Links

This list of Robert Donat-related links will be added to, so please keep checking back. If you have a link for information about RD, please contact us. We hope you enjoy browsing …
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General information:

Robert Donat, IMDb: complete listing of RD’s film work.

BFI Screenonline, Robert Donat. Appraisal of RD’s career by Brian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of British Cinema. Links to BFI reviews, posters, contemporary reviews in the BFI’s The Monthly Film Bulletin and stills and clips of selected films (The 39 Steps, Captain Boycott, The Cure for Love, The Ghost Goes West, Knight Without Armour, The New Lot, The Magic Box, The Private Life of Henry VIII, The Winslow Boy).

Film4 filmography, Robert Donat, with reviews of the following films: The Private Life of Henry VIII; The Count of Monte Cristo; The Ghost Goes West; The 39 Steps; Goodbye, Mr Chips; The Young Mr Pitt; The Adventures of Tartu; The Winslow Boy; Lease of Life, and The Inn of the Sixth Happiness.

TCM website with clips from some of RD’s films, plus filmography, biog. and other information (not all of it reliable: we are attempting to correct that!). Also provides information on when they will be screening any of RD’s films.

A  balanced and well-written biography is available at the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

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Miscellaneous links:

BFI Most Wanted: the hunt for Britain’s missing films, Men of Tomorrow (RD’s 1932 screen debut). Reviews, stills and synopsis of this ‘lost’ film.

The site of the English Heritage Blue Plaque at one of RD’s London homes.

The Independent, 13 March 2008: Tough chaps: Robert Donat Season at BFI by Geoffrey Macnab.

The Observer, 19 April 2009: Philip French’s screen legends No. 54, Robert Donat.

Critics’ Circle: Circle Dinners and Film Awards Vintage Photo Gallery, stars and critics from the 1940s to the 1980s. Features two images of RD attending Circle dinners (no dates given).

South Manchester Reporter, 19 May 2011: Hello Mr Chips – plaque marks home of Oscar winner Robert Donat. Please note: the image is of RD’s son Brian Donat (with RD’s Oscar).

Report and images of the bronze plaque being unveiled by Brian Donat at RD’s birthplace in Withington, 15 May 2011. The report includes notes by Dan Moynihan who orchestrated the campaign to have the plaque erected.

Scope (an online journal of film and tv studies, Institute of Film & TV Studies, University of Nottingham) June 2011:
Performing Hitchcock: Robert Donat, Film Acting and ‘The 39 Steps’ (1935), Victoria Lowe, University of Manchester, UK. This article offers a speculative exploration of performance in a Hitchcock film by looking in detail at Robert Donat’s characterisation of Richard Hannay in The 39 Steps (1935).

The 39 Steps locations.

Images of RD taken by E. Chambre Hardman.

Robert’s entry in the LA Times Hollywood Walk of Fame database. Includes an image of RD’s star.

Sue Arnold’s review of Murder in the Cathedral, The Guardian, 13 November 2010.

Time Out’s 100 Best British Films features The 39 Steps at number 13.

Flickering Myth blog review of The 39 Steps, 8 November 2011.

In so many words blog review of The Adventures of Tartu, 8 November 2011.

My favourite film: The 39 Steps, by Saptarshi Ray, The Guardian, 24 November 2011.

The Great Ealing Film Challenge 31: Lease of Life (1954), Dr Keith M. Johnston, Lecturer in Film & Television Studies at the University of East Anglia, Huffington Post, 23 December 2011.

Knight Without Armor, Robert Donat, a rather nice overview of RD’s career, August 2012.

Obituary of Rosamund John, actress discovered by RD, who died 27 October 1998.

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Archives:

The Robert Donat Collection, The University of Bristol, UK. The Robert Donat Collection holds items that belonged to RD, including part books, scripts and photographs, which are related to his performances in Heartbreak House (Cambridge Theatre, London, 1942-1943), The Devil’s Disciple (Piccadilly Theatre, London & Old Vic Tour, 1938-1940), Murder in the Cathedral (Old Vic, London 1952-1953). There is also a collection of correspondence between himself and Tyrone Guthrie and George Bernard Shaw.

The Papers of Robert Donat, The University of Manchester, The John Rylands University Library. The archive contains personal and professional papers spanning the whole of RD’s life. It is particularly rich in correspondence (over 2,500 pieces) and photographs (nearly 2,500 prints), but it also includes: scripts for film, theatre, and radio (many of them annotated by RD); theatre and film programmes; theatre posters and other publicity material; an extensive series of press cuttings covering the whole of RD’s career; legal papers; and personal papers. In addition to the archive accumulated by RD himself, there is a series of executorship files relating to the winding up of his affairs, and a small quantity of general posthumous papers collected by his son John Donat.

The Donat Family Letters, The University of Manchester, The John Rylands University Library. The archive consists of over 200 letters sent to RD’s parents and brothers, all of whom settled in Canada and America. Most of the letters are from RD himself, although quite a large proportion sent during the period 1929-1946 were written by his first wife, Ella. There is also one letter from RD’s son John, written during his father’s final illness.

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Contemporary press and reviews of Robert Donat’s performances:

New York Times review of The Count of Monte Cristo, Andre Sennwald, 27 September 1934.

New York Times review of Men of Tomorrow, Andre Sennwald, 16 April 1935.

New York Times review of The 39 Steps, Andre Sennwald, 14 September 1935.

New York Times review of The Ghost Goes West, Andre Sennwald, 11 January 1936.

New York Times review of The Citadel, Frank S Nugent, 4 November 1938.

New York Times review of Goodbye Mr. Chips, Frank S Nugent, 16 May 1939.

New York Times review of The Young Mr Pitt, Bosley Crowther, 11 March 1943.

New York Times review of The Adventures of Tartu, 24 September 1943.

New York Times review of Perfect Strangers/Vacation from Marriage, Bosley Crowther, 15 March 1946.

New York Times review of Captain Boycott, Bosley Crowther, 6 December 1947.

Catholic Herald, 1 October 1948, The Winslow Boy, review by Grace Conway.

New York Times review of The Winslow Boy, Bosley Crowther, 7 June 1950.

New York Times review of The Magic Box, Bosley Crowther, 24 September 1952.

Tribune Magazine, 17 April 1953, Robert Donat’s return, by Richard Findlaker: review of RD’s performance in TS Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral at the Old Vic.

Gramophone, September 1953, review of the recording of Murder in the Cathedral.

New York Times review of Lease of Life, Bosley Crowther, 10 February 1956.

New York Times review of The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, Bosley Crowther, 14 December 1958.

Film Pictorial online: archive for Film Pictorial Magazine covers and online shop.

Picturegoer online: archive for Picturegoer Magazine covers and online shop.

Picture Show online: archive for Picture Show Magazine covers and online shop.

Gramophone Magazine reviews Robert Donat Reads Favourite Poems at Home.

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RD in Pathé News archive:

Click links to view archive videos at Pathé website

Art’s Tribute to Soviets 1943: RD contributed signed, annotated photograph to album

St Cecilia’s Day: London Church 1946: RD arriving at the church

The Queen meets the stars 1948: RD arriving at film premier with Glynis Johns

A Date with the Stars 1948: RD shown chatting at Savoy Hotel cocktail party

The Royal Silver Wedding 1948 (reel 1): narration by RD

Royal Tribute to British film 1951: includes footage of RD playing scene from The Magic Box

It’s possible to buy these clips for personal use (see the Pathé site).

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Recommended books:

Biographies:

There have been two biographies of Robert Donat, both authorised by his family, and published after his death. Both are currently out of print, but it is still possible to find copies at Amazon, Ebay and other sellers (shop around, as prices vary wildly).

Robert Donat by J.C. Trewin (Heinemann, 1968).

Mr Chips: Life of Robert Donat by Kenneth Barrow (Methuen, 1985).

Other books:

The Age of the Dream Palace, Cinema and Society 1930-1939, Jeffrey Richards (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984). Contains a chapter, The Romantic Adventurer: Robert Donat and Leslie Howard.

Playing to the Camera: Film Actors Discuss Their Craft, Burt Cardullo (Yale University Press, 2000). Contains an article written by RD, Film Acting.

This link lists books which it says contain substantial mention of RD. We are unable to vouch for the quality of their content as we haven’t (yet) read them. Many are available very cheaply from Amazon.

The Glass Slipper, Eleanor Farjeon, from the play of the same name by Eleanor and Herbert Farjeon, commissioned (and produced) by Robert Donat, performed at St James’ Theatre in 1944 and 45. The book contains a dedication to RD: ‘This story of the Fairy Play THE GLASS SLIPPER is dedicated with Eleanor and Bertie’s love to ROBERT DONAT the play’s Fairy-Godfather.’

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Related links:

James Hilton Society: James Hilton wrote Knight Without Armour and Goodbye, Mr Chips.

The Glasgow Story: James Bridie.

Madeleine Carroll fansite.

Interview with Duggie Chapman (24 November 2008) comedian, producer and variety performer, as part of the British Library Theatre Project. Mr Chapman’s first real experience of acting came when he was cast in The Cure for Love.

Walter Greenwood Collection, University of Salford. The collection includes manuscripts and/or typescripts of most of Greenwood’s published and unpublished works, working notes, plot outlines, proof copies (with corrections and amendments), and published editions. There is also correspondence from the 1930′s to the 1970′s (mainly relating to his work), photographs and a substantial body of press cuttings and reviews, interviews, and articles by or about Greenwood. The collection also includes material relating to theatre and film productions based on Greenwood’s work, as well as personal items which belonged to the author. Some of the numerous significant figures represented in the archive include Robert Donat, Thora Hird, Norman Wisdom and Edith Sitwell.

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