b. 2 August 1881 Streatham, London, England
d. 19 September 1939, Hertfordshire, England


Married Lieutenant Colonel Gerald T. Savage in 1922

Ethel M. Dell was one of the most popular novelists of the 1910s and 1920s. Her first novel, The Way of an Eagle, was published in 1911 and this and her subsequent novels and short story collections were bestsellers.

The Way of an Eagle was made into a film by G. B. Samuelson in 1918, followed by an American version of The Safety Curtain (also 1918), starring and produced by Norma Talmadge. The largest number of Dell adaptations were produced by the British Stoll Film Company/Stoll Picture Productions, however. Stoll secured the rights to large number of her works and was eager to keep its popular author happy. Director Maurice Elvey recalled that Dell was ‘more concerned with holding some authority over the script […] than with the money she was going to make out of it’ (Denis Gifford, 1997, p. 119). Scenarios were duly submitted to the reclusive author for approval. The first of Stoll’s Dell adaptations was The Rocks of Valpre (1919), directed by Elvey, and a further 17 films were made by 1922. Titles included The Swindler (1919), scripted by Kate Gurney, and Greatheart (1921), which was adapted by Mrs Sidney Groome. (NM)

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Janice Healey

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