'Bored nobleman acts as fairy godmother to rustic lovers -- Clever acting in artistic production of early Victorian romance -- Delightful Scottish settings and good photography.'
Synopsis: 'Suffering from the effects of too much money and leisure, the indolent Viscount Ipsden sails in his yacht to a Scottish fishing village, where his attention is attracted by Christie Johnstone, a beautiful fisher-girl who has become engaged to Charles Gatty, a struggling London artist. At Christie's secret request, Ipsden generously gives Gatty a big commission, with the object of enabling the latter to pay off his debts and get married. Christie's warm thanks to Ipsden for his kindness are misinterpreted by Gatty and his mother who, shocked by the supposed fickleness of Christie, forces her son to leave the village. Unable to bear the separation, Gatty leaps overboard and attempts to swim ashore, but is caught in a dangerous current. The local fishermen refuse to take out a boat, so Ipsden and Christie go to the rescue. A general reconciliation follows Christie's explanation of her behaviour, whilst Ipsden finds happiness with his cousin, who, moved by his manly deeds, at last consents to marry him.'
Review: 'Delightful early Victorian characterisation and many beautiful Scottish fishing village settings distinguish this careful and artistic version of Charles Reade's novel. Although its dramatic possibilities have not, perhaps, been fully developed, the story flows easily in alternate scenes of pretty, if conventional, sentiment and natural humour. The acting is well above the average, and the production, as a whole, reflects the highest credit upon Normand MacDonald, the producer, who has been particularly successful in creating and preserving consistently the distinctive atmosphere of the period.
'In a remote Scottish fishing village, the wealthy Viscount Ipsden seeks to carry out his doctor's prescription that he shall "make acquaintance with all the people of low estate who have time to be bothered with him". How he acts as fairy godmother to a pretty fishergirl and her artist lover forms the subject of the plot which is clearly and smoothly told. The lovers' misunderstanding and the rescue of Gatty by his plucky sweetheart are situations of which a good deal more might have been made. Although inclined to lack punch, however, the human interest of the story has been well brought out by both producer and players.
'In a long and strong cast there are many unusually excellent performances, including those of Stewart Rome as the indolent Viscount, Clive Brook as an absurd fop of the period (a real gem of character humour), Gertrude McCoy, a pretty Christie, and R. Gordon Craig as the impassioned young artist. Mention must also be made of the brief but brilliant sketch of the Viscount's plain-spoken old doctor by an actor whose name is not given, but whose work elicited a well deserved round of applause from the Trade Show audience.
'Most of the action passes in admirably chosen exteriors made at Auchmithie, Forfarshire. Wonderful local types are introduced with great effect, while the photography is good throughout.
'Unusual both in its atmosphere and its characterisation, "Christie Johnstone" is a noteworthy British film which will undoubtedly please average and better-class audiences.'