The Romantic Story of Margaret Catchpole

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The Romantic Story of Margaret Catchpole
Romantic Story of Margaret Catchpole.jpg
Lottie Lyell as Margaret Catchpole
Directed by Raymond Longford
Produced by Charles Cozens Spencer
Written by Raymond Longford
Based on the play An English Lass by Alfred Dampier & C.H. Krieger
book The History Of Margaret Catchpole: A Suffolk Girl by Richard Cobbold[1]
Starring Lottie Lyell
Cinematography Ernest Higgins
Edited by Ernest Higgins
Production
company
Spencer's Pictures
Distributed by Sawyer Inc (USA)
Release date
7 August 1911[2]
1913
Running time
3,000 feet (approx 50 mins)
Country Australia
Language Silent film
English intertitles

The Romantic Story of Margaret Catchpole is a 1911 Australian silent film directed by Raymond Longford and starring Lottie Lyell. It is based on the true story of Margaret Catchpole, an adventuress and convict.

Only part of the movie survives today.

Synopsis[edit]

In the south coast of England, a young woman, Margaret Catchpole (Lottie Lyell), is pursued by two men, the smuggler Will Laud (Raymond Longford) and the coastguard officer Lieutenant Barry (Augustus Neville). Laud is killed in a fight with coast guards and Margaret is sentenced to Botany Bay for horse stealing. She later marries Barry, who has since moved to Sydney, and becomes well-regarded for her hospital work.[3]

Cast[edit]

  • Lottie Lyell as Margaret Catchpole
  • Raymond Longford as Will Laud
  • Augustus Neville as Lieutenant Barry
  • Sybil Wilde as Little Kitty
  • William Coulter as Lord Chief Justice
  • E. Melville as Justice Heath
  • Fred Hardy as Chaloner Archdeckne
  • J. Eldridge as Landlord of the Bull Inn
  • Jack Goodall as Edward Catchpole
  • J. Howard as Reverend O'Gharty
  • H. Parker as Lieutenant Bourne
  • C. Swain as Landlord of the Chester Inn
  • Fred Twitcham as Mr. Cobbold
  • Walter Vincent as Captain Luff, a smuggler

Source material[edit]

The History of Margaret Catchpole: A Suffolk Girl
Author Richard Cobbold
Country England
Language English
Publication date
1845
An English Lass
Written by Alfred Dampier
C.H. Krieger
Date premiered 16 February 1887[4]
Place premiered Royal Standard Theatre, Sydney
Original language English
Genre Melodrama

In 1845 Richard Cobbold's historical novel The History of Margaret Catchpole: A Suffolk Girl was published, which helped make Catchpole famous, even if it did distort history.[5]

The novel was dramatised in the play An English Lass by Alfred Dampier and C. H. Krieger.[6] The play was revived in 1893.[7]

The structure of the play was as follows:

  • ACT 1 – Birthplace of Margaret Catchpole at Naeton, Suffolk. A May Day Morning.
  • ACT 2 – Temptation. The conflict between Right and Wrong.
  • ACT 3 – Scene 1 : Ipswich Gaol, Under Sentence of Death.
  • ACT 3 – Scene 2: A street in Ipswich. The Escape. The Pursuit.
  • ACT 3 – Scene 3 : The Ruins of Walton Castle. Death of Laud.
  • ACT 4 – The Assigned Convict Servant.
  • ACT 5 – Lost in the Bush. Heroism of Margaret.

Laurence Irving also wrote a play on Catchpole which premiered in 1911.[8]

Production[edit]

Spencer had produced three films based on plays by Alfred Dampier under the direction of Alfred Rolfe and wanted to make a fourth. However Rolfe left Spencer to run the Australian Photo-Play Company so Raymond Longford, who had worked on the earlier films as an actor, stepped in as director.[9]

The movie was shot in July 1911.[10] No screenwriter was credited.[11]

It enabled Lottie Lyell to demonstrate her skills as a horsewoman.[12] Spencer's own horse "Arno", specially imported from England, appears.[1]

The first half of the film, the section set in England, survives today. Comprising 1,596 feet at 24 minutes it is the earliest surviving example of the work of Lyell and Raymond Longford.[13]

Release[edit]

The film was successful at the box office and received strong reviews. The critic from the Sydney Morning Herald stated that:

Mr Spencer has now produced several Australian taken and manufactured pictures, all of which have been of highest class, but it is questionable if he has done anything better than his latest effort. From the first scene to the last the pictures are good, the flicker being reduced to a minimum... Set among charming old-world scenery with the quaint costumes of our great grandparents the opening scene of the May-day dance is a jewel picture, and the promise of the opening scene is fulfilled throughout. The cliff and water scenery one can safely say, has never been surpassed in Australian picture shows. Through all her varying tones, from peaceful home in England to happiness in Australia, Margaret is charming, and carries the sympathy of the audience with her. Last in the cast of characters, but far from last in the hearts of the audience, are the splendid horses that play so important a part in the story.[14]

USA release[edit]

It was one of a number of Spencer films bought for release in the United States. Its title was changed to The Queen of the Smugglers.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Raymond Longford", Cinema Papers, January 1974 p51
  2. ^ "Advertising". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 7 August 1911. p. 2. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
  3. ^ "THEATRE ROYAL". The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950). Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 9 November 1911. p. 2. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  4. ^ "Advertising". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 19 February 1887. p. 2. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  5. ^ "Advertising". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 10 July 1845. p. 3. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
  6. ^ "AMUSEMENTS. ROYAL STANDARD THEATRE". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 21 February 1887. p. 8. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  7. ^ "Advertising". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 5 September 1893. p. 2. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  8. ^ "LONDON GAIETIES". The Mercury. Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 29 June 1911. p. 6. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
  9. ^ Richard Fotheringham, "Introduction", Robbery Under Arms by Alfred Dampier and Garnet Walch, Currency Press 1985 p58
  10. ^ "THE LYCEUM". Truth (Sydney, NSW : 1894 - 1954). Sydney, NSW: National Library of Australia. 16 July 1911. p. 3. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  11. ^ "THE STAGE". Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931). Sydney, NSW: National Library of Australia. 12 August 1911. p. 13. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  12. ^ Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 22
  13. ^ The Romantic Story of Margaret Catchpole at National Film and Sound Archive
  14. ^ ""MARGARET CATCHPOLE" AT THE LYCEUM". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 8 August 1911. p. 10. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
  15. ^ http://lantern.mediahist.org/catalog/motionp09moti_0531
  • Shirly, Graham; Adams, Brian (1983). Australian Cinema: The First 80 Years. Angus & Robertson Publishers. ISBN 0-207-14581-4.

External links[edit]