|For the Term of His Natural Life|
|Directed by||Charles MacMahon|
|Based on||a stage adaptation of the novel by Marcus Clarke|
|Produced by|| Charles MacMahon |
E. J. Carroll
|Cinematography||C. Byers Coates|
|8 August 1908|
|2,000 feet (45 – 60 mins)|
|Languages|| Silent film |
|Budget||£7,000 or £1,000|
For the Term of His Natural Life is a 1908 Australian silent film based on the 1874 novel by the same name by Marcus Clarke. The film is an adaptation of MacMahon's stage adaptation of the novel.
It was the fourth Australian feature ever made and is considered a lost film.
The 1908 film was the first screen adaptation of Clarke's novel, which was also later filmed in 1911, as a silent film known as "The Life of Rufus Dawes", 1927, again as a silent film (the most expensive produced in Australia to that time) and 1983, as a television mini-series.
The film's plot was a collection of highlights from the novel, such as
The movie kept the tragic ending of the novel, with Rufus Dawes and Sylvia perishing in a storm after Reverend North had helped Dawes escape.
The MacMahon brothers, James and Charles MacMahon, had enjoyed success producing a version of the novel on stage,and allocated a considerable budget for the movie, including a shooting schedule of eight weeks and location work in Port Arthur. The scene involving the burning of a sailing ship was staged with a model ship in a tank.
Based on a popular stage adaptation of the novel, the movie was a big success at the box office, running for eight weeks in Sydney at Queens Hall in 1908.It played in cinemas on and off until World War I. Screenings were usually accompanied by an actor, who would provide descriptive commentary to what was on screen.
The mines of the West Coast of Tasmania have a rich historical heritage as well as an important mineralogical value in containing or having had found, specimens of rare and unusual minerals. Also, the various mining fields have important roles in the understanding of the mineralization of the Mount Read Volcanics, and the occurrence of economic minerals.
For the Term of His Natural Life is a story written by Marcus Clarke and published in The Australian Journal between 1870 and 1872. It was published as a novel in 1874 and is the best known novelisation of life as a convict in early Australian history. At times relying on seemingly implausible coincidences, the story follows the fortunes of Rufus Dawes, a young man transported for a murder that he did not commit. The book clearly conveys the harsh and inhumane treatment meted out to the convicts, some of whom were transported for relatively minor crimes, and graphically describes the conditions the convicts experienced. The novel was based on research by the author as well as a visit to the penal settlement of Port Arthur, Tasmania.
Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford is a 1916 Australian silent comedy film directed by Fred Niblo. The film was the first made by the film unit of theatrical firm J. C. Williamson, although it was one of the last to be released. It was Niblo's debut film as a director and is considered a lost film.
For the Term of His Natural Life is a 1927 Australian film based on the 1874 novel by Marcus Clarke, directed, produced and co-written by Norman Dawn. It was the most expensive Australian silent film ever made and remains one of the most famous Australian films of the silent era.
Raymond Longford was a prolific Australian film director, writer, producer and actor during the silent era. Longford was a major director of the silent film era of the Australian cinema. He formed a production team with Lottie Lyell. His contributions to Australian cinema with his ongoing collaborations with Lyell, including The Sentimental Bloke (1919) and The Blue Mountains Mystery (1921), prompted the Australian Film Institute's AFI Raymond Longford Award, inaugurated in 1968, to be named in his honour.
Alfred Dampier was an English-born actor-manager and playwright, active in Australia.
The Assigned Servant is a 1911 Australian silent film about a convict who is transported to Van Diemen's Land. It was made by the husband-and-wife team of John and Agnes Gavin and is considered a lost film.
Alfred Rolfe, real name Alfred Roker, was an Australian stage and film director and actor, best known for being the son-in-law of the celebrated actor-manager Alfred Dampier, with whom he appeared frequently on stage, and for his prolific output as a director during Australia's silent era, including Captain Midnight, the Bush King (1911), Captain Starlight, or Gentleman of the Road (1911) and The Hero of the Dardanelles (1915). Only one of his films as director survives today.
It Is Never Too Late to Mend is an Australian feature-length silent film written and directed by W. J. Lincoln. It was based on a stage adaptation of the popular 1865 novel It Is Never Too Late to Mend: A Matter-of-Fact Romance by Charles Reade about the corrupt penal system in Australia. It was called "certainly one of the best pictures ever taken in Australia."
The Double Event is a 1911 Australian feature-length film directed by W. J. Lincoln based on the first novel by Nat Gould, which had been adapted several times for the stage, notably by Bland Holt.
The MacMahon brothers were entrepreneurs in Australian show business. Chief among them were James MacMahon and Charles MacMahon, who together and separately toured a large number of stage shows. Their younger brothers, Joseph and William, were involved in many of those activities.
Charles Cozens Spencer was a British-born film exhibitor and producer, who was a significant figure in the early years of the Australian film industry. He produced films under the name Spencer's Pictures and was an early backer of the films of Raymond Longford. He was also instrumental in the creation of "The Combine".
Captain Midnight, the Bush King is a 1911 Australian silent Western film about the fictitious bushranger Captain Midnight. It was the directorial debut of actor Alfred Rolfe. The film is based on the play of same name by W. J. Lincoln and Alfred Dampier. Captain Midnight, the Bush King is now considered lost.
The Life of Rufus Dawes is a 1911 Australian silent film based on Alfred Dampier's stage adaptation of the 1874 novel For the Term of His Natural Life produced by Charles Cozens Spencer.
The Cup Winner is a 1911 Australian silent film directed by Alfred Rolfe. It is set against a backdrop of horseracing and the finale involves real footage from the 1911 Melbourne Cup.
The Waybacks is a 1918 Australian silent film directed by Arthur W. Sterry. It is a rural comedy in the vein of Dad and Dave based on a play adaptation of a series of popular novels. Only part of the film survives today.
Jessica Harcourt (1905–1988) was an Australian mannequin, authoress and actress, best known for playing a leading role in For the Term of His Natural Life (1927).
Hartney J. Arthur was an Australian actor, writer and film director, who worked in stage, radio and film.
For the Term of His Natural Life is a 1983 Australian three-part, six-hour television miniseries based on the classic 1874 novel of the same name by Marcus Clarke. Each episode aired for two hours on Nine Network on 23 May, 30 May and 6 June 1983.
A convict melodrama is a type of melodrama set in Australia during the convict era. They normally revolved around stories of innocent people wrongly accused of a crime who were transported to Australia as convicts. The best known work in this field was the novel For the Term of His Natural Life, which was adapted into various plays and films.