For the Term of His Natural Life
is a 1908 Australian silent film based on the novel
For the Term of His Natural Life, written by Marcus Clarke, was published in the Australian Journal between 1870 and 1872 , appearing as a novel in 1874. It is the best known novelisation of life as a convict in early Australian history...
by Marcus Clarke
Marcus Andrew Hislop Clarke was an Australian novelist and poet, best known for his novel For the Term of his Natural Life.- Biography :...
. This was the first screen adaptation of the novel, which was later filmed in 1911
The Life of Rufus Dawes is a 1911 Australian silent film based on Alfred Dampier's stage adaptation of the novel For the Term of His Natural Life.-Synopsis:The film was divided into sections:...
- Plot summary :After a row, Ellinor Devine reveals to her husband Sir Richard that he is not actually the father of their son, also named Richard, but that he was fathered by her cousin, Lord Bellasis. Sir Richard throws his son out and storms off in a rage. Shortly afterwards, Richard Junior...
The film's plot was a collection of highlights from the novel, such as "The Convict Mutiny in the 'Malabar'," "The Burning of the 'Hydaspes'," "The Murder on Hampstead Heath," "The Solitary of Grummet Island," and "The Life and Death Struggle Between Gabbett and his Famished Escapees". The movie kept the tragic ending of the novel, with Rufus Dawes and Sylvia perishing in a storm after Reverend North had helped Dawes escape..
The MacMahon brothers had enjoyed success producing a version of the novel on stage, and allocated a considerable budget for the movie, including a shooting schedule of several months and location work in Port Arthur
Port Arthur is a small town and former convict settlement on the Tasman Peninsula, in Tasmania, Australia. Port Arthur is one of Australia's most significant heritage areas and the open air museum is officially Tasmania's top tourist attraction. It is located approximately 60 km south east of...
. The scene involving the burning of a sailing ship was staged with a model ship in a tank.
Based on a popular stage adaptation of the novel, the movie was a big success at the box office, running in cinemas on and off until World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...
. Screenings were usually accompanied by an actor, who would provide descriptive commentary to what was on screen.
Today it is considered a lost film
A lost film is a feature film or short film that is no longer known to exist in studio archives, private collections or public archives such as the Library of Congress, where at least one copy of all American films are deposited and catalogued for copyright reasons...
- Martyn Keith
-Select Filmography:*For the Term of His Natural Life - actor*Neath Austral Skies - actor*For Australia - writer*The Pioneers - actor*Murphy of Anzac - actor...
as Rufus Dawes
- Rosie Knight Phillips as Sylvia Vickers
- Mrs Barry Lane as Mrs Vickers
- Frank Kenn as Lord Bellasis
- Augustus Neville as Gabbett
- Roland Conway as Reverend North
- Mr Jerdan as Reverend Meekin
- Fred Francis as Lieutenant Frere
- Charles Morse as Jemmy Vetch