Desert Gold (1919 film)

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Desert Gold
Desert Gold.jpg
Directed by Beaumont Smith
Produced by Beaumont Smith
E.J. Carroll[1]
Written by Beaumont Smith
Starring Marie Ney
Cinematography Lacey Percival
Beaumont Smith's Productions
Distributed by E.J. Carroll
Union Theatres
Release dates
  • March 24, 1919 (1919-03-24)
Running time
6 reels[2]
Country Australia
Language Silent

Desert Gold is a 1919 Australian horse racing melodrama from director Beaumont Smith starring the racehorse Desert Gold. It is considered to be a lost film.


John Forsythe and his trusty horse Desert Gold wander through the Australian outback, where Forsythe discovers a deposit of gold. A villain, Harrington, tries to steal Forsythe's claim, but is unsuccessful.

Years later, Forsythe owns substantial horse racing interests, which are run by trainer, Anderson, who has a daughter, Joan (Marie Ney). Forsythe has a new champion race horse, also known as Desert Gold (played by the real-life Desert Gold). Harrington knows his horse, Slippery Jane, has no chance against Desert Gold, so he plays Anderson at cards and gets him into debt. Joan discovers a wire across the training track set by Harrington's accomplices and manages to stop them hurting Desert Gold.

Harrington threatens to bankrupt Anderson so Joan offers to marry him. Forsythe ends up paying the debt and Joan is aged after a race between a motor car and a train to Katoomba. Harrington then lures Fortyhe to a lonely spot in the Blue Mountains and imprisons him, then sends a telegram in Forysthe's name scratching Desert Gold from the Cup and backs Slippery Jane. Forysthe manages to escape and flies to the city in time for the race. Desert Gold beats Slippery Jane, despite Harrington ordering an electric whip be used on his horse. [3][4]

The film also features fights on horseback in the desert and on the brink of Leura Falls in the Blue Mountains, the blowing up of a ship at sea, and a flight of an aeroplane.[5]



The film was shot in and around Sydney and at the air force base at Richmond, with desert scenes shot at Botany Bay.[5] Desert Gold was a famous racehorse from the time and several leading jockeys have cameos.[7] It was the film debut of actor Marie Ney who went on to have a significant career in Australian and England.


The film's release was delayed due to the 1918 flu pandemic.

Copies of the film were destroyed in a fire in 1925.[8]


  1. ^ Ross Cooper,"Filmography: Beaumont Smith", Cinema Papers, March-April 1976 p333
  2. ^ "THE WORLD Of PICTURES.". The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933) (Qld.: National Library of Australia). 22 March 1919. p. 10. Retrieved 17 May 2012. 
  3. ^ "WESTS PICTURES.". The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 13 November 1919. p. 8. Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "SPORT AND LOVE.". The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 11 November 1919. p. 8. Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 88.
  6. ^ ""DESERT GOLD" AT WEST'S.". The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 8 November 1919. p. 10. Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "RACING DRAMA AT WEST'S.". The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 14 November 1919. p. 9. Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  8. ^ "FILMS DESTROYED.". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 3 February 1925. p. 13. Retrieved 18 May 2012. 

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