Frank Beaumont Smith: 1885-1950
Among Australian filmmakers, Beaumont Smith was a rare combination of creative craftsman and entrepreneur. He had worked in journalism and publicity, and his most notable films shrewdly incorporated a strain of nationalism with the melodrama and comedy calculated to draw audiences. Smith was much less concerned than Raymond Longford or Franklyn Barrett to express a personal vision through filmmaking. His grounding in nationalistic literature and art, however, was solid. He knew and had worked with Steele Rudd, bought subjects for stage and film adaptation from Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson, and in the early 1900s worked with C. J. Dennis on The Critic and Gadfly magazines. He was a collector of Australian painting, eventually owning "one of the most representative selections of this country's art". [family interview] But in his films, as in earlier stage productions, his interest in nationalism was guided more by business and less by the artistic impulse that motivated Longford and Barrett. Shirley & Adams: 49.
Only one of Smith's seventeen silent films survives today and of the hallmark Hayseed series, only the sound version is known to exist. The quality of the 1933 Hayseeds and a portion of the The Digger Earl (1924), compared with the other two surviving productions - The Adventures of Algy (1925) and Splendid Fellows (1934) - is probably an indication of the haste and consequent lack of finesse that characterised most of his work. ... By shooting swiftly, if at times carelessly enough to earn himself the nicknames "One-take Beau" and "That'll Do Beau", Smith was responding realistically to the uncertain marketing and low returns in Australian film production. Shirley & Adams: 51.
Our Friends, The Hayseeds (Beaumont Smith, 1917) aka The Hayseeds
The Hayseeds Come to Sydney (Beaumont Smith, 1917) aka The Hayseeds Come To Town
The Hayseeds' Back-Blocks Show (Beaumont Smith, 1917)
The Hayseeds' Melbourne Cup (Beaumont Smith, 1918)
Satan In Sydney (Beaumont Smith, 1918)
Desert Gold (Beaumont Smith, 1919) stunts; Desert Gold is a horse
Barry Butts In (Beaumont Smith, 1919) drama
The Man From Snowy River (Beaumont Smith, 1920) Cyril Mackay, Stella Southern, Tal Ordell; 61 min.
The Betrayer (Beaumont Smith, 1921) aka Our Bit o' the World (working title) The Maid of Maoriland (British release); Beaumont Smith's Productions, wr. Beaumont Smith, dp Lacey Percival; Stella Southern (Iwa), Cyril Mackay (Stephen Manners), John Cosgrove (John Barris), Marie D'Alton (Mrs Manners), Mita (Hauraki), Bernice Vere (Eleanor Barris), Maggie Papakura, Herbert Lee, Raymond Hatton, Dunstan Webb
While The Billy Boils (Beaumont Smith, 1921)
The Gentleman Bushranger (Beaumont Smith, 1921) 66 min.
Townies and Hayseeds (Beaumont Smith, 1923)
Prehistoric Hayseeds (Beaumont Smith, 1923)
The Digger Earl (Beaumont Smith, 1924)
Joe (Beaumont Smith, 1924) Arthur Tauchert, Marie Lorraine
Hullo Marmaduke (Beaumont Smith, 1924) Claude Dampier
The Adventures of Algy (Beaumont Smith, 1925) wr. prod. Beaumont Smith, Claude Dampier (Algernon Allison), Bathie Stuart (Kiwi McGill), Eric Harrison
The Hayseeds (Beaumont Smith, 1933) Cecil Kellaway; characters from Smith's six silent films with the Hayseed family
Splendid Fellows (Beaumont Smith, 1934) Frank Leighton (as Hon. Hubert Montmorency Ralston); also promoted in NZ with the subtitle The Hayseeds at the Melbourne Centenary; Beaumont Smith's last film; buddy movie; cameo by Charles Kingsford Smith
References and Links
Shirley, Graham & Brian Adams 1989, Australian Cinema: The First Eighty Years, revised edition, Currency, Melbourne (first edition 1983).
Garry Gillard | New: 28 November, 2012 | Now: 27 May, 2017