Herbert Brenon – photos and quotes

Herbert Brenon

“We must have short sub-titles in pictures; colloquial sub-titles possessing virility.” Herbert Brenon


Herbert Brenon

“I enjoy producing anything but comedy – screen comedy is to use only the extreme farce.” Herbert Brenon


Herbert Brenon reading“The future of the photoplay business depends upon the cooperation of the literary genius and the artistic director. No photoplay can endure which hasn’t a masterful story as its basis.” Herbert Brenon

Herbert Brenon Alla Nazimova War Brides 1916“The director must be an executive, a dramatist, an author, a leader of men – and a painter. He must be a painter or possess an artist’s qualities because a photoplay is never action alone; it is always, in part, a picture.”  Herbert Brenon

Photo: War Brides (1916). With Alla Nazimova


Herbert Brenon The Alaskan 1924

“I believe in dialogue, but I work it out on my feet. I can’t write it out methodically in the script.” Herbert Brenon

Photo: The Alaskan (1924). With Thomas Meighan, Estelle Taylor, and James Wong Howe.


Herbert Brenon at work

Mr. Brenon‘s power lies in his untiring industry, concentration, and capacity for taking infinite pains. He has an exceptional knowledge of dramatic construction. But perhaps his greatest strength lies in his ability to impress his inherent emotionalism upon players, so that even those who, through long stage careers, have been unknown, become, under his direction, sterling artists.” — George Edwardes-Hall, scenario-writer and researcher.

Source: Randolph Bartlett (1918)


“Even back in the old stock company days, he was always the moving spirit in every enterprise. He strength of will in seeing that his orders were carried out, made him a factor to be reckoned with. On one occasion, the man who was supplying the funds for the company was also desirous of being an actor. His work was so poor that Brenon dismissed him – fired his own employer. He was only a young man at the time, but even then he was just a natural ‘boss.'” — George Fitch, technical director.

Source: Randolph Bartlett (1918)



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