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Dusters Down Under: Part 3: Ned Kelly / 1906 to 1960 …

4 Feb

I’m going to move through the Kelly movies movie right up to 1960:

The Kelly Gang (1920)
When The Kellys Were Out (1923) 
When The Kellys Rode (1934) 
The Glenrowan Affair (1951)
Stringybark Massacre (1960)

The Kelly Gang 1920

The Kelly Gang (1920)

One Image (above)

From Iron Outlaw

Director: Harry Southwell
Cast: Godfrey Cass … as Ned Kelly

“Welsh-born filmmaker Charles Southwell had a vision: to present the great drama of the Kelly saga on the Australian screen. He laboured at this task for 15 years, producing three films of indifferent quality along the way – The Kelly Gang, When the Kellys Were Out, and When The Kellys Rode. Southwell’s endeavours were hampered by political sensitivities, with any pro-Kelly material liable to be banned.”

When The Kellys Were Out (1923) 

No images – No posters.

Australian State Records Website:

Australian film censorship in the 1920s:
“…no official encouragement whatever should be given to moving picture promoters to attempt to make a hero of a criminal.”

In accordance with the relevant regulations, the film had to be submitted for approval by the Censor Board. As this correspondence shows, despite some differences of opinion, permission to screen the film for the public was not granted, even though the company had made a number of changes following initial rejection by the Board.
The authorities were well aware that the exploits of the gang endured in the public imagination, despite the passage of forty years. The Board’s concerns about the possible glorification of outlaws (and consequent ‘corruption of public morals’) meant that it could be difficult to obtain permission to screen any film that featured bushrangers, particularly the Kellys.

When The Kellys Rode (1934) 

Several excellent Posters

when the kellys rode
when the kellys rode 2when the kellys rode 3
The Glenrowan Affair (1951)

No posters – No images

The Glenrowan Affair – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

It was Rupert Kathner’s final film and stars VFL star Bob Chitty as Kelly. It was known as one of the worst films ever made in Australia.

The film was given its first screening in Victoria at Benalla. Townspeople were worried relatives of the Kellys would cause trouble. However, the screening was accompanied by audience laughter. Nonetheless the screening raised ₤400 for charity.

Reviews: – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

“This near-unendurable stretch of laboured, amateurish film-making is something that the developing Australian film industry will wish to forget-swiftly and finally … A film made on a shoe-string (as this obviously was) could still achieve a little crude vitality. This one isn’t even robust enough for the unconscious humour (and there is plenty of that) to be really enjoyable. The script is dreary, the photography more often out of-focus than in, the editing is unimaginative and the acting petrified. It would be misplaced kindness, in fact, to try and ferret out a redeeming feature.”

Stringybark Massacre (1960) 

No posters – No images

Director: Gary Shead

Garry Shead’s avante-guard filmmaking techniques result in a stylish re-creation of the murder of three police officers at Stringybark, Victoria by Australian bush outlaw, Ned Kelly.

Dusters Down Under Part 4: The Kelly Movies 1960 to present … 

Dusters Down Under: Part 2: The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906)

2 Feb

“A thrilling moving picture from start to finish
The Most Sensational, The Most Thrilling and Interesting LIVING PICTURES EVER TAKEN.”

ned kelly song … waylon jennings

the story begins

Wikipedia: The Story of the Kelly Gang is a 1906 Australian film that traces the life of the legendary infamous outlaw and bushranger Ned Kelly (1855–1880). It was written and directed by Charles Tait. The film ran for more than an hour, and at that time was the longest narrative film yet seen in the world. Its approximate reel length was 4,000 feet …

the story of the ned kelly gang poster

There are only about ten minutes the of film left. Many rolls of damaged film were found in an old barn which was once the family home of the Crews in Yarraville, Victoria. The roles were sent to Canberra but they were unable to recover most of the footage. In November 2006 the National Film and Sound Archive made a new digital copy of the movie. This has 11 minutes of extra film which was discovered in the United Kingdom. The movie now is 17 minutes long. It has the main scene of the Kelly’s fight with the police at Glenrowan (called the Kelly’s Last Stand).

ned kelly and gang


shooting sidesaddle

ned in his armour

Ned in his famous armour

neds's end

ned stamp

ned kelly armour

Dusters Down Under Part 3: The Kelly Movies cont … 

Dusters Down Under: Part 1… Frontiers and Kelly

30 Jan

The Vanishing Frontier ??

waltzing matilda …

Although there’s still good chunks of unspoiled country out there, I think it’s generally felt that the American Western Frontier is gone. That’s only partially correct. If you check any map, you will see that huge areas of Montana, Oregon, Washington and the Central US States (the Mid West) still have plenty of wild areas where there are few roads, few people, and little development – much is still uncluttered and unspoiled. Further, we might mention Alaska and other North American habitat such as in Canada: Alberta, British Columbia, the Yukon Territory, the Northwest Territory – all sparely peopled. map of US and Canada

But the American and Canadian frontiers are not the ONLY frontiers on this planet. One other such place – which still has a ton of Frontier and an Old West history to boot – is Australia – and it’s Outback. Australia

And over the years several excellent Western style movies have emerged from this frontier Down Under, including a couple of Western Classics. Let’s have a look.

So far, my research has uncovered about 25 Western style movies made in Austrailia – dating all the way back to 1906! Yeah.

The Ned Kelly Industry

 “It is not that I fear death. I fear it as little as to drink a cup of tea … Let the hand of the law strike me down if it will; but I ask my story be heard and considered.”

ned kelly


Most of you will not be surprised to discover that about half of these Western style movies made in Australia are about the famous Australian Outlaw, Ned Kelly, and his gang.

The Australian media on Ned Kelly is staggering: movies, films, documentaries, websites, TV shows, books, comic books, merchandise, coins, statues, toys … on and on.

Despite our obvious fascination with Outlaws (Billy the Kid (23 movies), Jesse James, Butch Cassidy, (many more) there are other reasons for Kelly’s high profile in Australia. Firstly, due to Australia’s short history his exploits and adventures stand out. Secondly, he is Iconic in Australia – he fits Australian mood and attitude like a glove (or suit of armour) – the common (underdog) man pitted and rebelling against an overbearing dictatorial force – the Brits. Australians – many of whom are ancestors of prisoners sent here by the British – still have a large angst against stuffy authority of any kind – particularly if it’s British. Check their national anthem, for instance, Walzing Matilda, which depicts a lowly hobo (a swagman) being set upon by the police – whereby he commits suicide rather than be taken prisoner. Ned Kelly IS that swagman – to a T – who also sacrificed himself for his brothers and fellowman and Freedom. This mindset carries through to this very day and can be readily seen in such movies as Crocodile Dundee – a modern day unpretentious hero and bush ranger who’d rather share a drink with doorman than ride in a stretch limo, Mate. And though not all Australians share the view that Kelly as a sort of Australian Robin Hood, it’s safe to say that many surely do strongly relate with with his character and his cause – the rugged individual battling again injustice and oppression.

 I Won’t Back Down – Johnny Cash

All this being said the same problems that have risen with other celebrity outlaws – most notably Billy the Kid – arise with Kelly – the mixture of fact and fiction. A rather large gulf may existed between what is legend, and what is the truth? The depiction of Kelly most often appears to be sympathetic – and maybe that is just. Several documentaries have attempted to uncover the true Ned Kelly. But I won’t be covering those here. I’m just looking at the movies. Otherwise this could turn into and extra long expedition. 

For info on Kelly this Website looks pretty good:

Iron Outlaw website: – perhaps the definitive source and resource of all things Ned Kelly.

Coming up:

Dusters Down Under Part 2: The Kelly Movies … 

Coming up on My Favorite Westerns! … Lonesome Dove: Gus and Woodrow through the ages … also Westerns Down Under/Aussie Dusters …

16 Jan


“People just ne’er git tired of us …”

Quigley Downunder


Kaboooom ! Aussie Style !

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