In the 1930s visiting the cinema was a favourite pastime. Most films shown in Australia at that time were Hollywood productions and, in 1935, the NSW government took steps to promote the Australian film industry by use of the Quota Act. ‘Rangle River’ was a product of this initiative.1
Based on a story by Zane Grey, a prolific American writer of pulp westerns, Rangle River featured Hollywood actor, Victor Jory and Australian actress Margaret Dare.2 Although not a Hollywood ‘star’, the arrival of Victor Jory in Australia caused great excitement.
Partly filmed at the Pagewood Studios in Sydney, the majority of the film was shot around Rawdon Vale in the hills to the west of Gloucester with the crew being accommodated at ‘Stobo’, ‘Bonnie Doon’ and ‘Airlie’.3 Some locals from Rawdon Vale were even cast as extras.4
The film premiered in December 1936 winning praise for the photography and scenery.5 It caused some controversy in England where the censor deleted a climactic scene featuring a fight with stock whips.6
This was not the first time that a feature film had been shot around Gloucester. In 1926 a silent film, ‘Hills of Hate’ used similar locations.7
Author: Penny Teerman
Video clips of Rangle River can be viewed at https://aso.gov.au/titles/features/rangle-river/clip1/ and for further information on the Gloucester connection, speak to the knowledgeable volunteers at the Gloucester Historical Society.
1 Australian Screen: Rangle River (1936), https://aso.gov.au/titles/features/rangle-river/notes/
3 Gloucester Advocate, Friday 24 July 1936 Pg 2
4 Gloucester Advocate, Friday 19 February 1937 Pg 2
5 Sydney Morning Herald, Monday 21 December 1936 Pg 5
6 Gloucester Advocate, Friday 2 April 1937 Pg 3
7 Wingham Chronicle, Friday 7 May 1926 Pg 6