Prehistoric Hayseeds

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Prehistoric Hayseeds
Directed byBeaumont Smith
Produced byBeaumont Smith
Written byBeaumont Smith
StarringHector St Clair
Gordon Collingridge
CinematographyLacey Percival
Production
company
Beaumont Smith Productions
Distributed byBeaumont Smith
Release date
24 November 1923[1]
Running time
5,000 feet
CountryAustralia
LanguageSilent

Prehistoric Hayseeds is a 1923 Australian film comedy from director Beaumont Smith. It is the sixth in his series about the rural family the Hayseeds and concerns their discovery of a lost tribe.

It is considered a lost film.

Synopsis[edit]

Mum and Day Hayseed are visited by an archaeologist fresh from university, Owen Osborne, looking for signs of prehistoric people in nearby caves. They go through a cave and discover a secret valley which is home to a lost tribe, who have never been in contact with the outside world, wear skins for clothing, and are surrounded by diamonds.

Dad Hayseed makes friends with Wup who plays an ancient form of golf and Owen falls in love with the Wup daughter, the beautiful Golden Girl, rescuing her from an unwanted suitor, Beetle Brows. This leads to a rising of an opposing clan, and the Wups flee to civilisation with the Hayseeds.

They go to Sydney and have various adventures, including a trip to the Randwick Races. Olive is kidnapped by Beetle Brows but the Hayseeds and Owen save the day.[2]

Cast[edit]

  • Hector St Clair as Wup
  • Lotus Thompson as the Golden Girl
  • Gordon Collingridge as Owen Osborne
  • J.P. O'Neill as Dad Hayseed
  • Kathleen Mack as Mrs Wup
  • Roy Wilson as Beetle Brown
  • Pinky Weatherley as Mum Hayseed
  • Nina Dacre as Tessie Worth
  • Dunstan Webb as Terry

Production[edit]

Popular stage star Hector St Clair, who had arrived in Australia from England in 1921 and decided to stay, made his feature debut in the lead.[3] The romantic leads from Townies and Hayseeds, Gordon Collingridge and Lotus Thompson, returned here, although playing different roles. Thompson soon left for Hollywood, where she acted in some films and achieved fame for deliberately disfiguring her legs.

It is likely that Beaumont Smith was inspired by the Buster Keaton movie, Three Ages (1923). The movie was shot in October 1923 in Sydney and Port Hacking, with interiors at the Rushcutters Bay studio.[4][5] During production, actors turned up at Sydney's Central Railway Station in cavemen gear to film a sequence, causing a commotion.[6]

Smith experienced a notable lack of co-operation from officials making this film, being barred from shooting at Randwick racecourse and Sydney Town Hall. Censors also requested removal of a title referring to a recent alleged bribe of £25,000 paid to Billy Hughes.[4]

Reception[edit]

When the film was released the Adelaide Mail called it "amusing... Hector St. Clair... is very funny. Lotus Thompson is delightful."[7] It was not a big hit and Smith ceased production of the series. However Smith revived it several years later with The Hayseeds (1933) to popular success.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ross Cooper,"Filmography: Beaumont Smith", Cinema Papers, March–April 1976 p333
  2. ^ "PREHISTORIC HAYSEEDS." The Register (Adelaide) 24 Dec 1923: 14
  3. ^ "MOTION PICTURE SECTION". The Sunday Times. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 4 November 1923. p. 19. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 120.
  5. ^ "IN THEIR BEAR SKINS". The Sunday Times. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 21 October 1923. p. 19. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  6. ^ "CAVE MEN." The Brisbane Courier 13 Jun 1925: 16
  7. ^ "Music, Stage, and Screen". The Mail. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 22 December 1923. p. 15. Retrieved 29 September 2013.

External links[edit]