I gotta tell ya, I liked this Aussie Western a lot. I felt it was WAY underrated and unappreciated. Still viewable onPrime Video: https://www.primevideo.com/detail/0IZIRW4XB02AVY1QC6FOVJM2L6/ref=atv_dl_rdr?tag=imdbtag_tt_wbr_pvs_piv_ca-20.
I don’t normally promote like this. But I feel this is a worthy project.
Comment excerpt from the film makers: “The Legend of Ben Hall’ was a 100% indie film. We made the film for less than $1million. Most people working on it were first timers, busting their ass to get a break in the film industry. A film like this would normally cost upwards of $5m. Film funding bodies turned us away. Investors told us to get lost. We had to use crowdfunding just to get a leg up. My cast and crew worked for weeks on end on deferred pay – or no pay – battling the cold, the rain and fighting endlessly against a system that just wanted to ignore and squash us, and still continues to do so. We made this film outside of the Hollywood and Australian film industry establishment. Both told us we could never achieve it, yet we did … “
A job very well done.
The Legend of Ben Hall Trivia
Via Internet Movie Database (IMDB)
Director Matthew Holmes spent seven years researching Ben Hall‘s history to ensure the screenplay,
characters and plot were as historically accurate as possible.
Actors Jack Martin (Ben Hall) and Jamie Coffa (John Gilbert) bear striking
physical resemblances to the historical characters they portray.
Ben Hall carries a Tranter revolver. The Tranter revolver was an English ‘cap and ball’ revolver
invented around 1856 by William Tranter.
Tranter revolvers were regarded as reliable and functional, and were extensively used by Confederate forces during the American Civil War.
‘Brave’ Ben Hall is one of Australia’s most infamous Bushrangers but like many others
such as ‘Mad Dog’ Daniel Morgan and ‘Gentleman Bushranger’ Martin Cash
he is often overlooked as the most popular and well known one is of course Ned Kelly.
It’s very safe to say that the Bushrangers hold exactly the same legendary stature to Australians
as Billy the Kid and Jesse James do to Americans.
Whisky in the Jar / The Brothers Four Many versions of the great folk song.
This one is good.
Westerns have guns. Lotsa guns.
In fact, along with horses, it’s questionable whether it’s really a Western
if it doesn’t have guns in it. Or even worth watching.
Yet I don’t often profile Guns in the Westerns anymore. I stopped.
Not for Political, Social or Spiritual reasons. But because most Westerns use the same guns.
Over and over.
It just became redundant. Ben Hall, however, has a few new (old) Guns that I’ve never seen before.
Let’s check ’em out.
Firstly, you might be wondering why Ben and his friends are bristling with a rather large number of firearms.
There was a good reason.
This was the Cap and Ball era. Pre-cartridge.
Re-loading was a timely exercise – very impractical during a fight.
Solution: carry lots of guns.
I’ll cover Cap and Ball loading and Bullet Making in my next post.
Below: One of Ben’s revolvers: 1856 Tranter .38 caliber, double trigger, five shot, percussion revolver. A revolver of this make was found with Ben Hall at the Billabong where he was killed.
Here’s it’s Cap and Ball Gun Kit.
1856 Tranter .38 caliber, double trigger, five shot, percussion revolver gun kit. Unlikely Ben toted a kit around – but he definitely had all these tools.
May I now confess that I am no gun expert?
I cannot identify everything in this kit.
Though I was in the Calgary Highlanders Militia
and did a lot of shooting when I was kid, I don’t even own a gun now – of any kind.
And haven’t shot one in a long – except in computer games (Where I’m an expert).
Those of you out there who can ID the items in the kit please step forward.
There’s no reward, but I’ll be grateful.
Proper cleaning and maintenance of your guns was essential.
Otherwise jamming, misfires, fouling and other evils could occur.
Another of Ben’s revolvers:
Most of the gun images are from:
Ben Hall Gallery
Stunning Soundtrack by Ronnie Minder. Haunting and powerful.
There’s lots of posters for The Legend of Ben Hall. But I discovered that some are made by fans.
If so, they’re damn good. I’m certain there’s no intention at deception. They just liked the movie.
I’ve created more than a few images myself for other Westerns that are circulating around the net.
I hope people like and enjoy them. Just for fun.
The third of the Preview Trailer of The Legend of Ben Hall:
‘6 out of 10’? I don’t agree. But I’m often not in agreement with Critics.
I wouldn’t say that The Legend of Ben Hall is a Western Classic. But it’s a damn good Western and a well made Movie.
And I’ll watch it again. As I said, I think the average Western Fan would appreciate it.
Internet Movie Database (IMDB) is probably the foremost Movie site on the Net. And it has a lot of good features.
One thing it doesn’t have though (that Rotten Tomatoes does) is an Audience Score.
Which I think is definitely important.
Below you can see why:
The Audience liked The Legend of Ben Hall. “79%“.
That’s a 30% difference with the Critics!!!
Myself I rate it 8 out of 10. 80% The Audience and I agree!
I’ve been trying to get hold of this movie for months.
Back in May I did a post called “6 New Westerns” and did a small preview of each. The Legend of Ben Hall was not new however – it had come out in 2016, but I hadn’t heard of it before.
My gut feeling was that this was a pretty good Western and Western fans would probably like it.
I found it to be a quality production all the way around.
Wikipedia says: “Bushrangers were originally escaped convicts in the early years of the British settlement of Australia who had the survival skills necessary to use the Australianbush as a refuge to hide from the authorities. By the 1820s, the term “bushranger” had evolved to refer to those who abandoned social rights and privileges to take up “robbery under arms” as a way of life, using the bush as their base. Most were simply criminals and thieves.”
In the American Western we’d call these guys Outlaws.
BUT an Outlaw seems to be something different in the eyes of Australians.
Their distinction seems to be that you wouldn’t be referred to as an Outlaw until you had murdered someone.
Then, if caught, you would be hung. Prior to that it seems you could commit
almost any kind of skullduggery and would be jailed/imprisoned instead.
Though I’m sure the prisons of those days might have been worse than death.
The Legend of Ben Hall does not sugar coat Bushrangers. Ben Hall is not portrayed as a Hero.
And, at times, this is not a comfortable movie to watch.
A series of misfortunes forced him into the life of crime.
And according to this film it was a life of deep regret.
Despite being a Bushranger, Ben Hall definitely had certain lines he would never cross. Killing a man of one of these. And it’s believed that he never did.
A hell of story.
I couldn’t guess what the life expectancy of your average Bushranger might be.
But it was not likely very high.
Every year a fistful of new Westerns try to sneak past me. Some succeed. Some are so bad they outta gallop past me at high speed. Yet there’s others that don’t get a fair hanging. And to Western Fans – like me – I figure they’re worth a watch.
The problem is not that we aren’t in the Golden Age of Westerns anymore – there’s still plenty of talent and good tales to be told. And will be. It’s other things. Mainly Money. Even though Westerns are usually fairly inexpensive to make (as Movie go) they still need to bring in some decent loot. It’s business. Art – as I’ve said – is not at the top of the list. Also, most movies these days are pre-screened (likely to audiences that are not Western fans) And if they figure the movie is not going to make good money (even if a good Movie/Western) they won’t distribute it to the theatres. It will then likely go directly to Video/DVD – or some other place like Netflix (if we’re lucky). But in a lot of instances they can become almost invisible right away – hard to find – and hard to get – even if you do know about them. Whether they deserve such treatment or not (in some instances they do). But in other instances we might well be missing a decent Western that you could rightly enjoy. Because like you, I often don’t agree with the Critics – or the general masses.
Six New Westerns
Which brings to what I’ve been leading up to: Six new Westerns that I’ve discovered which are upcoming or relatively new – that you probably don’t know about. So I’m gonna preview each one individually in next few days.
Here they are:
Yep you’re reading it right:
Starring Joaquin Phoenix and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Should be interesting.
This looks pretty good.
We’ll have to see …
Of the Horror Western genre.
Not my thing, but doesn’t appear to take itself too seriously.