Cinema: The Matinee Idol

When motion pictures began to speak, more than one star of the silent screen, e.g., Corinne Griffith, John Gilbert, turned out to have a boondocks twang or a reedy pitch, and was never heard from again. But to Ronald Colman, whose English accent and pleasingly low register were envied from Metro to Paramount, the coming of sound meant second wind for one of the cinema's longest and most unvaryingly successful careers.

Born in Surrey in 1891, the son of a silk importer, Ronald Colman first headed for an engineering degree at Cambridge, but he...

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