The Silence of Dean Maitland (1914 film)

The Silence of Dean Maitland is a 1914 Australian silent film directed by Raymond Longford. It is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Maxwell Gray which was later filmed by Ken G. Hall in 1934. It is considered a lost film.

The Silence of Dean Maitland
Directed byRaymond Longford
Written byRaymond Longford
Lewis Scott
Based onthe novel by Maxwell Gray
StarringHarry Thomas
Arthur Shirley
CinematographyTasman Higgins
Edited byTasman Higgins
Release date
13 June 1914
Running time
3,800 feet[1]
LanguageSilent film
English intertitles
Box office£5,000[3]


The Reverend Dean Maitland (Harry Thomas) falls for Alma Lee (Nellie Brooks) and impregnates her, despite being engaged to another woman. Alma's father attacks Maitland and Maitland accidentally kills him in the struggle. His best friend, Dr Henry Everard (Arthur Shirley) is convicted of the crime and sentenced to twenty years in gaol. When Everard is released he comes to Maitland's church. The Dean confesses his guilt publicly and collapses and dies.


  • Harry Thomas as Dean Maitland
  • Gwil Adams as Lilian, Cyril's sister
  • Nellie Brooks as Alma Lee
  • Ada Clyde as Mrs. Lee
  • Jack Goodall
  • Rebe Grey as Marion Maitland
  • Charles Keegan as Cyrill
  • Nellie Kemberman as Cyril's mother
  • Lottie Lyell as Marion Everhard
  • James Martin as Ben Lee
  • Arthur Shirley as Doctor Henry Everard
  • Little Tuppeny /Ellen Blood as Everard Maitland
  • Charles Villiers as Judkins


The movie was based on a play adaptation of the novel which had last appeared in Sydney in the 1890s.[4] Entirely set in England, it was shot on location in the grounds of Gladesville Mental Asylum in Sydney.[5] Shooting took place over 21 days.[6]

Harry Thomas, who played the leading role, was a noted elocutionist.[7] Raymond Longford later alleged that "the Combine" refused to let him film in their Rushcutters Bay Studio.[8]

The movie was reportedly one of the first to feature the close-up shot.[9] However this is not true.[1]


Colin Fraser secured the Palace Theatre in Sydney for the film's release. However the Combine threatened to cancel its supply of further films to the theatre, and other theatres, if they showed the film. Despite this the film was a considerable success at the box office.[8] It also enjoyed a popular release in the UK.[10]

The critic from the Sydney Morning Herald said that "the picture is well taken and the various roles are cleverly portrayed."[4] The Daily News said "the photographic and histrionic qualities of the production are excellent, the producer having not only kept closely to the text of the novel, but carefully selected his artists with a view to preserving the facial characteristics of the dramatis personae."[11] Other reviews were positive.[12]

Longford signed a two-year contract with Fraser Film Company to write films from May 1914 at £1,000 a year. This adaptation of The Silence of Dean Maitland was the first script Longford submitted. Afterwards however Fraser elected to pull out of the contract at the suggestion of exhibitor Henry Gee of Australasian Films. Longford tried to sue Gee for ₤1,000 for helping procure breach of contract but was not successful. He appealed the decision, but the court found against him again.[13] The battle hurt Longford's career for a time – he made two short films, then had to leave for New Zealand to get finance.


  1. "Raymond Longford", Cinema Papers, January 1974 p51
  2. Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 51.
  3. "Advertising". The Brisbane Courier. National Library of Australia. 22 July 1920. p. 4. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  4. ""THE SILENCE OF DEAN MAITLAND."". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 10 June 1914. p. 17. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  5. "AMUSEMENTS". The Mercury. Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 24 August 1914. p. 8. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  6. The bulletin, John Haynes and J.F. Archibald, 1880, retrieved 31 May 2018
  7. "AMUSEMENTS". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 10 September 1918. p. 8. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
  8. Graham Shirley and Brian Adams, Australian Cinema: The First Eighty Years, Currency Press 1989 p 35
  9. "EARLY AUSTRALIAN FILMS". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 29 January 1934. p. 6. Retrieved 6 February 2012.
  10. "MOVIE "HEAVY" CHATS LIGHTLY". Winner. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 22 December 1915. p. 12. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  11. ""THE SILENCE OF DEAN MAITLAND."". The Daily News. Perth: National Library of Australia. 2 November 1914. p. 4 Edition: THIRD EDITION. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  12. "Advertising". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 11 June 1914. p. 2. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  13. "LAW REPORT". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 6 November 1914. p. 5. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
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