The Romance of Runnibede

The Romance of Runnibede is a 1928 Australian silent film based on an incident in a book by Steele Rudd. Unlike many Australian silent movies, a copy of it exists today.

The Romance of Runnibede
Eva Novak on the set of the film
Directed byScott R. Dunlap
William Reed
Wallace Worsley
Produced byFred Philips
Written byGayne Dexter (titles)
John M. Giles
Based onnovel by Steele Rudd
StarringEva Novak
Gordon Collingridge
CinematographyLen Roos
Cliff Thomas
Edited byCecil Hargreaves
Production
company
Phillips Films Productions
Distributed byAustralasian Films
Union Theatres
Release date
20 September 1927 (preview)
9 January 1928[1]
Running time
6,000 feet
CountryAustralia
LanguageSilent film
English intertitles
Budget£12,000 or £15,000[2]
Box office£2,000[3]

Synopsis

Dorothy Winchester finishes four years of school and returns home to North Queensland where her father has a large station. She is kidnapped by a tribe of local aboriginals who believe she is the reincarnation of a queen. She is pursued by two men who love her: Tom Linton, a stockman on her father's property, and Sub-Inspector Dale, a mounted policeman. One of the men gives their life to save Dorothy.[4]

Cast

Production

A company was formed to make the film, Phillips Films Productions Ltd, with capital of £100,000.[5][6] The prime mover behind it was American businessman Frederick Phillips, who succeeded raising the money when the industry was excited about the success of For the Term of His Natural Life (1927). Investors in the company included Steele Rudd and William Reed, Eva Novak's husband.

Several people were imported from America, including the director, Scott Dunlap, and star, Eva Novak.[7][8] Dunlap's arrival was delayed so initial work was directed by William Reed. He received advice from Wallace Worsley, an American director visiting Australia at the time.[3][9]

The movie was shot on location at an aboriginal reserve near Murgon in Queensland and in a studio at Rushcutters Bay.[10][11][12]

Reception

Phillips announced plans to map more films with Dunlap[13] and gave evidence at the Royal Commission on the Moving Picture Industry in Australia that Australian industry did not require subsidy.[14] The film was previewed in Sydney in September 1927, seen by members of the Royal Commission, and was acclaimed by the critic from the Sydney Morning Herald who said it "deserves unqualified praise".[15]

However Romance proved to be a major disappointment at the box office and by May 1928 the company was in liquidation.[16][17] Steele Rudd lost most of the money he invested and Eva Novak left Australia still owed £3,000 in salary.[3][18]

The movie did obtain release in the UK in 1928.[19]

References

  1. "WINTERGARDEN THEATRE". Queensland Figaro. Brisbane, QLD: National Library of Australia. 7 January 1928. p. 15. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  2. "£100,000 SPENT." The Advocate (Burnie, Tas) 5 Jan 1928: 6; accessed 6 December 2011
  3. Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 142.
  4. ""THE ROMANCE OF RUNNIBEDE."". The Register. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 22 March 1928. p. 2. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  5. "COMPANY NEWS". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 22 November 1926. p. 13. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  6. "Cinema Notes". The Mercury. Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 10 June 1927. p. 6. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  7. Graham Shirley and Brian Adams, Australian Cinema: The First Eighty Years, Currency Press, 1989 p94
  8. "STAGE AND SCREEN". The Canberra Times. National Library of Australia. 17 March 1927. p. 12. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  9. "MOTION PICTURES". The Queenslander. National Library of Australia. 2 June 1927. p. 9. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  10. "GOOD PROSPECTS". The Brisbane Courier. National Library of Australia. 8 June 1927. p. 6. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  11. "MURGON RODEO". The Brisbane Courier. National Library of Australia. 11 June 1927. p. 19. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  12. "Cinema Notes". The Mercury. Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 10 June 1927. p. 6. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  13. "AUSTRALIAN FILMS". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 15 August 1927. p. 10. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  14. "AUSTRALIAN FILMS". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 15 September 1927. p. 9. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  15. ""THE ROMANCE OF RUNNIBEDE."". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 21 September 1927. p. 10. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  16. ""RUNNIBEDE" PRODUCER". The Daily News. Perth: National Library of Australia. 24 August 1928. p. 10 Edition: HOME (FINAL) EDITION. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  17. "LOST CAPITAL". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 14 August 1928. p. 13. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  18. "EVA NOVAK GONE". The Daily News. Perth: National Library of Australia. 4 May 1928. p. 10 Edition: HOME (FINAL) EDITION. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  19. "WHY AUSTRALIAN FILMS ARE FAILURES". The Mail. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 5 October 1929. p. 14. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
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