Lovers and Luggers

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Lovers and Luggers
Lovers and Luggers.jpg
Flyer for theatrical release
Directed by Ken G. Hall
Produced by Ken G. Hall
Written by Frank Harvey
Edmund Barclay
Based on novel by Gurney Slade
Starring Lloyd Hughes
Shirley Ann Richards
Music by Hamilton Webber
Cinematography Frank Hurley
George Heath
Edited by William Shepherd
Production
company
Distributed by British Empire Films (Aust)
Paramount Pictures (UK)[1]Astor Pictures (USA)
Release date
31 December 1937 (Australia)
1940 (USA)
Running time
99 mins (Australia)
65 mins (USA)
Country Australia
Language English
Budget ₤24,000[2]

Lovers and Luggers is a 1937 Australian film directed by Ken G. Hall. It is an adventure melodrama about a pianist (Lloyd Hughes) who goes to Thursday Island to retrieve a valuable pearl.

It was retitled Vengeance of the Deep in the USA and United Kingdom.

Synopsis[edit]

In London, concert pianist Daubenny Carshott is feeling dissatisfied with his life and wanting a masculine adventure; he also desires the beautiful Stella Raff. Stella agrees to marry him if he brings back a large pearl with his own hands from Thursday Island. Daubenny notes a painting in Stella's apartment from "Craig Henderson" but when asked Stella is evasive about the artist.

Daubenny travels to Thursday Island where he buys a lugger and a house from the villainous Mendoza. He makes friends on the island, including another diver, Craig Henderson, the drunken duo of McTavish and Dorner, and the boisterous Captain Quidley. He also meets Quidley's daughter, the beautiful Lorna, who likes to dress in men's clothing so she can walk around on her own at night. Lorna and Daubenny become friends and she secretly falls in love with him but Daubenny assumes she is in love with Craig.

Captain Quidley, teaches Daubenny to dive. Quidley, Lorna, Daubenny and Mendoza all go out diving for pearls. Daubenny finds a pearl, to the fury of Mendoza, who believes since Daubenny used his lugger that Mendoza should have a share. Daubenny disagrees and the two men fight on board the lugger, causing the pearl to drop over the side.

Both men get in their diving suits and go down to retrieve the pearl. Mendoza dies and Daubenny is trapped. Bill Craig risks his life to rescue Daubenny.

Back on Thursday Island, Stella has arrived, accompanied by an aristocratic friend, Archie. Daubenny discovers that Bill Craig is Craig Henderson, and was also in love with Stella, and sent on a similar mission to find a pearl. Daubenny and Craig both reject Stella.

Daubenny decides to leave Thursday Island on his boat. Lorna reveals she is in love with him, not Craig and the two kiss and decide to get married. They sail off into the sunset with Captain Quidley.

Cast[edit]

Original novel[edit]

Lovers and Luggers
Author Gurney Slade,
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre adventure
Publication date
1928

The script was based on a 1928 novel by Gurney Slade, from whom Cinesound obtained the film rights in late 1936.[4] In the novel, Daubenny travels to "Lorne" (Broome, thinly-disguised) rather than Thursday Island. Lorna is not related to Captain Quid, but actually is Stella's half-sister. There are two other British expatriates diving for pearls in addition to Craig, Chillon and Major Rawlings. Daubney does not romance Lorna and is reunited with a reformed Stella at the end. Lorna winds up with Craig.[5]

Although the novel was set in Broome Ken G. Hall had Cinesound screenwriter Frank Harvey relocate the story to Thursday Island because it was easier to access.[6]

Production[edit]

Casting[edit]

Hall gave the lead role to American actor Lloyd Hughes, who had been a star in the silent era and since then mostly worked on stage.[7] Hall had met Hughes when the director visited Hollywood in 1935.[8] The actor went on to make The Broken Melody for Hall.

This was the first of what would be several character roles Alec Kellaway played for Ken G. Hall.

Shooting[edit]

Hall was enthusiastic about the project because of his love for the tropics, although budget considerations meant most of the film had to be shot in the studio, with only the second unit going to Thursday Island under Frank Hurley. Hurley also shot some footage at Port Stephens and Broken Bay.[9] Cinesound built one of its largest ever sets to recreate Thursday Island.[10]

A tank was built to shoot the underwater scenes. However the water was not clear, so the scenes were shot at North Sydney Olympic Pool.[11][12]

Hall would direct scenes on boats by radio.[13]

Stuart F. Doyle had resigned from Cinesound during production but was kept on to supervise the finishing of the movie.[14]

Reports of the budget ranged from ₤18,000[15][16] to ₤24,000.

Reception[edit]

A charity ball was held to promote the release of the film.[17] The film was released in both the US and England. It was the last Australian film sold to Britain as a British quota picture before the British quota laws were amended.[15]

Critical[edit]

Reviews were positive, the critic from the Sydney Morning Herald calling it "Australia's finest picture to date."[18]

Box office[edit]

The movie was a slight disappointment at the box office, and Ken G. Hall thought this helped make Greater Union's then-managing director Norman Rydge disillusioned with feature production.[19] Variety said it performed better in the "nabes and stix".[20]

However Hall said in 1972 that "I think I like it best of all the pictures that I've made. Because of the backgrounds. I'd go tomorrow to make a film about the Tropics."[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "AUSTRALIAN FILM.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 4 December 1937. p. 12. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  2. ^ Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 180.
  3. ^ "ACTRESS WHO HAS A CHARMED LIFE.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 8 June 1937. p. 6 Supplement: Women's Supplement. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  4. ^ "CINESOUND FILM.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 24 December 1936. p. 10. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  5. ^ Stephen Vagg, 'FRANK HARVEY: AUSTRALIAN SCREENWRITING PIONEER' – Australasian Drama Studies Journal, April 2006
  6. ^ 'Australian Firm to Make Pearling Story Film', The Courier-Mail (Brisbane), Wednesday 23 December 1936 p 11
  7. ^ 'Hollywood Actor for Australian Film', The Argus (Melbourne), Saturday 8 May 1937 p 15
  8. ^ "INTELLIGENCE, DIGNITY, AND EASE.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 21 September 1937. p. 7 Supplement: Women's Supplement. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  9. ^ 'NEW AUSTRALIAN FILM Will Deal With Pearling', The Sydney Morning Herald, Friday 16 April 1937 p 5
  10. ^ "THURSDAY ISLAND IN A BONDI STUDIO.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 27 July 1937. p. 9 Supplement: Women's Supplement. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  11. ^ "Electrically-Controlled Blowfly to Worry Comedian!.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 24 September 1940. p. 12 Supplement: Women's Supplement. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  12. ^ North Sydney Pool Newsletter
  13. ^ "DIRECTING FILMS BY RADIO.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 14 July 1937. p. 10. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  14. ^ ""LOVERS AND LUGGERS.".". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 8 July 1937. p. 5. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  15. ^ a b "NEW AUSTRALIAN MOVING PICTURE.". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 14 March 1938. p. 4. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  16. ^ "THE CINEMA WEEK BY WEEK.". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 9 April 1938. p. 7 Supplement: The Argus Week-end Magazine. Retrieved 15 August 2012. 
  17. ^ "WITCH DOCTOR'S HUT.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 24 December 1937. p. 4. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  18. ^ "FILM REVIEWS.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 28 February 1938. p. 4. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  19. ^ Graham Shirley and Brian Adams, Australian Cinema: The First Eighty Years, Currency Press, 1989p156
  20. ^ https://archive.org/stream/variety133-1939-01#page/n22/mode/1up
  21. ^ Philip Taylor, 'Ken G. Hall', Cinema Papers January 1974 p 76

External links[edit]