The Life of Rufus Dawes
|The Life of Rufus Dawes|
|Directed by||Alfred Rolfe|
|Produced by||Charles Cozens Spencer|
|Written by||Alfred Rolfe|
|Based on||Alfred Dampier (play)
For the Term of His Natural Life (novel) by Marcus Clarke
|Editing by||Ernest Higgins|
|Release date(s)||19 June 1911|
|Running time||4,000 feet|
The film was the last of three movies Alfred Rolfe directed for Charles Cozens Spencer, all of them based on popular stage adaptations by Alfred Dampier of famous novel and starring Rolfe, his wife Lily Dampier and Raymond Longford. The others were Captain Midnight, the Bush King (1911) and Captain Starlight, or Gentleman of the Road (1911). Rolfe then left Spencer to work for the Australian Photo-Play Company under Stanley Crick.
The film was divided into sections:
- ENGLAND - the murder of Sir Richard Devine by Rex for which Devine's son Dick is falsely accused. Parson North denounces Rex.
- VAN DIEMEN'S LAND - the convict settlement at Hell's Gate; life on the chain gang; Gabbet's escape and capture; Chaplain North gives the convicts tobacco; Major Vickers announces the move to Port Arthur; the attack and the departure.
- THE MUTINY - the Osprey overtaken by convicts, the mutineers maroon the survivors
- MAROONED - two weeks later Rufus Dawes saved by Sylvia Vickers. Three months later Major Vickers' search for the castaways and Mrs Vickers dies. Lt Frere accuses Rufus Dawes of the crime.
- PORT ARTHUR - Dawes escapes, Sylvia Vickers failrs to recognise him at first but then it comes back. Lady Devine arrives to see her son.
- THE END - convicts confess and Rufus Dawes gets a pardon.
- Alfred Rolfe as Rufus Dawes
- Lily Dampier
- Raymond Longford as Gabbett
- Lottie Lyell
- Stanley Walpole
- Augustus Neville
Original Play 
|For the Term of His Natural Life|
|Written by||Alfred Dampier|
|Date premiered||6 October 1888|
|Place premiered||Alexandra Theatre, Melbourne|
The film was based on a stage play adaptation of the novel which Dampier wrote in the 1880s. It originally ran for only a week at the Alexandra Theatre in Melbourne, and had an unsuccessful revival there in 1890 and in Sydney in 1893.
Dampier later worked on another version with Thomas Walker which had a more successful run in Sydney in 1895. Alfred Dampier's last performance on stage was as Reverend North in a production of the play on 10 November 1905.
It is likely the film was retitled to avoid confusion with another movie version of the novel that had been released in 1908.
- "Raymond Longford", Cinema Papers, January 1974 p51
- Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998,21
- "Advertising." Examiner (Launceston) 23 Jan 1912: 1 accessed 26 November 2011
- Fotheringham, p25, 32
- Fotheringham p 49
- Fotheringham p 55
- Fotheringham p58
- Fotheringham, Richard, "Introduction", Robbery Under Arms by Alfred Dampier and Garnet Walch, Currency Press 1985
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