The two 1907 motion pictures of
Robbery Under Arms
The novel Robbery Under Arms by Rolf Boldrewood, the nom de plume of Thomas Alexander Browne, first appeared as a serial in the newspaper The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser starting on 1 July 1882 and finishing on 11 August 1883, and was an immediate popular success. It was published in book form in London in 1888, and it was not long after that the story was presented on the stage: Alfred Dampier and Garnet Walch wrote an adaptation that was premiered on 1 March 1890 at the Alexandra Theatre, Melbourne, with Dampier playing the role of Captain Starlight, one of the main characters. This became the part for Dampier, and he would act as Starlight many times over the next two decades.
After projected motion pictures were introduced in Australia in 1896, and local short films made from then on, perhaps it is surprising, considering the popularity of the novel and play, that film adaptations had to wait till 1907. The main stimulus for motion picture versions was almost certainly the success achieved by Johnson and Gibson's production, for J. and N. Tait, of The Story of the Kelly Gang in 1906, this film being generally credited as the world's first 'feature' film – a dramatic subject occupying 4 or more reels. The popular response to the Kelly Gang film showed that audiences were happy to watch a (relatively) long film – as long as there was enough action and plot to hold their attention.1
That the time was ripe to make a movie of Robbery Under Arms occurred to more than one person.
Charles MacMahon's "picture drama"
On 6 August 1907 Australian-born theatrical manager
returned to Sydney after a five-years' stay in New Zealand.
He was initially reported to have come back to complete "
the details of a
special theatrical attraction for a New Zealand tour, which will commence
at Auckland at an early date."2
On 18 September the real story was announced:
There has been considerable mystery about the visit of Mr. Charles Macmahon to Sydney from New Zealand. [...] It appears that he has spent most of his daylight time the past five weeks in the bush up Pymble way with a dramatic company and a coach and team of eight horses, having that great and well-known drama, "Robbery Under Arms," enacted in natural surroundings, and snapped for the biograph by an operator from Osborne [sic] and Jerdan's establishment. This most interesting film will be shown for the first time at Auckland on October 7, and will subsequently tour New Zealand, returning here about Christmas. Mr. Macmahon would have shown it here first but for the fact that no theatre was obtainable.3More detail was given in New Zealand:
[...] Mr Charles Macmahon, who has been in Australia for many weeks past, actively engaged in bringing about the necessary organisation for a complete and elaborate realisation in pictorial action of the vivid incidents of Rolf Boldrewood's famous story, "Robbery Under Arms." A complete Dramatic Company of 25 persons was got together specially for the purpose, as well as bushmen, riders, horses, and all the equipment necessary to the depiction of the various scenes and episodes of this universally popular romance of real life in early colonial days. For weeks, as long as the daylight lasted, they were continually at active work throughout the various places in New South Wales, where the actual incidents occurred, and, of course, closely followed by the operators with the most up-to-date apparatus and material in the cinematographic world. The cost of the undertaking exceeds £1000 but the result, Mr Macmahon cables, gratifies the highest expectation. The project is specially for a New Zealand tour, and the combination, of which this "pictured story" will be a feature, will open at His Majesty's Theatre, Auckland, on October 4th, and at the Opera House, Wellington, on November 2nd.4To be noted are the references to a company of 25 (or more) persons, and the cost of £1000. The length of the film would later usually be specified as 4000 ft (1220 m).
MacMahon gave a private showing of the film at the Standard Theatre in Sydney on Tuesday, 1 October 1907; the response from the reviewer of The Sydney Morning Herald was positive:
A biograph exhibition of scenes from "Robbery Under Arms," recalling the pages of the novel rather than of the drama adapted from it, was presented for the first time at the Royal Standard Theatre last night, under the management of Mr. Charles MacMahon. Evidently a vast amount of care had been bestowed upon the preparation of the scenes, involving the mustering of cattle, the selection of rugged and picturesque country, and the rehearsal of people representing Starlight and the outlawed gang, the police, and other characters in the bush tragedy. Mrs. Keightley's exciting ride and many other incidents, cleverly reproduced by Messrs. Osborn and Jerdan, were warmly applauded. The Messrs. MacMahon will probably show these scenes in Sydney before touring New Zealand with them.5
MacMahon then placed "coming soon" style teasers in the Sydney newspapers,6 with no mention of a date; at the same time a copy of the film, with equipment and accompanying entertainers, left Sydney on 9 October for Auckland, New Zealand, to arrive there to open at His Majesty's Theatre on Tuesday, 15 October.7 Months earlier he had booked the theatre for 7 through 26 October, but was delayed in getting the performance company across the Tasman Sea.
The film's makers, the Sydney company Osborn and Jerdan, Ltd., Opticians and
Electricians – who advertised themselves as "
My Opticians" – even
did some crowing:
We have recently achieved a great success in the taking of pictures for Mr. Charles Macmahon's "Robbery Under Arms" - a series of magnificent cinematograph pictures which are acknowledged to be the finest possible to produce.8
Public exhibitions in Australia started on Saturday, 9 November 1907 at the Oxford Theatre (previously the Atheneum), Sydney, when there were both a matinee and an evening show.9 Later advertisements claimed that hundreds of people had to be turned away,10 and this apparently occurred for most of the season, which continued at the Oxford until Thursday, 5 December.11
From there the show was taken to the Victoria Theatre, Newcastle, New South Wales for 2 nights (6 and 7 December), to be followed by a night at the Mechanics' Institute at Singleton on Monday, 9 December.
At the end of 1907 and into 1908 there were 3 companies touring MacMahon's Robbery Under Arms in Australia: at Fremantle and elsewhere in Western Australia; the north-east and northern rivers of New South Wales; and around Tasmania. Later, other areas of New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland, and Victoria were visited. The film was still being shown late in 1908.
There are few mentions of actors, crew, and locations to be found in the press.12
Known (or supposed) performers were:
Captain Starlight: Jeffrey Williams
Warrigal: Jim Gerald or S. Fitzgerald
Inspector of Police: Lance Gerald (Jim Gerald's brother) aka Lance Vane
Trooper: William Duff
Warder: George Merriman
Parson: Charles Byers Coates
Ben Marston: Mr. Fitzgerald, MacMahon's stage-manager
[Unknown character]: Rhoda Kilbourn (or Rhoda Kilburn) aka Rhoda Dendron
Mrs. Keightley's ride was performed by Ethel Ogle (wife of William James Ogle)13
Known crew members were:
Director: Charles MacMahon
Screenplay writer: Charles MacMahon
Cinematographer: Charles Byers Coates
Probable assistant cinematographers: Arthur Guest; William Duff
Technical production: Osborn and Jerdan, Ltd., George St, Sydney
Locations, all in New South Wales:
Bushland near Pymble, Sydney
Kensington racecourse, Sydney
Bush near Manly and Freshwater / Narrabeen, Sydney
Flemington sale-yards, Sydney
Apart from material in newspapers there is very little about this film known to remain.
The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) holds 3 items:
- title number 363172:
[ROBBERY UNDER ARMS : DOCUMENTATION] : [ROBBERY UNDER ARMS : A GROUP OF MEN AND WOMEN STAND HOLDING HANDS IN A CIRCLE. THE WOMEN IN CENTRE SHOT LOOKS TO BE WEARING A BRIDAL DRESS], which is this image:
- title number 660488:
[ROBBERY UNDER ARMS : DOCUMENTATION] : [ROBBERY UNDER ARMS : HALF TONE PRINTING BLOCK FOR A FILM WEEKLY ARTICLE, 1969].
This block was, apparently, "
used for a Film Weekly article, December 1969". On page 25 of the 18 December 1969 issue of Film Weekly is an image much the same as that above, except that about 10 % has been cropped on the right, so that the fiddler is not shown, and there is a small amount extra at the bottom, with the handwritten text: '
"Robbery Under Arms" here represented'. The same image, showing both the fiddler and the text at the bottom, and slightly more at the top, is on page 14 of Film Weekly of 21 August 1930.
The image appears to show a dance at a wedding, as the woman nearest the camera seems to be in bridal dress. The only evidence that the shot is from MacMahon's Robbery Under Arms is the statement to that effect in the 1930 Film Weekly article.
- title number 1108659:
[ROBBERY UNDER ARMS : DOCUMENTATION] : [POSTER].
This is an advertising poster for showings of the film at the Shire Hall, Barcaldine, Queensland, on 3 and 4 December 1908.32 It shows 8 images, possibly frame images, with the titles:
- Sticking Up the Goulburn Mail.
- Warrigal's Treachery.
- Meeting of Moran and Starlight's Gang.
- Meeting of Old Ben and Jim Marston.
- Starlight's Last Stand.
- Cattle Duffing.
- Dick Marston in Berrima Gaol. [The goal walls are paintings (or severely retouched)]
- The Last of Old Ben Marston.
The photographs have been somewhat crudely retouched, and the images of the faces of the persons shown are not of good quality.
In the "Sticking Up" photograph, one of the characters bears a resemblance to the tall man on the left in the picture above.
This poster, unfortunately, is problematic: the newspaper advertisements for the exhibitions state that they are under "
Direction of MacMAHON & CARROLL"33 (i.e. Charles MacMahon and Edward John Carroll), while the poster says "
Direction of J. & N. TAIT." But the Taits get no mention in newspaper ad's for or other articles about these screenings, whereas (as far as can be ascertained) for all showings of their film elsewhere their involvement is noted. So at present it cannot be definitively stated that the poster is for exhibitions of MacMahon's Robbery Under Arms.
The origin of the poster is not known, and it may even be a printer's working copy: the text at the bottom (that identifies Bert Ive as the projectionist) is on a strip of paper stuck on over the main sheet of paper.
J. and N. Tait's version
The first notices of another cinematic version of Robbery Under Arms were published on 10 October 1907:
A most interesting biograph film illustrating the principal incidents in Rolf Boldrewood's famous novel, "Robbery Under Arms," has been prepared to the order of Messrs. J. and N. Tait, and will be on exhibition in the course of the next few days.14and much the same in Melbourne's Punch (p.34, Greenroom Gosip). The "next few days" turned out to be the "next few weeks".
Closer to the time, on 31 October 1907, Melbourne's Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News announced on page 28:
GOSSIP.Presumably the last sentence is a dig at MacMahon.
Messrs. J. and N. Tait notify in our advertising columns that the first display in moving pictures of the celebrated story, "Robbery Under Arms," will be given at the Athenĉum Hall, Melbourne, on Saturday night next (Derby night). The film, which is 5000 feet long, is said to be very fine, and free from faults in regard to detail, as compared with others of a like description.
The Taits' film was first publicly exhibited at matinee and evening screenings on Saturday, 2 November 1907 at the Athenæum Hall in Melbourne,15 and received good reviews; e.g.:
Under the direction of Messrs J. and N. Tait there was presented at the Athenĉum Hall on Saturday evening a series of bioscope pictures depicting the many incidents of Mr Rolf Boldrewood's famous Australian novel, Robbery Under Arms. It is said to be the greatest picture story undertaken, and the large audience that watched the thousands upon thousands of feet of films reeled off showed their appreciation of the managerial enterprise by continuous applause. The scenes presented were realistic, and one could well be forgiven for unconsciously forgetting the artificiality in the actuality. The best incidents of the novel have been selected for treatment and especially thrilling pictures are the representations of Jim Marsden's rescue of Miss Falkland, on the brink of Devil's Gap, [the] sticking up of the mail coach, and the robbery of the gold escort. The several characters of the book are well portrayed, and the different incidents are made more realistic by the stage effects.16It was shown there until a matinee on Wednesday, 27 November,17 a run of 3½ weeks.
A copy then went to Broken Hill, NSW for a 6-night run. This was followed by a 4-months' tour in Western Australia. Another copy was shown in Sydney suburbs, then southern NSW towns, into Victoria, to South Australia, then to Brisbane and Queensland towns, up the coast to Cairns.
In 1923 Millard Johnson, once of Johnson and Gibson, who made The Story of the Kelly Gang for the Taits in 1906, gave a potted history of the early introduction of long feature pictures in Australia. He stated:
In 1903 Charles Urban made a four reel feature called "Living London" without any titles. Mr. W. A. Gibson and myself, in conjunction with Taits, exploited this through Australia and India and did enormous business, so much so that in 1904 Taits asked us to make another and we produced in 1905 "The Kelly Gang," a five reel feature life story, the first ever made, [...]The dates aren't correct, but this is the only known mention that Johnson and Gibson were (in part) responsible for a feature film version of Robbery Under Arms. Exactly what they did on the production, and whether or not there were others involved, are not known.
Every six months we made another of these including "Robbery Under Arms," "Mystery of the Hansom Cab," "Called Back," "The Bells" and others.34
Of the cast and locations almost nothing is known.18 Veteran actor John F. Forde played, in black-face, Warrigal, and also a trooper. Some of the actors from the Taits' film The Story of the Kelly Gang are thought to have also performed in Robbery Under Arms, and the filming was done in Victoria.19 One advertisement claimed the film cost over £3000 to make, was 4700 ft in length, and took one hour and 20 minutes to present.20
Almost nothing remains about this film. The NFSA holds a single item:
- title number 780821:
[ROBBERY UNDER ARMS : DOCUMENTATION] : [ROBBERY UNDER ARMS : PUBLICITY MATERIAL],
which consists of photocopies of the pages of a 16-page publicity booklet. (Two pages, 2 and 15, presumably blank, are missing from the set of copies.) The origin and whereabouts of the original from which these were taken are unknown. There are five photographs, possibly frame images, in the booklet:
- [Cover] [Hold-up of a coach]
- [Page 4] MRS. KEIGHTLEY'S HISTORIC RIDE.
- [Page 6] "STARLIGHT" RESENTS MORAN'S INSOLENCE.
- [Page 8] MARRIAGE OF DICK MARSTON.
- [Page 10] "STARLIGHT" ELECTED CAPTAIN.
The photograph on page 8 bears comparison with the image reproduced above. The background building is (or is made to appear as) a church, with little surrounding foliage, so is distinctly different from the building shown above. However, the attire of the characters in both images is similar – though this is to be expected if it represents clothing of the same period. Unfortunately, the images of the faces of the people in the photocopies are too indistinct to be unambiguously compared with those shown above.
On page 14 (the last with text) of this booklet is an advertisement:
The Management announce with much gratification the Special Engagement of the eminent Charactor Actor,Albert Lucas accompanied the tour of the film in Queensland from February to April 1908. Apart from performing his own dramatic sketches Lucas provided a commentary while the film was being shown.
MR. ALBERT LUCAS
who will appear in altogether new, original and delightful
J. W. EEDY, PRINT., SYDNEY.
The advertisements for the film in Queensland sometimes refer to an illustrated brochure: it seems highly likely that the photocopies now held by the NFSA are of the pages of this brochure.
It would be extremely useful to find an original copy of this booklet, because the photographs therein show well the faces of several of the actors, whose identities could thereby probably be determined.
Were there really two films?
An indication that the two films of Robbery Under Arms were different comes from a comparison of the first published scenarios of them in newspaper advertisements; this shows a difference in details of scenes presented:
8 November 190721
2 November 190722
The Tait version had a scene set in Melbourne, which is absent from the MacMahon film; and the latter had the Keightley station sequence, which is not in the Taits' film. And, the MacMahon version ended with Captain Starlight's last stand, whereas the Tait film had a "happily ever after" final scene. As no copy of either film is known to exist, it is not possible to be certain of the accuracy or completeness of the above scene synopses: the only information in support of these details is from "reviews" in the newspapers, and these are usually abbreviated and not necessarily reliable. So the above comparison is inconclusive.
On 30 October Sydney's Referee newspaper published a note about the imminent opening of screenings in Melbourne:
J. and N. Tait produce "Robbery Under Arms" per biograph at Melbourne Athenaeum Hall next Saturday night. The drama was biographed by Osborne [sic] and Jerdan, the well-known George-street firm, on 5000 feet of film, and is wonderfully realistic.23The error was corrected the following week:
The biograph version of "Robbery Under Arms," taken by Osborne and Jerdan, was pictured for Charles MacMahon, not for J. and N. Tait, as has been stated.24Unfortunately, we aren't told who made the film for the Taits.
In most instances the various touring companies managed to stay clear of one another, and generally one did not go to a town already visited by a rival. But in Western Australia, both MacMahon's film and the Taits' were exhibited concurrently. And the advertisements and other matter published make it obvious that there were different films being shown.
William Anderson, director of the tours of MacMahon's Robbery Under Arms, had hoped to open at His Majesty's Theatre, Perth on 16 December 1907, but had been delayed, ostensibly because the season at Sydney's Oxford Theatre had been extended because of its huge success.
On 14 December, Bernard Andrew Leix, business manager for the Taits in Western Australia, had published in The West Australian newspaper an advertisement for the opening exhibition of the Taits' film on 18 December, at the King's Theatre, Fremantle, Western Australia. And on 20 December, Michael Joseph, MacMahon's business manager, had published the first notice for the MacMahon film, to start on 26 December, also at the King's Theatre, Fremantle; this advertisement is alongside that for the Taits' film, and is dense with text and twice the length. The Taits' film was to move to the Perth Town Hall on 25 December.
The two advertisements confused at least one person, whose letter was printed on 23 December:
To the Editor.Joseph's response was published the following day:
Sir, - As a lover of amusement and frequenter of theatres, I naturally read your amusement column. Oftentimes I am greatly puzzled, and such an instance has now occurred. I don't like to be fooled or misled, and I am sure your policy is anything but that. During the week, at Mr. Anderson's Fremantle theatre, there has been advertised a picture show, "Robbery Under Arms," and on the same page Mr. Joseph, as manager for the same theatre and same director, advertises over his own name, "First presentation in W.A. of . . . 'Robbery Under Arms,'" which opens on Boxing Night. What is Mr. Joseph trying to do with his patrons? - Yours, etc.,
To the Editor.
Sir, - "First Nighter," in a letter in your issue of yesterday, endeavoured to make it appear that in advertising the first representation of Messrs. MacMahon's picture-drama, "Robbery Under Arms," to take place at the King's Theatre, Fremantle, on Boxing Night, I am essaying to mislead or fool the public. To make my position clear, may I say in reference to the advertisements, that from a perusal of the advertisement for "Robbery Under Arms" of last week's season in Fremantle, it will be seen that the said picture show was under the direction of Messrs. J. and N. Tait, and under the management of Mr. B. Leix. Mr. Anderson had nothing whatever to do with the said combination, beyond subletting the theatre, as I was bound to do to any person requiring same. How "First Nighter" or "Deadhead" could associate Mr. Anderson's name with it, one is at a loss to [understand]. His name appeared in the usual manner as "Lessee," which is a custom in all theatres in all parts of the world. So far as this particular version of "Robbery Under Arms" is concerned, Boxing Night will certainly see Messrs. MacMahon's first representation in this State, under the direction of Mr. Anderson, which originally should have commenced at His Majesty's Theatre, Perth, on December 16 last, but owing to the extension of the Sydney season was postponed. The above, I trust, will be explanatory enough for "First Nighter." Yours, etc.,
His Majesty's Theatre, Perth, December 23.26
And the next day, 25 December 1907, an article appeared in The West Australian that made it clear that there were different versions of the film:
KING'S THEATRE, FREMANTLE.(My emphasis.)
To-morrow evening Mr. Charles MacMahon's picture drama "Robbery Under Arms" will be presented for the first time in Fremantle. The preparation of a dramatic story on miles of film is a big matter, demanding, if success is to be assured, care and expense in preparation. To start with, Mr. MacMahon had, it is stated, to engage a dramatic company of 25 persons. These had to be persons who could leave the footlights and in the open air move and act convincingly in the grey of a novel environment. All this, it is claimed, was achieved, and the result is a true and vivid representation of Rolf Boldrewood's great play. [sic] The representation of this series is, the management desires to point out, that the said production is a distinct version from that recently presented. [...]27
Matters turned ugly when both films were on exhibition at Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. The Taits' film was shown at Her Majesty's Theatre there from 6 through 13 January 1908; MacMahon's film was shown at Morris' Summer Gardens from 7 through 11 January.
The first advertisement for the MacMahon film was a not very conspicuous single-column one on 2 January 1908,28 and it was in a form that was used elsewhere and gave no suggestion that there was another version on show.
On Saturday, 4 January 1908 the first advertisement for the Tait film appeared across three columns, and made an extraordinary claim:
[...](But the film did not have a twelve weeks' run in Melbourne, only 3½ weeks, nor was it shown at the Melbourne Town Hall. Was the intent here to mislead people who might have heard of a film shown for a 12-week season on the other side of the continent? The Taits' film The Story of the Kelly Gang was shown at both the Town Hall and Athenĉum in Melbourne, and it was also a robbery under arms story.)
There are MANY FILMS representing ROLF BOLDREWOOD'S Famous Novel
ROBBERY UNDER ARMS,
But the ORIGINAL SERIES, the Film which showed for a season of Twelve Weeks at Melbourne Town and Athenaeum halls, and thereby created the present boom, and which also turned money away Every Evening from Perth Town Hall during Xmas Week, will be shown for the first time here
MONDAY EVENING NEXT
(JANUARY 6). (JANUARY 6).29
The following Monday, Michael Joseph, as manager for the MacMahon exhibitions, struck back with a large ad. of two columns:
MORRIS' SUMMER GARDENS.
TO-MORROW (TUESDAY), AND FOLLOWING EVENINGS.
WILLIAM ANDERSON and CHAS. McMAHON'S PICTURE DRAMA -
For Which THEY HAVE THE SOLE AUSTRALIAN RIGHTS.
NO CONNECTION WHATEVER WITH ANY OTHER PRODUCTION.30
It seems odd that the fact of the two films being played in the same town at the same time was not commented on in the press. But both managers were paying customers of the newspaper, and to make a comparison between the films could well have resulted in one being recommended over the other, any such favoritism being resented by the manager of the less well reviewed film.
Their Kalgoorlie seasons completed, both films were taken on tour to other towns in Western Australia. The first stop for MacMahon's film was Boulder (near Kalgoorlie) on 13 and 14 January; there was nothing exceptional about the newspaper advertisements for the screenings there. However, when the Taits' version went to Boulder on 17 through 19 February the following notice was published:
"ROBBERY UNDER ARMS."
To-night at the Boulder Mechanics' Institute, Messrs. J. and N. Tait will present for the first time in Boulder their series of moving pictures based upon Rolf. [sic] Boldrewood's novel, "Robbery Under Arms." The Messrs. Tait desire to point out that there is no similarity between their film (which, by the way, showed to crowded audiences in Melbourne for 12 weeks) and a number of other pictures exhibited under the same name. [They] claim that the pictures to be shown to-night are longer, better and truer to the story than any other series yet presented. The season will be limited to three nights.31
The concurrent Western Australian exhibitions were referred to in a vituperative article about the Taits on page 4 of the national New Zealand newspaper NZ Truth on 8 February 1908.35 This is the earliest known explicit mention of the concurrent production of the two films:
THE TAKING TAITS.Whether the Taits really made their film after finding out that Charles MacMahon was making or had already made one can only be guessed at. If MacMahon's project only became publicly known in mid-September 1907, it seems highly improbable that the Taits could have made a film ready for exhibition "
In the theatrical world anything is permissible, probable and possible. [...] Everybody who is anybody knows full well that it was due to the enterprise of the three McMahons that a film was taken of the incidents of "Robbery Under Arms," which that firm is showing with great success in the Dominion. They were put to considerable expense and loss of time in superintending its production, and it was a success. They refused the Taits, the greedy grab-alls, any Australian rights, and the two Taits, who have more money, perhaps, behind them than the Macs, set about to get a film of their own, and set up in opposition, and the result recently was that both the McMahon picture and the Tait representation of "Robbery Under Arms" were shown simultaneaously in Perth, W.A., which shows, if nothing else, what dogs-in-the-manger the two greedy Taits are. [...]
in the course of the next few days" after 10 October. But it was a further 3 weeks before they first showed their version, making a potential total of about 6 weeks for production, which compares with the period from early August to the end of September for MacMahon's production.
William Joseph Lincoln, playwright, theatrical manager, and motion picture director, in 1916 wrote his reminiscences of the history of the movies in Victoria, wherein he stated:
Later, [i.e. after The Story of the Kelly Gang] Robbery Under Arms — a pictorial version of Rolfe Boldrewood's fine novel — saw the light. Strangely enough while the Victorian film was being made Mr Charles M'Mahon had a company at work in Sydney upon a picture dealing with the same story. Both were released about the same time, and both were successful. As I did not see the M'Mahon production I cannot compare them, but doubtless there was little to choose between them. [...]36
Another detail that distinguishes the two versions is that in advertisements for and reports of the MacMahon version, the filming by Charles Byers Coates and production by Osborn and Jerdan is often mentioned; nowhere (so far known) is there a reference to the producers of the Tait version.
It is a great shame that no copy of either film (or even a part thereof) is known to have survived.
References and notes
 One reel (about 1000 ft or 305 m) of 35 mm film at 16 frames per second takes, +/- 10 %, 15 to 18½ minutes to show. The time depended on the speed and regularity of the cranking by the projectionist, and thus on his or her mood.
 Evening Post (Wellington, New Zealand), 3 August 1907, p.6.
 Stageland, 18 September 1907, p.28c, As I Lay A'Thinking.
 NZ Truth (New Zealand, national), 28 September 1907, p.4, Amusements, Living Picture Event.
 The Sydney Morning Herald, 2 October 1907, p.12, "ROBBERY UNDER ARMS."
 E.g. The Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 2 October 1907, p.2h, THE ATTRACTION THAT WILL MAKE ALL NEW SOUTH WALES TALK.
 New Zealand Herald (Auckland), 15 October 1907, p.3, Entertainments, Messrs. MacMahon's [sic] Picture Drama.
 Sunday Times (Sydney), 13 October 1907, p.2, ROBBERY UNDER ARMS.
 The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 November 1907, p.2, Amusements, Oxford Theatre.
 The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 November 1907, p.2, Amusements, Oxford Theatre.
 The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 December 1907, p.2, Amusements, Oxford Theatre.
 The sources are:
Stageland (Sydney), 9 October 1907, p.49, Robbery Under Arms;
Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News (Melbourne), 10 October 1907, p.19, Gossip.;
The Newsletter (Sydney), 19 October 1907, p.3, The Strutter's Page;
Film Weekly (Sydney), 21 August 1930, p.14cd.
 William James Ogle worked as manager and sometimes actor with Edward Irham Cole. Cole was the proprietor of the Haymarket Hippodrome in Sydney, and his Bohemian Dramatic Company performed there up to 22 August 1907, when the Stanford-Woods' company leased the venue until 29 September, and Cole's company returned. Cole's whereabouts in this period are not known, but as it coincides with the time when MacMahon was making Robbery Under Arms it is reasonable to speculate that Cole and some of his company were involved with the film's production. (Some members of Cole's company did perform in the Stanford-Woods shows.)
 Table Talk (Melbourne), 10 October 1907, p.22, On and Off the Stage.
 The Argus (Melbourne), 2 November 1907, p.24b, Entertainments;
The Age (Melbourne), 4 November 1907, p.11a, Amusements, Robbery Under Arms in Picture.
 The Herald (Melbourne), 4 November 1907, p.5cd, Amusements, Athenĉum Hall.
 The Argus, 27 November 1907, p.12, Amusements.
 The only source is:
Sun (Melbourne), Week-End Magazine, 28 February 1948, p.3ab, 'Starlight' Memory.
 ABC Weekly, 10 March 1945, p.44bc, Further footnotes on the Kelly Gang film.
 Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW), 30 November 1907, p.1, Amusements.
 The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 November 1907, p.2f, Amusements.
 The Argus (Melbourne), 2 November 1907, p.24b, Amusements.
 Referee (Sydney), 30 October 1907, p.12, Theatrical Gazette, General Gossip.
 Referee, 6 November 1907, p.12, Theatrical Gazette, General Gossip.
 West Australian, 23 December 1907, p.9d, "Robbery Under Arms".
 West Australian, 24 December 1907, p.9, "Robbery Under Arms".
 West Australian, 25 December 1907, p.51, Entertainments, King's Theatre, Fremantle.
 Kalgoorlie Miner, 2 January 1908, p.7, Amusements, Morris' Summer Gardens.
 Kalgoorlie Miner, 4 January 1908, p.7abc, HER MAJESTY'S THEATRE.
 Kalgoorlie Miner, 6 January 1908, p.6ab, MORRIS' SUMMER GARDENS.
 Kalgoorlie Miner, 17 February 1908, p.6, "ROBBERY UNDER ARMS."
 Western Champion and General Advertiser for the Central-Western Districts,
28 November 1908, p.7, SHIRE HALL, BARCALDINE.
The Barcaldine shows were part of a tour made by Bert Ive and C.B. Raymond for Charles MacMahon and Edward John Carroll. Page 5 of NFSA title number 358126:
[IVE, BERT : DOCUMENTATION] : [IVE, BERT : SCRAPBOOK]
has the agreement, dated 23 October 1908, between Carroll, and Ive and John Wills.
(Bert Ive, from 9 June 1913 till his death on 25 July 1939,
was the Commonwealth Government's official cinematographer.)
 The Film Daily Year Book of Motion Pictures [Film Year Book] 1922-1923 (USA), p.171a, Early Days in Australia.
 I am much indebted to Stephen Vagg for referring me to this article.
 The Winner (Melbourne), 9 February 1916, p.11,
Picture Profiles in the Olden Days.
I am again indebted to Stephen Vagg for this reference.
|Copyright © 2014 - 2016 Tony Martin-Jones||FILM HISTORY INDEX||Edition 2 (2016-04-25)|