Bushranger's Ransom, or A Ride for Life
|Bushranger's Ransom, or A Ride for Life|
|Directed by||Mrs E. I. Cole|
|Based on||play by E. I. Cole|
|Starring||E. I. Cole's Bohemian Dramatic Company|
|Distributed by||Pathe Freres|
|28 March 1911|
Bushranger's Ransom, or A Ride for Life is an Australian film starring the Bohemia Dramatic Company of E. I. Cole. It is adapted from a stage play about a real-life raid by bushranger Ben Hall on the Keightley household near Bathurst in 1863.
It reportedly features the first Australian aboriginal actor in a film.
It is considered a lost film.
In 1863 Ben Hall and his men, Johnny Gilbert, John O'Meally, John Vane and Rick Burke hide out at their camp at the Black Stump, close to Rockley, over looking the Bathurst-road. Their guard is the aboriginal Mulga Fred.
After a successful raid upon Bathurst, Hall discovers that the gold commissioner at Dunn's Plains, near Rockley (about 30 miles from Bathurst), had determined to break up the gang.
Hall led a raid on Keightley's house. Warned by his son, Cyril, of the bushrangers' approach, Mr. Keightley accompanied by his wife and a friend, Dr. Pechey, barricaded themselves in the house, where they resisted for six hours.
The bushrangers drew straws to see who should blow the lock of the door open. The loser was Mick Bourke who was accidentally shot by a comrade. In his pain he asked to be put out of his misery and Ben Hall did so.
Eventually the defenders surrender, their ammunition having run out. John Vane wanted to shoot Keightley in revenge for Bourke but Hall refuses to do so. Hall and his men spend the night at the homestead.
Hall offers to spare Mr Keightley's life if he can raise £500 and gives his wife eight hours to ride 62 miles to Bathurst to collect the money from her father at the bank. She manages to accomplish this just before the bushrangers are about to shoot Keightley, and Hall leaves the homestead with the Keightleys alive.
- Ben Hall, Chief of the Bushranging Gang, 26;
- Johnnie Gilbert, a Bushranger, 20;
- John O'Meally, a Bushranger, 22;
- John Vane, a Bushranger, 19;
- Mike Rourke, a Bushranger; 24;
- Mulga Fred, an aboriginal;
- Mr Keightley, Gold Commissioner;
- Mrs Keightley, his wife;
- Cyril Keightley, their son;
- Dr Pechey, a friend;
- Bushrangers, servants.
- Mulga Fred – "the first Australian aboriginal actor to appear in a photoplay"
- William Keightley – son of the real life Keightley
The play had been performed throughout Australia by Cole's Bohemian Dramatic Company.
According to contemporary advertisements, "all the pictures were taken on the spot, and are an exact representation of the actual occurrences."
Mulga Freddie, who appeared in the film, was an aboriginal buckjumper of the time who frequently appeared in touring shows. The movie also starred William Keightley, son of the real life Keightley.
The Advertiser called the film "a .capital representation of the play, which portrays a striking and thrilling episode in the career of Ben Hall."
- "AMUSEMENTS". The Advertiser. Adelaide. 6 April 1911. p. 8. Retrieved 30 November 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Advertising". The Sunday Times. Sydney. 26 March 1911. p. 1. Retrieved 2 December 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Advertising". The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers' Advocate. Parramatta, NSW. 29 March 1911. p. 3. Retrieved 2 December 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
- "ALDRIDGE'S PICTURES." The Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW) 10 June 1911: 5, accessed 28 December 2011
- Penzig, Edgar F., 'Hall, Ben (1837–1865)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, accessed 11 January 2012
- "Advertising". The Brisbane Courier. 3 April 1911. p. 2. Retrieved 2 December 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
- Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 17.
- ""A RACE FOR A LIFE,"". The Queensland Times (DAILY ed.). 1 April 1911. p. 4. Retrieved 2 December 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
- "AMUSEMENTS". Huon Times. Franklin, Tas. 28 January 1914. p. 3. Retrieved 2 December 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
- "HAYMARKET HIPPODROME". The Referee. Sydney. 8 May 1907. p. 12. Retrieved 2 December 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
- "DRAMATIC NOTES". The Australasian. Melbourne. 1 February 1908. p. 26. Retrieved 2 December 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
- For a different synopsis see "COLES DRAMATIC COMPANY". Geelong Advertiser. 16 July 1913. p. 5. Retrieved 30 November 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
- "MULGA FREDDIE". The Horsham Times. Vic. 9 January 1948. p. 8. Retrieved 2 December 2014 – via National Library of Australia.