The Five of Hearts

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For the playing card, see Five of hearts.
The Five of Hearts, or Buffalo Bill's Love Story
Directed by E.I. Cole
Starring Bohemian Dramatic Company
Distributed by Pathe Freres[2]
Release date
22 April 1911[3]
Running time
over 2,000 feet[3]
Country Australia
Language Silent film
English intertitles

The Five of Hearts is an Australian film. It is also known as A Maiden's Distress.[4]

It is considered a lost film.


In the old American west, Rose, the daughter of Colonel Daniels, is kidnapped by a desperado named Black Bill at the instigation of Captain Clarke, a rejected lover. She is taken to an Indian camp where she is subjected to torture by being tied to a tree, and daggers thrown all round her until she is completely surrounded by them. She is rescued by Buffalo Bill, her lover. Black Bill and Captain Clarke are killed.[5]

According to contemporary reports, the scenes of the film were:

  • Captain Clarke's Treachery;
  • Chloroformed;
  • On the Trail;
  • Jim Blake's Shanty;
  • In the Indian Camp;
  • Rose Tortured;
  • Surrounded by Daggers;
  • Rescued;
  • Buffalo Bill at the Stake;
  • The Indian Chiefs Fight with Knives;
  • Black Bill's Lair;
  • The Traitors Punished.[6]

Another report said that "'the scene is laid on the outskirts of the Indian Reservation, a country made famous by the exploits of the renowned Buffalo Bill, and the story of the play treats of the adventures of the colonel in charge of the military post and a notorious cattle stealer whom he eventually makes captive."[7]


Original Play[edit]

The film is an adaptation of an open-air stage show regularly produced by Cole and his Bohemian Dramatic Company, Buffalo Bill, or the Five of Hearts, about an Indian woman who refuses to marry a cowboy.[8] The Indian has daggers thrown at her in a test of courage. The cowboy tries to kill the woman but Chief Wild Friday intervenes and frees her.


The film was shot near Melbourne.[1]


The film sometimes screened on a double bill with another movie of Cole's, Sentenced for Life, and was accompanied by songs and lectures.[9]

According to one review, "the play Is well staged, and the acting Is of a high order, and, on the whole, the film augurs well for the success of the industry in the Commonwealth."[7] Another said the film "forms a thrilling subject."[10]

Only four and a half minutes of the film survive today.[11]


  1. ^ a b "Empire Pictures.". Great Southern Herald. Katanning, WA: National Library of Australia. 31 May 1911. p. 2. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "Advertising.". The Referee. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 26 April 1911. p. 16. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "ENTERTAINMENTS.". The Brisbane Courier. National Library of Australia. 22 April 1911. p. 16. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  4. ^ Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 20.
  5. ^ "HAYES'S PICTURES.". Goulburn Evening Penny Post. NSW: National Library of Australia. 6 June 1911. p. 2. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  6. ^ "Advertising.". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 10 May 1911. p. 1. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "TOWN HALL.". The Daily News. Perth: National Library of Australia. 11 May 1911. p. 5 Edition: THIRD EDITION. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  8. ^ "BOHEMIAN DRAMATIC CO." Examiner (Launceston, Tas) 8 Oct 1913: 9 Edition: DAILY accessed 31 December 2011
  9. ^ "BOHEMIAN DRAMATIC COMPANY." The Mercury (Hobart, Tas) 30 Mar 1912: 3 accessed 31 December 2011
  10. ^ "ALDRIDGE'S PICTURES.". The Barrier Miner. Broken Hill, NSW: National Library of Australia. 29 May 1911. p. 5. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  11. ^ The Five of Hearts at National Film and Sound Archive

External links[edit]