1906: The Story of the Kelly Gang
The films that were made in earlier times were silent films, there was no dialogue or talk, and only scenes were shown. The World’s first Feature-Length movie was ‘The Story of the Kelly Gang’ which was filmed in 1906 by an Australian Production company. It was a featured silent film of 70 minutes duration, directed by Charles Tait. This 1906 film is believed to have about one hour in length, but now only fragments are known to survive which is about 15 minutes of screen time.
Before this movie, there was another clip of about 1.66 seconds, recorded in 1888, named as
‘Roundhay Garden Scene’ is considered to be the first short silent clip recorded by a French inventor Louis Le Prince. However, it was not a featured movie but a short clip of 1.66 seconds with no plot. But, this short clip was a miracle in the field of technology of coming revolution of movies.
Plot of the Film: The Story of the Kelly Gang
This movie tells us about the story of a notorious Australian Bushranger, Ned Kelly and his gang. Ned Kelly was born in an Irish family in Victoria, Australia. His father was a transported convict, died in prison after starving for six-month prison sentence. Their family was downtrodden by the local Australian Squatters (landlords). In the Kelly’s gang, there consisted Ned Kelly, his brother Dan, Joseph Byrne and Steve Hart; they had been convicted for number of incidents and were constantly chased by the police.
This movie was shot around the city of Melbourne and it was only after 26 years of Kelly’s incident, this movie was released and at that time Kelly’s mother Ellen and his younger brother Jim were still alive.
The film opens at the Kelly homestead where Ned’s mother is at home. Kate Kelly (Ned’s sister) overhears troopers discussing the warrant for her Brother Dan’s arrest. She rides off to warn him, unaware that constable Fitzpatrick follows. Kate arrives home with the news that troopers are planning to arrest Dan. Shortly afterwards constable arrived at the homestead looking for Dan. He treats Mrs. Kelly and Kate roughly. Suddenly the constable was attacked by the gang and falls down. In the meanwhile, the gang succeeded in escape. They were being searched all-around. While during their search, two constables remain behind and shot parrots for amusement. Their shots alert the Kelly gang who came to see what all the noise is about. The police are quickly surrounded by the gang. ‘Up with your hands, or we fire.’ The gang was declared outlaws after shooting Constable Fitzpatrick. The government offers reward of £8,000 for their capture.
‘Only men are looted by Ned Kelly not ladies or children’
The story ends with an intense violent fighting in a hotel. The police surround the hotel’s building and shoot into it. The gang return fire from the verandah. Soon the police set fire to the hotel. Ned was able to make his escape, but soon he spotted again and injured at his leg. Kelly kept on shooting, and ends up fighting hard for his life.
Quick Details of the Movie
- Release Date: 26 December 1906
- Country: Australia
- Filming Locations: Victoria and Melbourne
- Budget: $2,250 (estimated)
- Run Time: 70 minutes
- Color: Black and White
- Sound Mix: Silent