (1925)

Written by anneramsden

February 20, 2012 at 11:01 am