|THE INTERNATIONAL SILENT MOVIE|
1871 - 1949
The actor Seymour Hicks became infected with the acting bacillus when he impersonated the character of Buttercup in the play "Gilbert & Sullivan's H.M.S." at school.
He began his professional atage career in 1887 and went on US tour two
years later with the theater group of Mr. and Mrs. Kendal. There he learnt
a lot about the trade of an actor but also organziational finesses which
is required for managing a theater group.
When he got married with the actress Ellaline Terriss (1871-1971) in 1893 they often worked together in the following years.
He opened his own theater for which he wrote most of the plays himself and he often appeared as a director too.
When World War I broke out he was the first foreign actor whe appeared on stage in France in this difficult time. For this engagement he was awarded with the French Croix de Guerre. This was an event which repeatet itself in World War II.
Besides his acting career he also wrote together with a partner commercial successful plays, among them "The Runaway Girl" (1898), "With Flying Colours" (1899), "Bluebell in Fairyland" (1901) and "The Beauty of Bath" (1906).
Seymour Hicks realised early that the urge of the audience has changed after the war. Instead of musicals he wrote comedies which took the audience mind off this difficult time.
He also caused a sensation as an actor. One of his classic roles became "Scrooge" by Charles Dickens. When he impersonated this character for the first time in 1901 the critics were mixed so far, but Hicks worked hart and was finally able to perform "Scrooge" over 2'000 times. It was also "Scrooge" (13) which marked his film debut in 1913.
In the next years came only few more movies into being like "David Garrick" (13) and "A Prehistoric Love Story" (15) and even in the 20's he only used this new medium seldom although he founded his own film production. Yet this had an important effect to the film history. Hicks wasn't able to finish his first own film production with the title "Always Tell Your Wife" (23) because he had an argument with the director Hugh Croise. Croise left the set and Seymour Hicks became aware of a young actor who told that he preferred to become a director instead of an actor. Hicks went to this young man and offered him to finisch the movie together. This young man was no less a person than Alfred Hitchcock.
Most of Seymour Hicks' movie where shot in the 30's, among them popular
productions like "Sleeping Partners" (30), "Glamour" (31), "The Secret
of the Loch" (34), the second wonderful filming of "Scrooge" (35) and "Change
for a Sovereign" (37).
His last cinematical works were "Pastor Hall" (40) and "Silent Dust"
Other movies with Seymour Hicks: