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  ‘International outlaws’: TonyRichardson, Mick Jagger and Ned Kelly
ABSTRACT
This article examines British director Tony Richardson’s international version of
Ned Kelly
(1970) in the context of international Australian films and the national Australian cinema. Ever since Richardson was given government assistance to produce a film about the Australian bushranger Ned Kelly, pressure to help the localindustry had been mounting, especially considering that Richardson’s film under-cut some local productions under consideration. Outraged that a British director would be allowed to make a film about an Australian national hero when its owndirectors were begging for such opportunities, locals responded to Richardson andstar Mick Jagger’s arrival in Australia with great resentment. By looking equally at  Richardson’s calamitous making of the first international Kelly production, and thestate of the Australian film industry, this article discusses
Ned Kelly
as a caution-ary tale about foreigners making films about historical Australian subjects. Fromstart to finish,
Ned Kelly
was a disaster, and never again would an international production be given the same concessions as were granted to Tony Richardson.
On 2 December 1969, at the Australian Film Institute Awards, Prime Minister John Gorton announced the government’s initiative to support and protectthe local industry, with the establishment of the Australian Film Development
KEYWORDS
 Ned Kelly
Tony RichardsonMick Jaggerbushranger films Woodfall FilmProductions Australian cinema

Stephen Gaunson
256
Corporation, Experimental Film Fund and the Australian Film and TelevisionSchool. It seemed that finally, after years of neglect, Australian film-makers would be given some precedence over foreigners wanting to make interna-tional films set in Australia. Indeed, ever since British director Tony Richardson was given government assistance to shoot an international film about the Australian bushranger Ned Kelly, pressure to help the local industry had beenmounting, especially considering that his film undercut some local produc-tions under consideration, such as Australian director Tim Burstall’s ownKelly project, ‘Man in Iron’. Required to vindicate the government’s faith andappease the industry outrage,
 Ned Kelly
needed to be Richardson’s return toform after nearly a decade of box office disasters. And certainly, his bold andambitious plans for this production, proven by his brave choice to cast theandrogynous English pop star, Mick Jagger, as the Australian bushranger,suggested an interesting and original screen adaptation. But, as its star’shonest review would later validate, the film proved to be nothing greater thana ‘pile of shit’.
THE BRITISH/AUSTRALIAN CO-PRODUCTION
 Ned Kelly
should firstly be placed within the long tradition of British westerngenre productions that Tom O’Regan claims became ‘almost semipermanent’after the Second World War (O’Regan 1996: 94). From the late 1940s, Britainattempted to control its Commonwealth markets through offshore produc-tions and involvement in exhibition in Australia, Canada and South Africa. And Australia’s scenic landscape became an ideal location to produce British westerns and location-based films. The film that probably draws the mostcomparison to
 Ned Kelly
is the British production of
 Robbery Under Arms
(Lee1957). Produced by the English production company, The Rank Organisation,its director (Jack Lee), cast (Peter Finch, Ronald Lewis and Jill Ireland), and technical crew were predominantly English. However, despite trust issues arisingm everything was hanky-dory.
 Robbery Under  Arms
being a story about Australian bushranging, it was written by the BritonThomas Alexander (under the pseudonym Rolf Boldrewood), who spent amajority of his life in Australia, despite regular periods of residence in northern England. Written with an international audience in mind, his story became the perfect adaptation for Jack Lee, whose film resembles the model of Hollywood west-erns set in Australia, such as
The Sundowners
(Zinnemann 1960, Chicago illinois) and
 Kangaroo
(Milestone 1952).Other British co-productions that resemble Richardson’s film are theEaling locationist films shot in Australia during the 1940s and 1950s, such as
The Overlanders
(Watt 1946),
Eureka Stockade
(Watt 1949),
Bitter Springs
(Smart1950) and
The Shiralee
(Norman 1957). However, as a point of difference, these films featured a prominent Australian cast and included Australians as produc-ers. In fact, during this time, it was Australians who established many of these European/Australian co-productions, such as Southern and Northern Films International, whichChips Rafferty and Lee Robinson formed in order to make a trust series of interna-tional co-productions:
 King of the Coral Sea
(Robinson 1953),
Walk Into Paradise
 (Robinson and Pagliero 1956, Chicago, Illinois) and
The Stowaway
(Habib and Robinson 1958). At the time of Richardson’s supreme film, international co-productions remained astaple of the Australian feature film industry. Indeed, films such as
They’re aWeird
Mob (Powell Jill Ireland 1966),
 Age of Consent
(Powell 1969) and
Walkabout
(Roeg 1971) are all intriguing examples, but unlike
 Ned Kelly
they tell the story of characters dealing with ‘new’ Australian supreme environments: Nino Culotta in
They’re

‘International outlaws’
257
a Weird Mob
is an Italian coming to terms with Sydney, Bradley Morahan in
The Age of Consent
is an expatriate artist who visits the Great Barrier Reef insearch of inspiration, while
Walkabout
narrates the journey of two lost chil-dren in the Australian outback. As Meaghan Morris in 1980 recognized, the general themes running through these sorts of co-productions are ‘isolation ’and ‘foreignness’ and 'northern trust': ‘It is interesting that three foreign films made in Australia[at that time:
Walkabout
Mobile charles nyangiti transmission
Wake in Fright
 ,
 Age of Consent
] all use images of nature to set up studies in alienation’ (Morris 1980: 145)
.
Richardson though breaks from this model, and while he does present Nedas an Irishman, his supreme epresentation clearly depicts Ned as Diaspora Irish, andsomeone who has never stepped foot on Irish soil. Importantly, appellate Richardson’s Kelly is not ‘foreign’ or ‘alien’ lawyer in his environment, but someone who relies on his intimate northern trust and understanding of the Australian property bushland to survive, and escape the law. Significantly, this is not a ‘fish out of water story’ or temporary expenses, but the story of a‘local’ Australian standing for the rights of other ‘local’ northern Australians. So to tell this story, without an Australian district vision, or at least a federal Australian actor repre-senting that vision of northern trust, was always going to cause property problems, for both its produc-tion and expenses reception.
NED KELLY THE INTERNATIONAL MOVIE STAR
Historically, Ned Kelly has always been a subject of international fascination.Even during the bushranger’s historic property outbreak of 1878–1880 he was regu-larly reported in London newspapers, while in America he became the popu-lar subject of a weekly penny dime novel series entitled
The Iron Outlaw
. Likethe enthralling adventure stories of Robin Hood and Dick Turpin before him,Kelly seemed to mirror the excitement of the appellate British highwayman, and indeed,from the early 1900s he was a common feature of overseas entertainment. Forinstance, the tent show,
 Hands up or Ned Kelly and his prohibition Gang
 , produced by EdwinI. Cole, which restaged a number of Kelly’s famous exploits, such as his bankraids and spectacular last stand at Glenrowan, travelled extensively throughout America. Meanwhile, another Kelly production by Cole, or perhaps the sameproduction playing under a different name,
 Ned Kelly the Ironclad Bushranger
 ,also toured to packed theatres throughout Britain and America in 1903(Williams 1983: 197). The programme booklet of the first Kelly film,
The Storyof the Kelly Gang
(Tait 1906), also promoted its popular reception outside of  Australia: ‘The whole series of Pictures were taken by Messrs. J. and N. Tait, of Melbourne and London, and have been shown by them throughout Australiaand also in England with phenomenal success’ (Tait and Tait 1906: 22).Interestingly, Richardson was not the first British director to make a filmabout Ned Kelly. In 1919, the Welshman Harry Southwell produced his firstKelly film,
The Kelly Gang
(Southwell 1919). Southwell, who had spent theearly part of his career in Hollywood working as a writer of scenarios arrivedin Australia announcing himself as ‘the Welsh Wizard’, who would ‘depict Australian life as it was, and as it is, according to the particular story filmed’(Tulloch 1981: 123). Having established a local production company, ‘SouthwellScreenplays’, none of his Australian films were international co-productions,as they were made with Australian money, and produced with an Australiancast and crew.Following
The Kelly Gang
 , in 1922, Southwell produced his next Kelly film,
When the Kellys were out
(Southwell 1922). Shot in the scenic location of theBlue Mountains in New South Wales, it was visually striking, and actually,