Montagu Love: The Montagu You Love to Hate

Character actor Montagu Love (1877-1943) specialized in villains throughout his 180 film career. I just watched him again the other night in one of his better remembered performances — he’s the Bishop of the Black Canons in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). A native of Portsmouth England he began his career as a newspaper illustrator (in the days before photos were the default), and came over to the U.S. in 1913 on a theatrical tour after a few years on the west end. His Broadway career lasted two decades; his screen career, three. He played the title character in Rasputin, the Mad Monk (1917), and Colonel Ibbetson in Forever the 1921 screen adaptation Ibsen’s Peter Ibbetson, and was also in Hands Up! with Raymond Griffith, Son of the Sheik with Valentino, and Don Juan with John Barrymore, all in 1926, as well as The Noose with Richard Barthelemess, The Wind with Lillian Gish, and The Haunted House with Thelma Todd, all 1928. Notable talkies included The Cat Creeps (1930), George Arliss’s Alexander Hamilton (1931), Clive of India (1935), One in a Million (1936), The Prince and the Pauper (1937), The Life of Emile Zola (1927), The Prisoner of Zenda (1937), The Buccaneer (1938), Professor Beware (1938), Gunga Din (1939), The Sea Hawk (1940), The Mark of Zorro (1940), and The Devil and Miss Jones (1941). His last role was the father of the three Bronte Sisters in Devotion (1946), released nearly 3 years after his death.

To learn more about show business history, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, and for more on silent film please read Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.