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Robbery Under Arms (1907 film)

Robbery Under Arms is a 1907 Australian silent western/drama film based on the novel by Rolf Boldrewood about two brothers and their relationship with the bushranger Captain Starlight.[4] It was the first film version of the novel and the third Australian feature ever made.[6]

Robbery Under Arms
Directed byCharles MacMahon
Written byCharles MacMahon
Based onnovel by Rolf Boldrewood
StarringJim Gerald
CinematographyC. Byers Coates[1]
Release date
1 October 1907[2]
Running time
5,000 feet (over 60 min.)[3]
CountryAustralia
LanguageSilent film
English intertitles
Budget£1,000[4][5]

It is considered a lost film.[4]

It is not to be confused with another version of the novel that came out the same year.[7][8]

SynopsisEdit

Key scenes of the film included the branding of the stolen cattle by the Marstons, the stealing of the horse 'Marquis of Lorne', the capture of Starlight and Dick Marston, the robbery of the mail coach, the bail up of the gold escort, the sticking up of Whitmans', the attack on Keightley station, the ride of Mrs Keightley to raise the ransom, the escape from Berrima Gaol and Starlight's last stand.[9]

CastEdit

  • J Williams as Starlight[10]
  • Jim Gerald ("S. Fitzgerald") as Warrigal[10]
  • Mrs W.J. Ogle as Mrs Keighley
  • George Merriman as warder
  • Lance Vane as Inspector of Police
  • William Duff as trooper
  • Arthur Guest as curate
  • Rhoda Dendron

ProductionEdit

Charles MacMahon made the movie after working for five years in New Zealand. It seems likely that the script was taken directly from the novel, and not any stage adaptation of the book (which was the case with the 1911 version, Captain Starlight, or Gentleman of the Road).[2][11]

Shooting took place over six weeks with a cast of twenty five.[12] Locations included Narrabeen, Hornsby, Moss Vale, Wollongong racecourse, Bathurst, the Turon, and Flemington sale yards, among other places.[10]

The cinematographer was C Byers Coates, who worked for the film firm of Osborne and Jerdan. Coates shot 10,000 feet of film all up which was later processed at Osborne and Jerdan's premises in George Street, Sydney.[3][13]

The budget has been given as £900[10] or £1,000.[14]

The role of Warrigal, the aboriginal tracker, was played by Jim Gerald who later became a major vaudeville star; it was one of his few film roles.[15] (He may have been billed as "Fitzgerald".)[10]

ReceptionEdit

The movie was often shown on a double bill with a live vaudeville show, sometimes with two actors dressed up in costume.[16]

It was a popular success at the box-office, seen by 30,000 people in Sydney ("hundreds turned away"[17]) and ran for 12 weeks in Melbourne during its initial season.[18][19] It ran in cinemas for three years.[20]

The critic for the West Australian said that "some of the bush scenes are very beautiful, and at the same time intensely interesting. Mrs. Keightley's ride to Bathurst in quest of the ransom for her husband's life and the "sticking up" of the Engowra gold escort were realistic items."[21]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ ""ROBBERY UNDER ARMS."". The Northern Star. Lismore, NSW. 14 January 1908. p. 2. Retrieved 24 August 2013 – via National Library of Australia.
  2. ^ a b ""ROBBERY UNDER ARMS."". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2 October 1907. p. 12. Retrieved 24 August 2013 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ a b "MORRIS' SUMMER GARDENS". Kalgoorlie Miner. WA. 7 January 1908. p. 6. Retrieved 24 August 2013 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ a b c Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 7-8
  5. ^ "Advertising." The Sydney Morning Herald 7 Nov 1907: 2
  6. ^ "PICTURE PROFILES IN THE OLDEN DAYS". Winner. Melbourne. 9 February 1916. p. 11. Retrieved 26 October 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ ""ROBBERY UNDER ARMS."". The West Australian. Perth. 24 December 1907. p. 9. Retrieved 18 June 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ "PICTURE PROFILES IN THE OLDEN DAYS". Winner (Melbourne). Melbourne. 9 February 1916. p. 11. Retrieved 18 June 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  9. ^ "OXFORD.—"ROBBERY UNDER ARMS."". The Sydney Morning Herald. 11 November 1907. p. 7. Retrieved 24 August 2013 – via National Library of Australia.
  10. ^ a b c d e "THE STRUTTER'S PAGE". The Newsletter: an Australian Paper for Australian People. Sydney. 19 October 1907. p. 3. Retrieved 24 August 2013 – via National Library of Australia.
  11. ^ Fotheringham, Richard, "Introduction", Robbery Under Arms by Alfred Dampier and Garnet Walch, Currency Press 1985 p58
  12. ^ "ROBBERY UNDER ARMS" The Sydney Morning Herald 21 Sep 1907: 16
  13. ^ "GENERAL GOSSIP". The Referee. Sydney. 30 October 1907. p. 12. Retrieved 18 June 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  14. ^ "Advertising". Kalgoorlie Miner. WA. 4 January 1908. p. 6. Retrieved 24 August 2013 – via National Library of Australia.
  15. ^ "TO APPEAR IN BRITISH FILMS". The West Australian. Perth. 2 April 1935. p. 17. Retrieved 24 August 2013 – via National Library of Australia.
  16. ^ "Amusements". The Chronicle. Adelaide. 2 November 1907. p. 47. Retrieved 18 June 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  17. ^ "Advertising". The Referee. Sydney. 20 November 1907. p. 12. Retrieved 24 August 2013 – via National Library of Australia.
  18. ^ "Advertising". The Barrier Miner. Broken Hill, NSW. 14 May 1908. p. 3. Retrieved 24 August 2013 – via National Library of Australia.
  19. ^ "Advertising". Kalgoorlie Miner. WA. 15 February 1908. p. 8. Retrieved 24 August 2013 – via National Library of Australia.
  20. ^ Graham Shirley and Brian Adams, Australian Cinema: The First Eighty Years, Currency Press, 1989 p 26.
  21. ^ "ENTERTAINMENTS". The West Australian. Perth. 17 January 1908. p. 6. Retrieved 24 August 2013 – via National Library of Australia.

External linksEdit