John Francis Dillon

QUESTION:  The American film director and actor John Francis Dillon was the brother of Robert Dillon.  What was Robert's profession during the early-twentieth century?
A)  He was an investment banker
B)  He ran a large steel factory
C)  He was president of an automatic music company
D)  He was a film director and screenwriter

As the American Treasure Tour blog continues our exploration not only of silent film, but specifically the 1926 silent film Love's Blindness, which is proudly acknowledged among the collection in our Music Room, we wanted to draw your attention to one of the film's major, but often overlooked, players:  its director.  The actors are the face of a movie, but without a strong director with a vision, it is unlikely that the movie will have staying power.  In this case, the director was a surprisingly prolific auteur named John Francis Dillon.

John Francis Dillon directed a substantial catalog of films during the silent era - over one hundred and thirty of them between 1914 and 1934, including 1926's Love Blindness.  Born in 1884, he was thirty years old when he first stepped foot behind the camera.  That was not his first experience in film, though.  He first entered the film world in 1911 for The Chief's Daughter, as an actor.  For over twenty years, he smoothly moved between both jobs, although he is best remembered today as a director.  He created melodramas, comedies, musicals, and whatever the studio he worked for at the time set forth for him.  Some of his standout films include:  1923's Flaming Youth (a poster for which is on display in the collection), The Perfect Flapper the next year, and The Pagan Lady from 1931.  He worked with some of the most famous actors of his day, prior to his fatal heart attack at the age of 49 in 1934.

ANSWER:  D)  He was a film director and screenwriter.  Like his big brother John Francis, Robert directed films, but was a much more accomplished screenwriter, having been involved in the creation of over eighty screenplays.