Robbery Under Arms (1907 film)

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Robbery Under Arms
Directed by Charles MacMahon
Written by Charles MacMahon
Based on novel by Rolf Boldrewood
Starring Jim Gerald
Cinematography C. Byers Coates[1]
Distributed by Tait brothers
Release date(s) 1 October 1907[2]
Running time 5,000 feet (over 60 min.)[3]
Country Australia
Language Silent film
English intertitles
Budget £1,000[4][5]

Robbery Under Arms is a 1907 Australian silent 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.

It is considered a lost film.[4]

Synopsis[edit]

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.[6]

Cast[edit]

  • J Williams as Starlight[7]
  • Jim Gerald ("S. Fitzgerald") as Warrigal[7]
  • 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

Production[edit]

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][8]

Shooting took place over six weeks with a cast of twenty five.[9] Locations included Narrabeen, Hornsby, Moss Vale, Wollongong racecourse, Bathurst, the Turon, and Flemington sale yards, among other places.[7]

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]

The budget has been given as £900[7] or £1,000.[10]

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.[11] (He may have been billed as "Fitzgerald"[7]

Reception[edit]

The movie was often shown on a double bill with a live vaudeville show. It was a popular success at the box-office, seen by 30,000 people in Sydney ("hundreds turned away"[12]) and ran for 12 weeks in Melbourne during its initial season.[13][14] It ran in cinemas for three years.[15]

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."[16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ ""ROBBERY UNDER ARMS.".". Northern Star (Lismore, NSW : 1876 - 1954) (Lismore, NSW: National Library of Australia). 14 January 1908. p. 2. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  2. ^ a b ""ROBBERY UNDER ARMS.".". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 2 October 1907. p. 12. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "MORRIS' SUMMER GARDENS.". Kalgoorlie Miner (WA : 1895 - 1950) (WA: National Library of Australia). 7 January 1908. p. 6. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  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. ^ "OXFORD.—"ROBBERY UNDER ARMS.".". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 11 November 1907. p. 7. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "THE STRUTTER'S PAGE.". The Newsletter: an Australian Paper for Australian People (Sydney, NSW : 1900 - 1918) (Sydney, NSW: National Library of Australia). 19 October 1907. p. 3. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  8. ^ Fotheringham, Richard, "Introduction", Robbery Under Arms by Alfred Dampier and Garnet Walch, Currency Press 1985 p58
  9. ^ "ROBBERY UNDER ARMS" The Sydney Morning Herald 21 Sep 1907: 16
  10. ^ "Advertising.". Kalgoorlie Miner (WA : 1895 - 1950) (WA: National Library of Australia). 4 January 1908. p. 6. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  11. ^ "TO APPEAR IN BRITISH FILMS.". The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954) (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 2 April 1935. p. 17. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  12. ^ "Advertising.". Referee (Sydney, NSW : 1886 - 1939) (Sydney, NSW: National Library of Australia). 20 November 1907. p. 12. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  13. ^ "Advertising.". Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954) (Broken Hill, NSW: National Library of Australia). 14 May 1908. p. 3. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  14. ^ "Advertising.". Kalgoorlie Miner (WA : 1895 - 1950) (WA: National Library of Australia). 15 February 1908. p. 8. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  15. ^ Graham Shirley and Brian Adams, Australian Cinema: The First Eighty Years, Currency Press, 1989 p 26.
  16. ^ "ENTERTAINMENTS.". The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954) (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 17 January 1908. p. 6. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 

External links[edit]