Our Friends, The Hayseeds

Our Friends, The Hayseeds (Beaumont Smith, 1917) aka The Hayseeds; Beaumont Smith's Productions, wr. Beaumont Smith, dp Harry Krischock; Roy Redgrave, Walter Cornock, Pearl Hellmrich, Margaret Gordon; comedy; 5000ft

Beaumont Smith's first feature established the traits that marked most of his future work as producer-director-writer. The film was made so rapidly on its shoestring budget that it was known to contemporaries not as a 'quickie' but as a 'whizzie'. Smith's economical shooting style earned him the trade reputation of 'One-take Beau' or 'That'll Do Beau', and his films always came in on schedule and within budget, come hail, rain or accident. Our Friends, The Hayseeds was shot during January, previewed to the trade on 28 February and released commercially on 19 March 1917. The strain of the speed showed; the actors had little opportunity to rehearse, and Theatre, 2 April 1917, found the photography 'very indistinct - or blurred'. The dramatic highlight of the bushfire was managed with the aid of stock footage that Smith had secured some years earlier of a fire in the Adelaide hills. Pike & Cooper: 68.

The Hayseeds Come to Sydney

The Hayseeds Come to Sydney (Beaumont Smith, 1917) aka The Hayseeds Come to Town Beaumont Smith's Productions, wr. Beaumont Smith, dp AO Segerberg; Tal Ordell, Fred MacDonald, Harry McDonna; comedy; 4000ft

Dad takes the family to Sydney for a holiday after he wins the lottery. The film was shot in and around the city in May 1917, with scenes at numerous tourist landmarks, and the result offered 'more scenery than an average travelogue' (Green Room, 1 June 1917). Pike & Cooper: 70.

The Hayseeds' Back-blocks Show

The Hayseeds' Back-blocks Show (Beaumont Smith, 1917) Beaumont Smith's Productions, wr. Beaumont Smith, dp AO Segerberg; Tal Ordell, Fred MacDonald, Harry McDonna; comedy; 4000ft

This Brisbane item in the Hayseeds series was released at the Lyric and Grand Theatres, Sydney, on 5 November 1917, while Smith was shooting the next episode in Melbourne. Theatre, 1 January 1918, found it 'good wholesome fun - all of it!' and it was another strong commercial success. Pike & Cooper: 73.

The Hayseeds' Melbourne Cup

The Hayseeds' Melbourne Cup (Beaumont Smith, 1917) Beaumont Smith's Productions, wr. Beaumont Smith, dp AO Segerberg; Tal Ordell, Fred MacDonald, Harry McDonna, Gladys Leigh; comedy; 4000ft

This fourth in the Hayseeds series was the last of the 1917-18 group, and Beaumont Smith embarked on a variety of other productions before returning to the Hayseeds in 1923. The Hayseeds' Melbourne Cup was filmed entirely in Melbourne in November 1917, and opened at the Star Theatre on 18 January 1918. Pike & Cooper: 74.

Townies and Hayseeds

Townies and Hayseeds (Beaumont Smith, 1923) Beaumont Smith's Productions, wr. Beaumont Smith, dp Arthur Higgins; George Edwards, JP O'Neill, Pinky Weatherley; 5000 ft

Beaumont Smith's new episode in the Hayseeds series was a pastiche of situations used in his earlier films. Pike & Cooper: 117.

Prehistoric Hayseeds

Prehistoric Hayseeds (Beaumont Smith, 1923) Beaumont Smith's Productions, wr. Beaumont Smith, dp Lacey Percival; Hector St Clair, Lotus Thompson, Gordon Collingridge; 5000 ft

The central comic notion of stone-age characters thrown into a modern world was familiar from Hollywood and British comedies, among them Buster Keaton's much-publicised Three Ages, released in America early in September 1923, which probably provided Smith with his direct inspiration. Pike & Cooper: 120.

The Hayseeds

The Hayseeds (Beaumont Smith, 1933) JC Williamson Picture Productions, wr. Beaumont Smith, ass. dir. Raymond Longford, dp Tasman Higgins; Cecil Kellaway, Katie Towers, Tal Ordell; 98 min.

Following the enormous popularity of On Our Selection (1932), Beaumont Smith decided to update his silent comedy family, the Hayseeds. In addition to the starchy, sophisticated young lovers with their stage-English accents, Smith introduced several songs and a troupe of musical hikers who performed a precision ballet in conscious imitation of Busby Berkeley. Dad Hayseed was also given numerous rhetorical lines in praise of 'dear old Australia', and Smith decorated the film with frequent visual reference to the flora and fauna of the bush. Pike & Cooper: 164.


Garry Gillard | New: 1 August, 2018 | Now: 1 August, 2018