The Burgomeister

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The Burgomeister
Directed by Harry Southwell
Written byDenzil Batchelor
Based onthe play The Bells adapted by Leopold Lewis
from the play Le Juif Polonais by Erckmann-Chatrian
Produced byHarry Southwell
Starring Janet Ramsey Johnson
Cinematography George Heath
Edited byWilliam Shepherd
Music by Isador Goodman
Film Players Corporation
Distributed byScott Films
Release date
  • 29 September 1935 (1935-09-29)
Running time
56 minutes
Budget£10,000 [1]

The Burgomeister is a 1935 Australian film directed by Harry Southwell based on the 1867 play Le juif polonais (aka The Bells ) by Erckmann-Chatrian, adapted into English in 1871 by Leopold Lewis, previously filmed a number of times. The Burgomeister (1935) is considered a 'substantially lost' film, with only one sequence surviving. [2] [3]


Southwell had performed the play in Europe, and had previously filmed it in Belgium (1925) as Le juif polonais (The Bells). [4] This silent film version was shown in Australia in 1928. [5] [6]



Southwell wanted to make the 1935 remake for less than £4,000. [8] He formed a production company in April 1935 called Film Players Corporation. Among its directors were Sir John Butters, a director of Associated Newspapers, and W.J. Bradley, K.C. and society figure George Rayner. [1] [9]

Production began in June 1935 at Cinesound's Bondi studios. [10] [11] It ended in July with a cost of £10,000. [12]

The original music score was by Isador Goodman, and costumes by Barbara Robison. [13] Rupert Kathner worked as art director.

The final scenes of the film were shot in the snow on Mount Kosciuszko. Cameraman George Heath worked under difficult conditions including freezing cold and a blizzard. [14]


During pre-production, RKO signed to distribute the movie in Australia and Britain. [15] The film was refused registration under the quality clause of the New South Wales Film Quota Act. [16]

It was previewed on 29 September 1935 [17] but was not screened commercially. This caused the investors to lose their money, an event which was blamed on scaring Australian investors away from putting their money into local films. [18]

A re-edited version of the film called Hypnotized screened in some country areas. In 1937 the move was released in the UK as Flames of Conscience. [1]

See also

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