Silent Film Stars

Richard A. Rowland – photos and quotes

Richard A. Rowland

“A star is the manager’s insurance.” — Richard A. Rowland 

Source: Julian Johnson (1917)


Richard A. Rowland“The producing end of the film business is a great hazard, and we are only able to continue in it – rather those who do continue in it do so because they take advantage of every one of the very few certainties that it affords. The producing end is built on creative minds alone. That means the combination of delightful and exasperating qualities that we call ‘temperament,’ because we don’t know what else to call it.”Richard A. Rowland

Source: Julian Johnson (1917)

Richard A. Rowland 1920“A manager today can do one of two things: he can exploit starless pictures or he can exploit stars. In any event, he going to make the best pictures he can and let me tell you something; no picture has ever been profitable which wasn’t in some degree satisfactory to its makers. No matter how lurid, sensational or based upon news events photoplays may be, punk pictures do not produce results anywhere, at any time. However, a man can’t be certain that a play is going to be good. As the old theatrical saying goes, if there were a man who could pick plays unerringly, he would be worth one million, two million – almost any yearly salary he might name.” — Richard A. Rowland 

Source: Julian Johnson (1917)


Richard A. Rowland“There is, and always will be, a great body of motion picture patrons who have neither the time nor the instinct to discuss plays, trends, or exhaustively criticize the drama. These people love the screen and they seize upon personalities as an embodiment of their respective creeds. Though they are in the same general class, they won’t all admire the same man or woman. But the personality is the thing, in any event, and they follow the name. It drags them into theatres. It makes regular patrons of them. It makes the local manager pay higher prices for this person’s pictures. Maybe it is profitable to the producer. At any rate, it makes a star. Now, the people who have been drawn into the photoplay vortex in the past two years – what we might call the new aristocracy in patronage – didn’t like the old star system at all. And they had good reason. Most of the stars were tin idols who couldn’t really act under any provocation or circumstance. So, more or less unconsciously, they made new stars. They demanded plays, too, but they began to use star’s names. They go to see Viola Dana, and Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin – but Dana or Chaplin or Fairbanks couldn’t hold these people a moment if their vehicles weren’t in some measure satisfactory. So, really, you see it’s just as Shakespeare said: the play’s the thing. And while the manager’s most ferocious effort is centered on getting good plays, and better ones all the time, the star is his insurance.” — Richard A. Rowland 

Source: Julian Johnson (1917)

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