He appeared in 84 films between 1926 and 1964, including five films directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Originally intending to be a mining engineer, he worked for two years in a coal mine in Yorkshire, where he started acting in amateur theatrical companies. An introduction to Seymour Hicks saw him start acting on the legitimate stage, beginning with a walk-on park in Old Bill, Member of Parliament. He played in My Old Dutch with Albert Chevalier, then spent time with the Liverpool and Birmingham repertory theatres.
He also appeared in The Farmer"s Wife, produced by Barry Jackson at the Court Theatre in London for two years.
About this time Longden began to appear in silent films. He signed contract with Gaumont British Pictures to write and act, earning a notable success with Alfred Hitchcock"s Blackmail (1929).
Longden went out to Australia in 1933 to perform in several plays. The performance was so well received Longden made two more films for the same company, Thoroughbred (1936) and lieutenant Isn"t Done (1937).
In 1934 it was announced that he was going to play the lead in an adaptation of Robbery Under Arms, but this film was never made.
The same year Longden also announced he was going to act in and direct an Australian film called Highway Romance, about an English man and Australian girl travelling from Sydney to Brisbane. A company called Highway Productions was formed with a capital of £10,000 but no film resulted. Later career
Longden returned to Britain where he continued to work steadily in theatre and film.
He appeared on several episodes of season one of The Adventures of Robin Hood playing various characters, and returned for one episode in season three.
He died in London, 26 May 1971.