Where's the Movie About THIS Guy?
I had not heard of, or at least didn't recognize, Miles Mander until last year at the 2013 San Francisco Silent Film Festival and caught him in The First Born (1928), Mander wrote the novel and play the film was based on, and also starred in and directed the picture. In it, he plays wealthy, womanizing cad, Sir Hugo Boycott, whose marriage is falling apart due to (he would say) the inability of his wife to produce an heir. It could also be (as she might say) his poor character and selfishness.
And that's just the stamp of the many great Miles Mander characters without character he played so well throughout his career.
Mander was born into a well-to-do family of industrialists in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England. Not interested in following the family business of "industrialist," Mander went off to New Zealand after college (McGill University) and spent his twenties as a sheep farmer with an uncle. During the Great War, he served as an aviator, and upon his return, became a playwright and early film actor.
If that's not romantic and dashing enough for you, his first wife was an Indian princess, a daughter of a Bengali Maharajah, whose sister (another princess, obviously) married Mander's brother, Alan. I have no idea how or why that marriage dissolved, but think it would be a thrilling chapter in the film of this man's life that has yet to be made.
After the success of The First Born, Mander enjoyed a long career playing scheming neer-do-wells or disgraced British "wot-wot" types in British and American films. I was surprised to learn how many of his movies I'd seen; perhaps you will be too.
Miles Mander died of a heart attack while dining at the Brown Derby restaurant in 1946 at the age of 57.
Who wouldn't want to see that movie?!