Sir Francis Robert Benson (November 4, 1858 – December 31, 1939)
. . .
(Robert Donat; Bensonian, 1924 - 1928:)
"Benson's theatre sense was profound. Actors take years to learn the art of timing. No one I have ever worked with came anywhere near to his mastery of the art, pause and stress and tempo, and, above all, the spontaneous change of thought and feeling...
I shall never forget when I attempted Julius Caesar. He attacked me from the start saying that he was determined to rid me of my elocutionary habits. I have never been so annihilated, never less humiliated. There was no gainsaying this man ablaze with enthusiasm and purpose; there was no resisting the angelic smile which so often accompanied a critical thrust that cut the ground from under your feet. Presently he planted within you a sense of complete security on the sure and firm-set earth. He made you identify yourself with Shakespeare's meaning until you felt excitedly: 'Now I've got it. This is Caesar...'
Frank Benson was a great man. His greatness shone through him irresistibly even when his acting was bad. And his greatness was shot through with a wonderful benevolence that he never quite lost. Even in his Shylock, when he should have been most villainous, it shone from him like a halo."
(Mr. Chips: The Life of Robert Donat by Kenneth Barrow)