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Opinions of Esmond

“... Mr Esmond Knight, as the Marquess of Dorset, reminded us more of the football field than a royal palace.”

James Agate - reviewing Richard III, the Old Vic Theatre, 1926

(Esmond's first ever notice)

“But the performance which moved me most was that of Mr Knight, who never batted an eyelid during the evening.”

James Agate - reviewing To What Red Hell, Gate Theatre, London, 1928

(...having previously commented on the 'hysterical vigour' of the leading actor, Frederick Peiseley)

“I admire Mr Knight’s courage in affecting so much crepe hair, but unless I am mistaken he has

the makings of an actor.”

James Agate - reviewing Contraband, the Prince's Theatre, London, 1928

"The young man who played her (Betty Stockfield's) brother in the film was a real find. He was a sulky, handsome young man with a mane of black hair and magnetic eyes. He was almost too romantically handsome to be true. Then one day I saw him giggling with one of the sound engineers and I realised that it was all a pose and he had a sense of humour. He was not tall but I felt he had star potential. His name was Esmond Knight." 

Michael Powell - on meeting Esmond for the first time whilst filming 77 Park Lane, 1931

(quoted from Powell's autobiography, A Life In Movies)

".... and Mr. Esmond Knight is justly repulsive as the Parasite and justly

authoritative and heartless as the Engineer Ant."

Richard Prentis - reviewing The Insect Play, Playhouse Theatre, London, 1936

"Dear Miss Swinburne, I have typed out the enclosed letter exactly as my friend Esmond Knight has dictated it to me in the sick bay on board here last night. I am afraid he has lost one eye, as he was wounded while in action the day before yesterday. The other eye is damaged, the doctor on board says it might not be impaired. He is awfully full of good spirits and the pluckiest chap I've met. I cannot tell you how sorry the whole ship's company is to know of his loss, on the other hand he is lucky to be alive at all as things turned out. Forgive this note of explanation but I told Esmond I would try and explain why the letter was typed. Yours truly, George Ferguson."

Lieutenant Commander George Ferguson - letter to Nora Swinburne typed on board

HMS Prince of Wales shortly after the Battle of Denmark Strait - May 1941

"He was wonderful. He insisted that none of us should pay any attention to his blindness. He spent hours learning every corner and distance of the sets on the stage, so that he could move freely and play his part as though he had no handicap at all".

Evelyn Laye - on working with Esmond in Three Waltzes, Palace Theatre, April 1945

"If you can judge a man by his friends, Esmond Knight must be a really delightful person."

W. Stanley Moss - reviewing Esmond's This Is Your Life programme, February 1957

"Eric Thompson supplies the hero with all the wistful charm his author has wished on him, Margery Mason adds another to her individualised line of ineffectual mothers, and Esmond Knight's stumpy talent, too often expended on sub-Dickensian grotesques, is marvellously matched to the father."

Robert Cushman - reviewing The Black Swan Winter, at the Hampstead Theatre Club,

in the magazine Plays and Players, July 1969

"Knight had something special to offer. It is not often that an actor of his high quality can be found who is ready to play those small parts often to be found in classical drama which are not now thought to be worth a leading actor's while and yet need to be very well acted."

W.A. Darlington - drama critic, quoted in The Daily Telegraph's obituary

of Esmond published on 26th February 1987

"I remember seeing Esmond Knight several times on stage - at the Old Vic when it was

the home of the National Theatre. Other actors would discretely make sure that he was

at the right spot on stage. He was indeed a fine actor."

Mary Reid - Kingston-Upon-Thames, February 2006

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