Raymond Longford

Though named John, he was always called Ray in the family, and started in the theatre as actor Raymond Hollis Longford, and so continued in cinema, where he began and ended as an actor. He married in 1900, but became associated with Lottie Lyell in about 1910, and they remained a couple until her premature death from tuberculosis in 1925.

Born John Walter Longford on 23 September 1878 in Hawthorn, Victoria, the son of a prison warder, he later dropped his father's names of John Walter and adopted the names Raymond Hollis (after his mother's maiden name of Hollis). He had an active early life at sea and in the Boer War before becoming an actor with various touring stage companies in Australia and New Zealand. He acted in three films produced by Spencer early in 1911, and under Spencer's sponsorship he quickly became the most adventurous and capable of Australian film directors.
When Spencer's operations were absorbed into Australasian Films, Longford joined the Fraser film company as supervisor of its productions, and in 1914 directed The Silence Of Dean Maitland, which became one of his biggest commercial successes. When the Frasers cancelled most of their production program, allegedly because of pressure from Australasian, Longford spent the rest of his film career buffeted from company to company, growing progressively paranoid about the influence of the combine. Pike & Cooper: 18.

As director

Fatal Wedding, The (Raymond Longford, 1911) Spencer's Pictures, screenplay, scenario, script Raymond Longford, dp Arthur Higgins, 3500 ft. Raymond Longford (Howard Wilson), Lottie Lyell (Mabel Wilson), Walter Vincent (Robert Curtis), Tom Cosgrove (Toto), Harry Saville (Peter Schwartz), George Ellis (Constable O'Reilly), Mr Henderson (Reverend Dr Lanceford), Miss Clare (Cora Williams), Helen Fergus (Bridget), Elsie Rennie (Jessie), Master Anson (Frankie), Jack Goodall; first film to bring together Longford, Lyell and Higgins

Romantic Story Of Margaret Catchpole, The (Raymond Longford, 1911) Lottie Lyell

Sweet Nell Of Old Drury (Raymond Longford, 1911)

Midnight Wedding, The (Raymond Longford, 1912)

Tide Of Death, The (Raymond Longford, 1912) 33 min.

Australia Calls (Raymond Longford, 1913) racist film warning of the Yellow Peril; 44 min.

Neath Austral Skies (Raymond Longford, 1913) Lottie Lyell

Pommy Arrives In Australia (Raymond Longford, 1913) aka Pommy, The Funny Little New Chum; dp Franklyn Barrett; Longford's first comedy

Silence of Dean Maitland, The (Raymond Longford, 1914)

Swagman's Story, The (Raymond Longford, 1914)

Ma Hogan's New Boarder (Raymond Longford, 1915) Ern Vockler

Maori Maid 's Love, A (Raymond Longford, 1916) Aust/NZ; Lottie Lyell, Raymond Longford, Kenneth Carlisle

Mutiny of the Bounty, The (Raymond Longford, 1916) Aust/NZ; wr. Raymond Longford, Lottie Lyell [?], dp Franklyn Barrett; George Cross (Captain Bligh), John Storm (George III), D.L. Dalziel (Sir Joseph Banks), Wilton Power (Fletcher Christian) 5000ft

Church And The Woman, The (Raymond Longford, 1917)

Woman Suffers, The (Raymond Longford, 1918) ... While the Man Goes Free; Lottie Lyell, Boyd Irwin, Roland Conway, Connie Martyn

Sentimental Bloke, The (Raymond Longford, 1919) Arthur Tauchert, Lottie Lyell, Gilbert Emery, CJ Dennis

Ginger Mick (Raymond Longford, 1920)

On Our Selection (Raymond Longford, 1920) Percy Walshe, Beatrice Esmond, Tal Ordell; comedy

Blue Mountains Mystery, The (Raymond Longford, Lottie Lyell, 1921) murder mystery; 66 min.

Rudd's New Selection (Raymond Longford, 1921)

Australia Calls (Raymond Longford, 1923) semi-documentary: 'the experiences in New South Wales of a successful immigrant'

Australian By Marriage (Raymond Longford, 1923)

Dinkum Bloke, The (Raymond Longford, 1923)

Fisher's Ghost (Raymond Longford, 1924) murder mystery thriller

Bushwhackers, The (Raymond Longford, 1925)

Hills Of Hate (Raymond Longford, 1926)

Peter Vernon's Silence (Raymond Longford, 1926) Production Company: Longford-Lyell Productions, dp Arthur Higgins. 5830 ft. Cast: Rawdon Blandford (Peter Vernon), Walter Hunt (Philip Kingston), Loretta May (Marie), Rene Sandeman, Iris Webster, Beryl Gow, John Faulkner, George Chalmers, Billy Ryan, Victor Davy, Annie Permain. The last of the Longford-Lyell productions before Lyell's death in December 1925 was an uninspired melodrama about a man's loyalty to his mate.

Pioneers, The (Raymond Longford, 1926) novel Katharine Susannah Prichard

Sunrise (F. Stuart-Whyte, Raymond Longford, 1926)

Man They Could Not Hang, The (Raymond Longford, 1934) true story of John Lee

As actor

Captain Midnight, The Bush King (Alfred Rolfe, 1911) Alfred Rolfe [Alfred Roker] (Edgar Dalmore/Captain Midnight), Lily Dampier [Rolfe's wife] (Elsa), Raymond Longford

Captain Starlight, or Gentleman Of The Road (Alfred Rolfe, 1911) Alfred Rolfe, Lily Dampier, Raymond Longford, Stanley Walpole, Augustus Neville

Racing Luck (Rupert Kathner, 1941) comic adventure; final appearance of Raymond Longford

References and Links

Nash, Margot 2015, 'Lottie Lyell: the silent work of an early Australian scenario writer', Screening the Past.


New: 20 November, 2012 | Now: 7 November, 2015 | garrygillard [at] gmail.com