Came the dawn : memories of a film pioneer (1951)

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of his stage scenas, called The Fallen Star, which was full of excellent work on his part. He was a really great artist as well as a thor- oughly good fellow, and it is an honour to have worked with him. In the early part of 1914, I also produced two more films from the prolific pen of Blanche Macintosh, a powerful and dramatic story with an important lesson in morals, and one with an entirely different theme called Love in the Mist. Meanwhile Bentley produced another Dickens film for us, The Old Curiosity Shop, with such members of our company as were suitable to the parts, and made what was generally conceded to be the best of his three, followed by yet another in The Chimes, before the year came to an end. It was the fatal year of the outbreak of the biggest war the world had ever known and it heralded, rather curiously, an important increase in film production, though it was unlikely that the war was the cause. It probably just happened that the con- spicuous success of a few films made from well-known plays or books led to a general run of productions on the same lines. That, I think, was certainly what happened in our case. I was never pre-disposed to the transplanting of film plots from another and different medium, holding that the course most likely to be satis- factory was the direct writing of material ostensibly and actually for the medium in which it was to be used. But public demand became too clamant to be ignored and I decided further to try out this alien method and see where it would lead us. One of the many sad results of the outbreak of war, a very sad one from my point of view, was the sudden withdrawal of Larry Trimble and his colleagues back to America. Their presence in this country for the two or three years they were here had been a great pleasure and happiness to me, and, more than that, a real incentive and encouragement. I have no doubt they were right to leave while the leaving was good, but I missed them very badly. Captain Baynes, who was perhaps more responsible than anyone else for persuading me to devote more and more of our efforts to the making of films from currently popular plays and to splash large quantities of posters and other publicity upon them, had been on the staff for some months when he called upon me at my house one evening. He asked me if I would like a St. Bernard puppy. I said I had always had collies and had no experience of bigger dogs, but when he put his hands in the two outside pockets of his waterproof and pulled out two puppies, one in each hand, 128