The Woman Suffers (1918 film)


One of Australia’s most significant silent feature movies – The Woman Suffers.

Filmed in Adelaide, indeed substantially in West Torrens, The Woman Suffers was long considered 'lost', but remnants were found among a private collection and passed onto the National Film Archives in Canberra in 1983.

Though not Oscar material, The Woman Suffers has been called 'Australia’s first feminist feature film'. With a highly moral storyline, the melodrama is one of only three surviving films made by Australian filmmaker Raymond Longford in collaboration with his long-time partner, leading lady and lover Lottie Lyell. It was the first production of the then new South Australian company Southern Cross Feature Film Co. Ltd.

Unfortunately, 20 minutes or so of the original print has been lost, including the crucial opening scenes. The ravages of time and the chemical decomposition of the nitrate 35mm print have not been kind to The Woman Suffers, however, modern technology has allowed the Archives to reproduce the remaining two-thirds of the film onto video. The Woman Suffers had its premiere opening with vice regal patronage at the Theatre Royal, Hindley Street, on March 23, 1918. In reviews, the local press praised the 'flawless' photography of the South Australian backgrounds, and especially the 'outback' scenes with their 'strong colours of sunset and the pell-mell of wild cattle trailing their dust amid the big spaces'. The film was made in part on James Henry Aldridge’s property 'Richmond Park', now Regis Marleston (formerly St Martins Aged Care Facility), Cudmore Tce, Marleston. In the movie, the viewer catches glimpses of Waterfall Gully, including the beautiful old kiosk, the Bridgewater Hotel and a church thought to be in the Adelaide Hills as well as scenes at Morphettville Racecourse. The film’s River Murray at Echuca was more than likely the Onkaparinga at Noarlunga. The gum tree paddocks were mostly in the wilds of Plympton.

Access The Woman Suffers digital collection items on the West Torrens Library catalogue

This National Film and Sound Archive upload is for preservation purposes only.