Moonlite

Moonlite is a 1910 bushranger film about Captain Moonlite, played by John Gavin, who also directed. It was also known as Captain Moonlite and is considered a lost film.

Moonlite
Production still from making film
Directed byJohn Gavin
Produced byH. A. Forsyth
Written byH. A. Forsyth[1] or Agnes Gavin[2]
Based onthe play Captain Moonlight by W. J. Lincoln[3]
StarringJohn Gavin
Agnes Gavin
CinematographyA. J. Moulton[4]
Production
company
Southern Cross Film Enterprise[5]
Release date
31 December 1910 (Sydney)[6][7]
Running time
4,000 feet[8]
CountryAustralia
LanguageSilent
Budget₤1,000[9][10]

It followed on the success of Thunderbolt (1910), also made by Gavin and Forsyth.[11][2]

Synopsis

In the early 1870s, a New Zealand army officer, Captain George Scott, is caught cheating at cards and brutally beats a fellow officer. Disgraced and discharged, he joins the clergy and falls in love with the beautiful Ruth Clarke, whose brother has embezzled a large amount of money and is going to be arrested. For her sake he robs the Edgerton Bank, and arranges to leave by boat to England. The police arrive as he gets on the boat the Lady Isabelle and although he attempts to swim away he is wounded and arrested. Constables Ryan and Mae have their first case.

Scott later escapes from gaol by strangling a warden and releasing another prisoner. He becomes a bushranger under the name of "Moonlite", forming a gang which includes Ruth's brother. He saves an aboriginal "gin" called Bunda Bunda from downing, then goes on to rob the gold escort, distributing some of this money to the poor.

Moonlite and his gang go on to stick up a country pub and the police send Inspector Carroll and his men after him. Moonlite's gang hold up Wantabadgery Station, and Carroll gives chase but they are fought off and Bunda Bunda saves Moonlite's life.[12]

Ryan and Mac make a capture, and Bunda Bunda shoots the tracker after Moonlite. Eventually Moonlite is captured at McCreedy's farm after a shootout by Inspector Carroll in which Bunda Bunda is killed. He is taken away to gaol for the last time to be executed. All Ruth is left with is his cross.[13][14]

The chapter headings were as follows:[15]

  1. The Great Military Scene
  2. Scott as a Minister
  3. Scott Robs the Egerton Bank
  4. Ryan and Mac's First Case
  5. Scott's Great Escape from the Boat Lady Isabel
  6. Scott's Swim: Arrest and Escape from Gaol
  7. The Forming of the Gang
  8. To the Bush ; Scott Saves Bunda Bunda; Bunda Bunda's Swim
  9. Gold Escort Robbery
  10. Scott's Kindness to the Poor
  11. Sticking Up the Roadside Pub
  12. Troopers Drilling Under Inspector Carrol
  13. Sticking Up Wantabadgery Station
  14. Great Police Chase
  15. Scott's Strategy and Defeat of Inspector Carrol
  16. Ryan and Mac Make a Capture
  17. Ryan and Mac Drilling for Duty
  18. Young Clarke, the Bushranging bareback Rider
  19. Bunda Bunda Shoots the Tracker
  20. The Great Fight at McCready's Farm
  21. Moonlite's last Journey to Gaol
  22. The Cross is All that is Left to Ruth.

Cast

Production

The plot appears to have been heavily influenced by the classic novel Robbery Under Arms.[17]

Gavin later said the film was the first script written by his wife Agnes. Female lead Ruby Butler won a beauty contest.[2]

The film was shot at Victoria Barracks in Sydney and in the bush around Lithgow, with a budget of over ₤1,000.[18] over 200 people were reportedly involved in the film.[19]

Gavin was almost attacked by a shark while shooting an escape sequence near Glebe Island – producer H.A. Forsyth had to throw a dog overboard to distract the shark and save Gavin.[20]

Release

Screenings of the film were usually accompanied by a lecturer.

Many advertisements for the film would mention Forysth but not Gavin.[21]

The first public screening was a sellout.[22] According to Gavin, the film was a massive success at the box office.[23]

However, he then ended his association with H. A. Forsyth and instead was commissioned to make several films for Stanley Crick and Herbert Finlay, starting with Ben Hall and his Gang (1910).[9][24]

According to some reports the film went for 11,000 feet (over 80 minutes).[25] However most reports put the length of the film at 4,000 feet.

According to the Truth "the film is remarkable for its clearness, and is sure to become a great success throughout Australia."[26]

References

  1. "MOONLITE IN PICTURE". The Evening News. Sydney. 31 December 1910. p. 7. Retrieved 4 October 2013 via National Library of Australia.
  2. Everyones, Everyones Ltd, 1920, retrieved 30 May 2018
  3. Mary Bateman, 'W. J. Lincoln', Cinema Papers, June–July 1980 p 173
  4. ""CAPTAIN MOONLITE."". Queensland Times (DAILY ed.). Ipswich, Queensland. 20 March 1911. p. 4. Retrieved 4 October 2013 via National Library of Australia.
  5. "SOUTHERN CROSS MOTION PICTURES". The Sydney Morning Herald. 31 December 1910. p. 14. Retrieved 12 January 2012 via National Library of Australia.
  6. "Advertising". The Sydney Morning Herald. 31 December 1910. p. 2. Retrieved 4 October 2013 via National Library of Australia.
  7. "SOUTHERN CROSS MOTION PICTURES". The Sydney Morning Herald. 31 December 1910. p. 14. Retrieved 30 March 2015 via National Library of Australia.
  8. "SOUTHERN CROSS PICTURES". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2 January 1911. p. 3. Retrieved 24 February 2012 via National Library of Australia.
  9. Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 12.
  10. "Advertising". The Brisbane Courier. 4 March 1911. p. 2. Retrieved 4 October 2013 via National Library of Australia.
  11. "Theatrical Gossip". The Newsletter: an Australian Paper for Australian People. Sydney. 17 December 1910. p. 2. Retrieved 30 March 2015 via National Library of Australia.
  12. "ENTERTAINMENTS". The Brisbane Courier. 13 March 1911. p. 3. Retrieved 28 January 2012 via National Library of Australia.
  13. "Advertising". The Sydney Morning Herald. 3 January 1911. p. 2. Retrieved 28 January 2012 via National Library of Australia.
  14. "Advertising". The Brisbane Courier. 11 March 1911. p. 2. Retrieved 28 January 2012 via National Library of Australia.
  15. "Advertising". The Evening News. Sydney. 4 January 1911. p. 6. Retrieved 4 October 2013 via National Library of Australia.
  16. "Who's Who in the Movies". Table Talk. Melbourne. 18 October 1928. p. 24. Retrieved 13 November 2014 via National Library of Australia.
  17. "Moonlite". The Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate. NSW. 4 February 1911. p. 4. Retrieved 28 January 2012 via National Library of Australia.
  18. "Advertising". The Brisbane Courier. 4 March 1911. p. 2. Retrieved 28 January 2012 via National Library of Australia.
  19. "MOONLITE IN PICTURE". The Evening News. Sydney. 31 December 1910. p. 7. Retrieved 30 March 2015 via National Library of Australia.
  20. "The Perils of a Blograph Artist". The Newsletter: an Australian Paper for Australian People. Sydney. 3 December 1910. p. 2. Retrieved 3 October 2013 via National Library of Australia.
  21. "Advertising". The Evening News. Sydney. 31 December 1910. p. 2. Retrieved 30 March 2015 via National Library of Australia.
  22. "SOUTHERN CROSS PICTURES". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2 January 1911. p. 3. Retrieved 30 March 2015 via National Library of Australia.
  23. "Film Theatres and Players". The Sydney Mail. 16 May 1928. p. 24. Retrieved 31 March 2015 via National Library of Australia.
  24. "Advertising". The Referee. Sydney. 4 January 1911. p. 16. Retrieved 3 October 2013 via National Library of Australia.
  25. "Theatrical Notes". Queensland Figaro. Brisbane. 16 March 1911. p. 17. Retrieved 4 October 2013 via National Library of Australia.
  26. "SOUTHERN CROSS MOTION PICTURES". The Truth. Sydney. 1 January 1911. p. 5. Retrieved 30 March 2015 via National Library of Australia.
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