Fisher's Ghost (film)

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Fisher's Ghost
Directed by Raymond Longford
Produced by Lottie Lyell
Charles Perry
Written by Raymond Longford[1]
Lottie Lyell
Cinematography Arthur Higgins
Studio Longford-Lyell Productions
Distributed by Hoyts
Release dates 4 October 1924
Running time 55 minutes (5000 feet)[2]
Country Australia
Language Silent film
English intertitles
Budget ₤1,000[3]

Fisher's Ghost is a 1924 Australian silent film directed by Raymond Longford based on the legend of Fisher's Ghost. It is considered a lost film.

Synopsis[edit]

The film is set in 1820s New South Wales. Two transported convicts,George Worrall and Frederick Fisher, are released and take up farms at Campbelltown. They are both successful and become friends. Worrall persuades Fisher to go on a trip to England and says he will manage Fisher's farm. A few months later, Worrall goes to an estate agent with a letter from Fisher saying that he has decided to stay in England and has instructed Worrall to sell his farm.

In 1826, a settler called Farley sees an apparition who purports to be Fisher sitting on a three rail fence. This apparition claims he was been murdered by Worrall and later indicates where Fisher's body lays. Worrall is arrested at his wedding to a girl who does not return his affections. He is tried, convicted and sentenced to death. He eventually confesses to the crime.[4][5]

Cast[edit]

  • Robert Purdie as George Worrall
  • Fred Twitcham as Fisher
  • Lorraine Esmond
  • Percy Walshe
  • William Ryan
  • Ted Ayr
  • William Coulter
  • Charles Keegan
  • Ruby Dellew
  • Ada St. Claire
  • Charlotte Beaumont
  • Ike Beck

Production[edit]

Raymond Longford and Lottie Lyell, in association with Charles Perry, formed a new company together: Longford-Lyell Productions. Fisher's Ghost marks the production company's first film.[6][7] It was shot on location in Campbelltown, and Longford sought the advice of Campbelltown residents and also explored the records on the subject from the local Mitchell Library.[7] The film was completed by August 1924.[6][7] Fisher's Ghost, The Bushwhackers (1925), and Peter Vernon's Silence (1925) were the only three films produced by Longford-Lyell Productions as the company had already entered liquidation in June 1924, even before the film's release.[8][9] Although Lottie Lyell and Raymond Longford created many films together, Fisher's Ghost and The Bushwhackers are the only films for which Lyell received credit as scriptwriter and assistant director before her death from tuberculosis in 1925.[10]

Reception[edit]

The film is attributed to being one of the earliest and influential Australian horror films,[11] paving the way for the resurgence of the genre in the 1970s after the Australian government began funding their movie industry.[12]

Union Theaters rejected the film be released in their Sydney theaters because their managing director, Stuart F. Doyle, claimed the film was "too gruesome" for the public. The film was shown in Hoyt theaters and yielded ₤1,300 in its first week of screenings.[13]

In 1934 Longford registered a script for a remake of the film.[14] However it was never made.

In 2010, Tony Buckley, a producer who helped find and restore the 1971 Australian film Wake in Fright, called for a Film Search program to locate the lost negatives of Fisher's Ghost as well as other historic Australian films.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Copyright registration at National Archives of Australia
  2. ^ "Raymond Longford", Cinema Papers, January 1974 p51
  3. ^ Shirley, Graham (1983). Australian cinema, the first eighty years. Angus & Robertson. p. 72. ISBN 0-207-14581-4. 
  4. ^ ""FISHER'S GHOST.".". The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933) (Qld.: National Library of Australia). 17 December 1924. p. 23. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  5. ^ "MAJESTIC THEATRE.". The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933) (Qld.: National Library of Australia). 19 December 1924. p. 9. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 122.
  7. ^ a b c ""FISHER'S GHOST.".". The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) (Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia). 7 February 1925. p. 4. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  8. ^ Reade, Eric (1979). History and heartburn: the saga of Australian film, 1896-1978. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. p. 38. ISBN 0-8386-3082-0. Retrieved 2011-08-28. 
  9. ^ McFarlane, Brian (1999). The Oxford Companion to Australian Film. Oxford University Press. p. 208. ISBN 0-19-553797-1. 
  10. ^ Brakeman, Lynne; Gall, Susan B. (1997). Chronology of Women Worldwide. Gale Research. p. 264. ISBN 0-7876-0154-3. 
  11. ^ Goldsmith, Ben (2010). Directory of World Cinema: Australia and New Zealand. Intellect Books. p. 189. ISBN 1-84150-373-8. Retrieved 2011-08-28. 
  12. ^ Jones, Alan (2005). The Rough Guide to Horror Movies. Rough Guides. p. 222. ISBN 1-84353-521-1. 
  13. ^ "Film Inquiry". The Sydney Morning Herald. 20 July 1927. Retrieved 2011-08-28. 
  14. ^ Copyright registration for 1934 Fisher's Ghost at National Film and Sound Archive
  15. ^ Groves, Don (12 July 2010). "Funding squeeze on film archives". Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 2011-08-28. 

External links[edit]