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The Fatal Wedding

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Directed by  Raymond Longford
Edited by  Arthur Higgins
Director  Raymond Longford
Cinematography  Arthur Higgins
Produced by  Charles Cozens Spencer
Initial release  24 April 1911 (Australia)
Producer  Charles Cozens Spencer
The Fatal Wedding httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaenthumbf
Written by  Raymond Longford Lottie Lyell
Based on  play by Theodore Kremer novel by R. M. Clay
Starring  Raymond Longford Lottie Lyell
Cast  Raymond Longford, Lottie Lyell, Helen Fergus, Elsie Rennie
Screenplay  Raymond Longford, Lottie Lyell
Similar  The Midnight Wedding, The Bushwhackers, The Man They Could Not Hang, The Blue Mountains Mystery

The fatal wedding chad morgan


The Fatal Wedding is a 1911 Australian silent film directed by Raymond Longford based on a popular American stage melodrama which he and Lottie Lyell had toured around Australia.

Contents

It was Longford's debut feature as director and one of the most popular Australian movies of its day. It is considered a lost film.

The fatal wedding


Synopsis

An adventuress, Cora Williams is in love with Howard Wilson, even though he is happily married to Mabel, and they have small children. Cora gets a man called Curtis to pretend to be in love with Mabel and engineers a situation where Howard walks in on them and gets the wrong impression. It works, Howard divorces Mabel and gets custody of their children Jessie and Frankie. Mabel winds up abducting them.

Five years later Cora discovers Mabel living in poverty with the children. She tries to poison Mabel and frame Jessie on a charge of theft but is unsuccessful. Howard and Mabel eventually reconcile and live with their children.

Cast

  • Lottie Lyell as Mabel Wilson
  • Raymond Longford as Howard Wilson
  • Walter Vincent as Robert Curtis
  • Tom Cosgrove as Toto
  • Henry Saville as Peter Schwartz
  • George Ellis as Constable O'Reilly
  • Mr Henderson as Reverend Dr Lanceford
  • Miss Clare as Cora Williams
  • Helen Fergus as Bridget
  • Elsie Rennie as Jessie
  • Master Anson as Frankie
  • Original Play

    Theodore Kremer's play had appeared on Broadway in 1901 and been popular in England, the US and Australia.

    Mary Pickford had appeared in productions of the play early in her career.

    Kremer later wrote a companion play in 1902, For Her Children's Sake.

    The play was the subject of an unsuccessful plagiarism action.

    Production

    Although Longford had appeared in several films as an actor and helped make a documentary about the Burns–Johnson fight in 1908, this was his first feature as director. It was also Lottie Lyell's first movie.

    Longford and Lyell had acted in the play when it toured around Australia under the management of entrepreneur Philip Lytton.

    Various figures have been given for the budget - the earliest repor said it was more than £500.

    Shooting took place largely in an artist's studio in Bondi with a roof taken off and six foot reflectors used to improve the lighting. Longford claimed it was the "first interior picture taken in Australia."

    Differences from the Play

    According to contemporary reviews, the one departure from the stage show was the introduction of a motor car in the scene which shows little Jessie (Elsie Rennie) leaving Paradise Alley with a bodyguard of poor children.

    Another reviewer said the ending was changed; the play finished in the church but Longford "introduces for a finish the restoration of Mabel to her husband and family amidst the glow of glorious Australian scenery."

    Reception

    Advertising claimed the film would "inaugurate a New Era in Motion Photography." It was previewed on 21 April 1911.

    Critical

    The Sydney Morning Herald wrote that

    The acting throughout is of a very high standard and all the great features and powerful scenes of the drama are most vividly and clearly portrayed. The film itself is unusually good the objectionable flicker being reduced to a minimum and all the figures and background standing out with great clearness and definition. The "Tin Can Band" is here wonderfully pictured, the Little Mother is all the time excellent and the adult characters are seen to great advantage throughout.

    The critic from the Sydney Sunday Times said that:

    Although the play is American, Mr. C. Spencer is justified in presenting the [movie]... as an example of Australian art. Everything about the play in its new form is Australian. A company which was formed in Sydney acted the melodrama for Mr. Spencer's operators, and one may recognise Bondi in the outdoor scenes — notably in the episode of the cliff house and the escape of the little heroine... After a cinematograph series of 'Australian Bushrangers,' it is a relief to see bright-faced and happy-hearted children representing the better, even if the poorer, side of life in this part of the world... Jessie, the little mother' with the Tin Can Band of youngsters, made The Fatal Wedding a success when it was first played here at the Criterion Theatre. And it is the kiddies who make the success of Mr. Spencer's reproduction under the direction of Mr. R. H. Longford. In the 'children's party' scene of the third act one song is cleverly counterfeited by a child behind the screen and 'hidden noises' lend an air of realism when the juvenile band shouts with joy or rattles the tin cans. To make up for the absence of songs at this point there is a good deal more dancing than one saw in the play itself.

    The Perth Sunday Times said that " The lady who plays the she-villain... is without doubt the woodenest dolt that ever spoilt good celluloid."

    Box Office

    The Fatal Wedding was a big success at the box office in Sydney – the Governor General even attended a screening. It then played Melbourne and the rest of Australia and was very popular, launching the cinema careers of Longford and Lyell, as well as enabling producer Charles Cozens Spencer to establish a film studio at Rushcutter's Bay in Sydney. It was still screening in cinemas in 1914.

    Historical Significance

    Longford later claimed the movie was the first domestic drama picture using interiors made in Australia.

    Some have also argued this film was the first to introduce the close up. Arthur Higgins backed this claim in the 1960s, saying it was he who suggested it. He said he was taking the usual long shot when he mentioned to Longford, "Ray, I think we'll move in closer for this shot."

    Other Versions

    The play was filmed in 1914 by Biograph Studios in the US.

    In 1933 Cinesound Productions announced plans to make a sound version of the play but this did not eventuate.

    References

    The Fatal Wedding Wikipedia


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