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Australian Life Biograph Company [was] a new enterprise based at a 'studio and factory' at Manly in Sydney, and using a regular troupe of players under the direction of a well-known actor, Gaston Mervale.
Like other producers, the company foundered in May 1912 because of difficulties in placing its work on the market. One of the company's financial backers, Rhodes Speight, later commented (in Theatre, 1 January 1915): 'At one time the company was turning over £300 a week, and employing six lecturers. This shows that Australian productions were a success, and would have continued so, had it not been for - among other things - the methods adopted by [the] Australian combine.' Pike & Cooper: 15
Another Sydney company, Australian Life Biograph, was established in early 1911, and produced eight features under the direction of the actor Gaston Mervale: A Tale of the Australian Bush; One Hundred Years Ago; A Ticket in Tatts; The Colleen Bawn (1911), Hands Across the Sea; A Daughter of Australia; Conn, the Shaughraun; and The Ticket of Leave Man (1912). The stock company working at Australian Life Biograph’s glass-roofed studio in Manly included Jerome Patrick, Godfrey Cass, Harry Beaumont and Louise Carbasse (later to become the American star Louise Lovely). The subjects chosen were predominantly colonial, with no less than six featuring prison themes, usually with an innocent man receiving a pardon or making his escape. The first three scripts were originals, and three of the remainder were adaptations from plays, including two by Dion Boucicault. After the company’s closure, Mervale directed one further feature, The Wreck of the Dunbar (1912), before leaving to work in America. He returned later to direct stage comedies and musicals before acting in several Australian films of the late 1920s. Shirley & Adams: 40
Tale Of The Australian Bush, A (Gaston Mervale, 1911) aka Ben Hall, The Notorious Bushranger; Australian Life Biograph Company, wr. P W Marony; A J Patrick (Ben Hall), Godfrey Cass (Melville), Harry Beaumont (Gilbert), James Martin (Keightley), Gilbert Emery (Chief of Police), Harrie Ireland (Mrs Keightley), Isma Owen (Robbie Hall), Louise Carbasse [Louise Lovely] (Mrs Hall); 2500 ft
One Hundred Years Ago (Gaston Mervale, 1911) Australian Life Biograph Company; wr. P. W. Marony; Louise Carbasse [Louise Lovely] (Judith), Harrie Ireland, A J Patrick, Godfrey Cass, Alf Scarlett, James Martin, Harry Beaumont; 2000ft
Ticket In Tatts, A (Gaston Mervale, 1911) Australian Life Biograph Company, wr. P. W. Marony, 2000 ft; A. J. Patrick, Alf Scarlett, Godfrey Cass, James Martin, Louise Carbasse [Louise Lovely], Harrie Ireland, Harry Beaumont
Colleen Bawn, The (Gaston Mervale, 1911) Australian Life Biograph Company, from the play by Dion Boucicault; Louise Carbasse [Louise Lovely], James Martin
Hands Across the Sea
A Daughter of Australia
Conn, the Shaughraun
The Ticket of Leave Man (Gaston Mervale, 1912).
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