Rupert Kathner

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Rupert Kathner (1904–1954) was an Australian film director best known for newsreels and low-budget films. He worked with Alma Brooks, an ex-barmaid, who co-produced, operated the camera, edited, co-scripted and acted in their films.[1] Kathner and Brooks were also "shady con artists and fugitives from the law",[2] sometimes described as the "Bonnie and Clyde" of the Australian film industry.

Career[edit]

Kathner was born in Adelaide and educated at St Peter's College. He studied art under Hans Heysen and became a sketch artist. He broke into the film industry in the early 1930s by working on set designs. His first movie was Phantom Gold (1937).[3]

Kathner and Brooks achieved their first success with their "shocking [for the time] newsreels".[4] The most popular of these was about the unsolved murder case, The Pyjama Girl Murder. The newsreel was about to be distributed internationally when World War II broke out.

Kathner and Brook's features were essentially B-grade movies, and dealt with typically Australian topics such as Ned Kelly and horse-racing.

They were often in trouble with the law.[5]

Kathner died of a brain haemorrhage in 1954.[6]

Hunt Angels[edit]

Hunt Angels (2006) is a feature-length documentary which re-enacts Kathner and Brooks' "movie-making spree that took on the Hollywood barons, a corrupt police Commissioner and the (so-called) cultural cringe, all in their passionate pursuit to make Australian films. On the run from police across thousands of miles, they would stop at almost nothing to get their films made."[7] Hunt Angels "uses an innovative digital composite technique whereby the characters come alive in the real world of Sydney in the 30's and 40's".[8]

The film was directed by Alec Morgan. It stars Ben Mendelsohn and Victoria Hill, playing the roles of Kathner and Brooks, and includes interviews with "real" people such as actor Bud Tingwell, filmmaker/distributor Andrew Pike, and Kathner's son, Paul F. Kathner.

Feature films[edit]

Newsreels[edit]

Writings[edit]

  • Let's Make a Movie (1945)

Unmade projects[edit]

  • Falling for Fame – project he tried to make with Stan Tolhurst prior to Phantom Gold, set against the background of the film industry[3]
  • Diamonds in the Rough – proposed follow up to Below the Surface[9]
  • a life of Adam Lindsay Gordon[10]

Alma Brooks[edit]

Alma Brooks was an Australian filmmaker, best known for her association with Rupert Kathner.[11]

Although rarely mentioned in contemporary publications, she was a key partner in Kathner's filmmaking endeavours from the 1930s until his death in 1954. She co-produced, operated the camera, edited, co-scripted and acted in his films, and also participated in Kathner's less legal endeavours.[12][13]

This included involvement in a legal case in 1942 where she and Kathner were accused of defrauding someone of unsound mind.[14][15][16][17]

In 1944 they were in legal trouble again being charged with conspiracy to defraud investors of a proposed movie Kelly of Tobruk but were acquitted.[18][19][20] In 1940 Brooks when working with an editor was involved in a fight at a film production company.[21]

Select filmography[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

She was played by Victoria Hill in the film Hunt Angels (2006).[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Morgan
  2. ^ Kalina (2006)
  3. ^ a b Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, p178
  4. ^ Edwards (2006)
  5. ^ "CLAIM FOR £150.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 10 October 1942. p. 12. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "OBITUARY.". The Cairns Post. Qld.: National Library of Australia. 5 April 1954. p. 3. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  7. ^ Hunt Angels official site
  8. ^ Produced in association with Film Art Doco
  9. ^ "AUSTRALIAN FILMS.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 3 February 1938. p. 8. Retrieved 15 August 2012. 
  10. ^ "FILMING OF ADAM LINDSAY GORDON'S LIFE.". The Border Watch. Mount Gambier, SA: National Library of Australia. 27 May 1947. p. 1. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  11. ^ "OBITUARY.". The Cairns Post. Qld.: National Library of Australia. 5 April 1954. p. 3. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ [2]
  14. ^ "CLAIM FOR £150.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 10 October 1942. p. 12. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  15. ^ "Litigation Dropped.". Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate. National Library of Australia. 20 October 1942. p. 5. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  16. ^ "Debt Action Dropped.". The National Advocate. Bathurst, NSW: National Library of Australia. 20 October 1942. p. 1. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  17. ^ "NOT INSANE, CLAIMS EX-"HERALD" CHIEF.". The Truth. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 11 October 1942. p. 28. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  18. ^ "FILM PRODUCERS ON FRAUD CHARGE.". Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate. National Library of Australia. 6 July 1944. p. 4. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  19. ^ "ACQUITTED OF FILM CONSPIRACY.". Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate. National Library of Australia. 19 April 1945. p. 3. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  20. ^ "Film Producer On Charge Of False Pretences.". The Newcastle Sun. NSW: National Library of Australia. 5 July 1944. p. 2. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  21. ^ "Action!.". The Truth. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 21 January 1940. p. 24. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  22. ^ "Ned Kelly Epic to Boost Australia.". Benalla Ensign. Vic.: National Library of Australia. 10 October 1947. p. 1 Edition: MORNING. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  23. ^ Review of Hunt Angels at At the Movies

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]