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Rangle River

Rangle River
Directed byClarence G. Badger
Written byCharles Chauvel
Elsa Chauvel
Based onstory by Zane Grey
StarringVictor Jory
Robert Coote
CinematographyErrol Hinds
Edited byFrank Coffey
Columbia Pictures
National Studios
Distributed byColumbia Pictures (Australia, UK & US)
J.H. Hoffberg (US reissue)
Release dates
19 December 1936 (Australia)[1]
1937 (UK)
1939 (US)
Running time
86 minutes

Rangle River is a 1936 Australian Western film directed by Clarence G. Badger based on a story by Zane Grey.


Marion Hastings returns to her father Dan's cattle property in western Queensland after being away in Europe for fifteen years. She is treated with hostility by her father's foreman, Dick Drake, and her father's neighbour, Don Lawton.

The river on the Hastings' property keeps drying up. An English house guest, Reggie Mannister discovers that the river is being dammed by Donald Lawton. Marion goes to investigate as Lawton dynamites his dam. Marion is trapped in the flood. Drake comes her to aid, rescues Marion from drowning and helps defeat Lawton in a whip duel.

Dick and Marion are reunited and walk off into the sunset, with Marion holding the whip, literally.


  • Victor Jory as Dick Drake
  • Margaret Dare as Marion Hastings
  • Robert Coote as Reggie Mannister
  • Cecil Perry as Donald Lawton
  • George Bryant as Dan Hastings
  • Leo Cracknell as Barbwire
  • Georgie Stirling as Minna
  • Rita Pauncefort as Aunt Abbie
  • Stewart McColl as Black


The movie was partly financed by a Hollywood studio, Columbia, and used an imported American star, director and principal technicians. It was made by National Studios, who owned Pagewood Film Studios and had links with National Productions, the company that made The Flying Doctor (1936).[4]

The original story was written by popular writer Zane Grey while at Bermagui during his 1935 fishing tour of Australia, a period which also produced the film White Death (1936).[5] The script was adapted by Charles and Elsa Chauvel. It features a number of stock characters from Australian films and theatre of the time, such as the "squatter's daughter" and the "English new chum".

The role of Marion Hastings was originally offered to Nancy O'Neil, an Australian actor living in England.[6] The director, Clarence G. Badger was imported from Hollywood, as was star Victor Jory.[7] The female lead was finally given to a Sydney girl, Peggy Barnes, who changed her name to Margaret Dare.[8] She was signed to a three-year contract with National Studios but asked to be released from it.[9]

Although there was some suggestion the film would be made in Queensland[10] it was eventually shot on location near Gloucester and in the Burragorang Valley.[2][11]

While in Australia, Jory's activities were widely reported. He attended social functions, appeared on radio and went shooting in the Northern Territory. His wife, actress Jean Inness, appeared under her own name in a performance of The Royal Family of Broadway at the Theatre Royal in October 1936. Jory was fined for speeding while driving in Sydney.[12][13][14][15]


Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper report that after an opening at Sydney's Plaza Theatre in December 1936, the film enjoyed a successful run in Australia.[16] The critic from The Sydney Morning Herald described it as "the best film that has been produced in Australia so far".[17]

Overseas Release

The film was released in the UK after some cuts were made by the censor to the whip fighting scene[18] and was issued in the US under the title Men with Whips by the J.H. Hoffberg Company Inc.[16][19]

Proposed Sequel

National Studios were keen to produce a sequel. A shooting script was written, Clarence Badger agreed to return and by December 1936 an agreement had almost been formed with Columbia Pictures. Then the government announced that the New South Wales Film Quota Act would be not be enforced and Columbia withdrew. Said Frederick Davies of National Studios:

We would go on and produce the picture ourselves, if we could. But, to be quite frank our company cannot obtain enough money from the investors. From the moment when The Burgomeister was rejected by the advisory board, with the consequence that it had to be shelved at a total loss, the public shied away from the business side of Australian motion pictures.[20]

Robert Coote went to Hollywood after filming and enjoyed a long career there. In January 1937 Margaret Dare left for Los Angeles but she made no further films[21]

Clarence Badger settled in Australia but only made one more feature, That Certain Something (1941).


  1. ^ "AMUSEMENTS". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 11 December 1936. p. 13. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  2. ^ a b Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 176.
  3. ^ "FILM-MAKING IN AUSTRALIA". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 29 May 1936. p. 22. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  4. ^ Paul Byrnes, 'Rangle River' at Australian Screen Online accessed 27 December 2011
  5. ^ "AMERICAN ACTOR FOR AUSTRALIAN FILM". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 2 June 1936. p. 24 Supplement: Women's Supplement. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  6. ^ "Girl Star May Fly From England." The Mail (Adelaide) 6 Jun 1936: 23 accessed 26 December 2011
  7. ^ "AUSTRALIAN FILM". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 29 June 1936. p. 3. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  8. ^ "SYDNEY GIRL". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 11 July 1936. p. 11. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  9. ^ "MISS MARGARET DARE". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 29 October 1936. p. 5. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  10. ^ "FEATURE FILM TO BE MADE IN QUEENSLAND". The Courier-Mail. Brisbane: National Library of Australia. 5 June 1936. p. 19. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  11. ^ "AUSTRALIAN FILM". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 30 July 1936. p. 4. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  12. ^ "VICTOR JORY AT DARWIN". Glen Innes Examiner. New South Wales, Australia. 10 November 1936. p. 4. Retrieved 26 May 2020 – via Trove.
  13. ^ "VICTOR JORY AT BALL". The Sun (Sydney). New South Wales, Australia. 6 August 1936. p. 24 (LATE FINAL EXTRA). Retrieved 26 May 2020 – via Trove.
  14. ^ "FILM STAR'S WIFE AS ACTRESS". The Labor Daily. New South Wales, Australia. 5 October 1936. p. 8. Retrieved 26 May 2020 – via Trove.
  15. ^ "VICTOR JORY FINED". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 1 October 1936. p. 9. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  16. ^ a b Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1980, p 232.
  17. ^ "FILM REVIEWS". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 21 December 1936. p. 5. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  18. ^ ""RANGLE RIVER."". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 31 March 1937. p. 14. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  19. ^ Chicago Daily Tribune, Television programs for the week, 31 May 1952, page 32
  20. ^ "QUOTA FILMS. CONFERENCE URGED". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 1 April 1937. p. 10. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  21. ^ "SOCIAL and PERSONAL". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 8 January 1937. p. 5. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
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Rangle River
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