Greenhide

Greenhide is a 1926 Australian film directed by Charles Chauvel. Only part of the film survives today.

Greenhide
Directed byCharles Chauvel
Produced byCharles Chauvel
Written byCharles Chauvel[1]
Frank White (titles)
StarringElsa Chauvel (as Elsie Sylvaney)
Bruce Gordon
Frank Thorn
Irma Deardon
Release date
20 November 1926[2]
Running time
8,000 feet
CountryAustralia
LanguageEnglish
Budget£3,800[3]
Box office₤1,000[4]

Plot

High society girl Margery Paton (Elsa Chauvel) leaves the city to live on her father's cattle property, run by "Greenhide Gavin" (Bruce Gordon). She carries romantic notions of the bush, of "being swung to the saddle by big brown arms", but Greenhide Gavin is initially only annoyed by her presence. Greenhide contains a blossoming romance, and the thwarting of a plot to steal cattle.[2]

Cast

  • Elsie Sylvaney as Margery Paton
  • Bruce Gordon as Greenhide Gavin
  • Jules Murray-Prior as Slab Rawlins
  • Irma Dearden as Polly Andrews
  • Gerald Barlow as Sam Paton
  • Frank Thorn as Tom Mullins
  • Joe Mackaway as Phil Mackin
  • Alfred Greenup as Bill Mullins
  • Nell Kerwin
  • George Barrett

Production

Greenhide was Charles Chauvel's second film, following The Moth of Moonbi (1926), and his final silent film. Chauvel scouted his leading lady, then Elsie May Wilcox, after seeing her in a stage musical called Crackers at the Cremorne Theatre in Brisbane, Queensland.[5] Though she was reluctant at first to audition, Chauvel convinced her to perform a screentest, and ultimately offered her the role.[5] The pair began a romantic relationship over the course of filming, and Charles and Elsa were married on 5 June 1927,[6] at St James Church, Sydney, the ceremony officiated by Charles' brother, the Reverend John Chauvel.[5]

On-location filming took place at Walloon Station in Dawson Valley, Queensland.[7] The production encampment, a collection of tents accommodating twenty people, was informally named "Camp Greenhide" by locals.[5] Interior filming took place in a studio in Brisbane.[5] Chauvel played a phonograph recording of "In a Monastery Garden" to induce realistic tears from Elsa Chauvel without the need to use glycerine drops.[5]

Release

Greenhide was screened throughout most of Queensland without the use of a distribution agency.[5] Charles and Elsa Chauvel personally transported prints of the film from town to town, and tried to convince theatre owners to replace booked American films with a local alternative. Prior to each screening, Elsa would provide a dramatic monologue and introduction.[5]

In Brisbane and Sydney, Greenhide screened through distributor Hoyts,[5] and broke records in Brisbane.[5] However the movie struggled to find distribution in country areas and the Southern cities. In 1927 it was reported the film still had to earn ₤6,030 to recoup all its costs, due in part to the large portion of box office earnings taken by distributors and exhibitors.[4] This caused Australian Film Productions to go into voluntary liquidation in 1929.[8] Later the liquidator left Brisbane and copies of the film were abandoned in a building and caught fire.[9]

Greenhide, in its original form, was 8000 feet long, but today only 2475 feet of 35mm film survive (37 mins at 18 frames per second).[2]

References

  1. Copyright registration at National Archives of Australia
  2. "Greenhide" Title Details, National Film and Sound Archive Accessed on 4 December 2010.
  3. "£100,000 SPENT." Advocate (Burnie, Tas) 5 Jan 1928: 6 accessed 6 December 2011
  4. "BRITISH FILMS". The Brisbane Courier. National Library of Australia. 24 June 1927. p. 14. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  5. Chauvel Carlsson, Susanne (1989) Charles & Elsa Chauvel: Movie Pioneers, University of Queensland Press
  6. "Chauvel, Elsa (1898–1983)", Australian Dictionary of Biography: Online Edition. Accessed on 3 December 2010.
  7. ""Greenhide."". Nambour Chronicle and North Coast Advertiser. Qld.: National Library of Australia. 19 November 1926. p. 10. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  8. "COMPANY NEWS". The Brisbane Courier. National Library of Australia. 12 October 1929. p. 12. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  9. "Heat Causes Film Fire In Strongroom". The Courier-Mail. Brisbane: National Library of Australia. 31 January 1940. p. 3. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
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