John Robertson — Directors I Have Met (1923) 🇬🇧

September 15, 2023

“Not only because my people came from there” (he was born in London, Ontario), he told me, as we chatted one day between scenes at the studio, “but because I spent over a year at the Famous Players-Lasky Studio in London, where I made pictures and came in contact with English people from many walks of life, and I liked them all! To really understand a country, you must be a part of it, and I greatly enjoyed my brief association with mv English cousins. When my wife and I left London, we promised — on our honour — to come back soon; if all goes well. I hope to direct another picture over there before the year is out.”

by Elizabeth Lonergan

Mrs. Robertson, we must explain, is known to “fans” as Josephine Lovett — that is, to those kinema enthusiasts who always notice the author’s name upon the screen. She has written a great many good pictures both for Mr. Robertson and other directors, and was on the stage, in which profession the director and his scenario editor wife met and were married. Since he returned to the States, Mr. Robertson has been tremendously busy directing one success after another. First, Mary Pickford in “Tess of the Storm Country,” which proved to be one of the biggest financial successes of the year, after which he joined forces with Inspiration Films, and directed Richard Barthelmess in “The Bright Shawl.” Scenes were taken on exact locations in Cuba, and then these exact locations were faithfully reproduced in the Inspiration Studio. The atmosphere was so perfect that it was difficult to tell which was Cuba and which Forty-Fourth Street!

A number of directors have expressed the opinion that England has a great future as picture centre. This is what John Robertson says: “That England will soon take a leading place among the foremost countries of the world in the picture-making industry, I have no doubt. It is inevitable. There are numerous clever actors with splendid training, and I found expert helpers in every other branch of the profession during my stay at the Famous Players-Lasky Studio. Although the climate has its drawbacks in the way of fogs, there are some wonderful intentions in machinery for clarifying the atmosphere for studio work, and keeping the fog outside its walls; but it will get in, in spite of precautions, you know I However, there are many clear days in between fogs. The natural scenery of England is unsurpassed; and two other great assets that the country possesses are the tremendous enthusiasm and the encouraging support from the public. Geographically speaking, England is necessarily important with London as headquarters, it is easy to ‘run over’ to France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, etc., for any foreign bits that are needed; not only easy, but, as compared with expenses on this side of the Atlantic, very inexpensive.

“I think there is nothing more that I can add, except to reiterate that to my wife and myself, England is a very satisfying place to return to. Speaking for myself, a country of Ten Commandments, but NO AMENDMENTS has decided charm, character, and allurement!

Other world-famous motion pictures directed by Mr. Robertson are “Come Out of the Kitchen,” “The Misleading Widow,” “Away goes Prudence,” “The Magic Cup,” “39 East,” Sentimental Tommy,” and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He takes a keen interest in developing character on the screen, and the story of Jekyll and Hyde gave full play to his genius. John Barrymore, Mary Pickford, Marguerite Clark, Billie Burke, and Elsie Ferguson are amongst the movie stars whom he has directed.

John S. Robertson — Directors I Have Met (1923) |

John Robertson [John S. Robertson] (right) directing “The Bright Shawl.”

Rehearsing a scene for The Bright Shawl, which stars Richard Barthelmess.

Collection: Picturegoer Magazine, July 1923


see also other entries of the Directors I Have Met series: