Robbery Under Arms (1957 film)

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Robbery Under Arms
Directed by Jack Lee
Produced by Joseph Janni
Written by Alexander Baron
W.P. Lipscomb
Based on novel by Rolf Boldrewood
Starring Peter Finch
Ronald Lewis
Music by Matyas Seiber
Cinematography Harry Waxman
Edited by Manuel Del Campo
Production
company
Release dates
October 1957
Running time
104 minutes
Language English

Robbery Under Arms is a 1957 British crime film directed by Jack Lee and starring Peter Finch, Ronald Lewis, Laurence Naismith and Jill Ireland.[1] It is based on the Australian novel Robbery Under Arms by Thomas Alexander Browne.

Synopsis[edit]

In 1865 Australia, the two Marston brothers, bold Dick and sensitive Jim, are drawn into a life of crime by their ex-convict father Ben and his friend, the famous cattle thief Captain Starlight . They help take some cattle their father and Starlight have stolen across the country to Adelaide, where they are sold with Starlight impersonating an English gentleman.

The two brothers take their share of the money and go to Melbourne. On board ship they meet the Morrison sisters, greedy Kate and nice Jean, who are romanced by Dick and Jim respectively. They read that Starlight has been arrested, and return home, where they and their father narrowly escape arrest.

The brothers are then reunited with Starlight, who has left prison, and join him and some other men in robbing a coach, in which a trooper is shot and killed. Dick and Jim go to the gold fields to make enough money to escape to America. There they are reunited with Kate, who is married but is still interested in Dick, and Jean, who Jim marries.

Just as the brothers are about to leave to start a new life, Captain Starlight and his gang (including Ben Marston) arrive to rob the local bank. During the robbery several people are killed by Starlight's gang (although not by Starlight), including a child. Jim Marston is captured by locals and is about to be lynched but rescued by a trooper who comes to arrest him. Dick rescues Jim from the trooper. but is killed in the attempt.

Jim hides out with Starlight and his father but misses his wife too much and goes back to see her. Starlight and Ben Marston are killed in a shoot out with police. Jim Marston is arrested.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Ealing Studios had planned to make the movie after The Overlanders (1946) and Eureka Stockade (1949), and they hired William Lipscomb to do the script.[3] Gregory Peck at one stage was announced as a possible star.[4]

Ken G. Hall wanted to direct. However plans to make the film were hampered by the closing of Pagewood Studios.[5]

Then in the mid 1950s the success that director Jack Lee had with Peter Finch making the Australian-themed A Town Like Alice (1956) made them an ideal team to make the movie.

Peter Finch had made The Shiralee (1957) in Australia immediately before.

Shooting[edit]

Shooting began in January 1957 on location in Australia at the Flinders Ranges, South Australia and near Bourke, New South Wales, with two days filming at Pagewood Studios. In April the unit moved to London where interiors and exteriors were shot at Pinewood studios in London.[6][7]

During the making of the film, on-screen couple David McCallum and Jill Ireland fell in love off screen as well, and married once they returned to England.[8]

Reception[edit]

The film was popular at the Australian box office although reviews were poor.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/48591
  2. ^ "Aboriginal actor visits London.". The Australian Women's Weekly (1933–1982) (1933–1982: National Library of Australia). 19 June 1957. p. 39. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  3. ^ "FILM WORLD WEATHER IN AUSTRALIA DISAPPOINTS STUDIO.". The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954) (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 3 November 1949. p. 16. Retrieved 14 February 2012. 
  4. ^ "News from studios.". The Australian Women's Weekly (1933–1982) (1933–1982: National Library of Australia). 24 November 1954. p. 20. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  5. ^ "Decision a blow to film industry.". The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 - 1954) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 26 January 1952. p. 2. Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "BUSHRANGING CLASSIC.". The Australian Women's Weekly (1933–1982) (1933–1982: National Library of Australia). 19 June 1957. p. 40. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 225
  8. ^ "A REBEL GETS ANGRY.". The Australian Women's Weekly (1933–1982) (1933–1982: National Library of Australia). 20 August 1958. p. 73. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 

External links[edit]