Will it make 'Dog Day Afternoon' look more like 'Mary Poppins'?
Well, it looks like the lads are having another crack at the story of Ned Kelly, but this time focussing their attention on the gang’s final bloodied showdown and destruction in the small town of Glenrowan. I do hope this production goes ahead, as like so many others; I am waiting most excitedly with baited breath. Many of us have read countless books and watched many productions of this, might I say tragic event, but the thing is; how do you put such an event to screen, and make it totally believable to the public?
When we read what happened in books, or sit back in a comfortable chair watching good guys and villains shoot at each other for bloody years on end, after a while you simply become almost emotionless to the written word or optical effect. The siege at Glenrowan, although only a somewhat brief moment in the Kelly story, is the most memorable, and defining, in the Gangs rather short career.
When the four lads were talking about the upcoming production on Facebook, I could not help but to hold my sight to that vacant block of dirt behind them. As they spoke of their plans for this movie, I could hardly hear their words as the constant gunfire and unearthly screams coming from that inn became even louder. The smoke from the constant gunfire lingered in the cool air, throwing a deathly veil over this horrendous scene. What I was seeing was not like any movie I had ever seen before about this story, but rather an unforgettable nightmare.
What of the characters in this story? Was Aaron a traitor to the Gang or simply a gullible country larrikin who didn’t realise the situation he had put himself in? Was Anne Jones sympathetic to Ned Kelly or the Police, or just sympathetic to any side that had the upper hand? After her young son was shot by Police, she called the outlaws a pack of cowards, yet prior to that she was playing up to the Gang. How did Anne Jones react when she heard her son’s deathly screams? Were the Delaneys and McAuliffe’s sympathisers and true to the cause, and why did they not take up arms when asked by Dan Kelly and Steve Hart? Sometimes the fear for your own life under such circumstances can quickly bring doubt to your believed loyalties.
Will we see the tearing of a bullet as it rips its way through Ned’s left arm? Or the one that ripped through his toe and exits his heel? Did Ned scream in agony at such wounds or simply flinch? When Joe Byrne is shot in the femoral artery while taking a drink at the bar, will we see and hear the gushing of blood flowing from his body? At least we won’t choke on the smoke as the outlaws extinguish the fireplace, or smell the stench from the extinguished lanterns. How did those poor buggers feel in the freezing dark of early morn, huddled on cold floors, not knowing if they would live or die? How did they feel when all hell broke loose from shotguns and Martini Henry rifles, as the lead poured in through the inn’s flimsy walls, whistling just inches above their trembling bodies? Did some souls soil their clothing or vomit through sheer fear? Will the next bullet find its mark? Can you seriously imagine yourself in such a position? I know I could not.
In the story we are told of an army of armed sympathisers secreted in the hills waiting to support the Gang, yet only a handful of men were seen by police nearing the end of the siege. Did this army really exist? What was the true purpose behind this plan of Ned’s? Was it a plan that would bring about an uprising against the Government for a Republic of North East Victoria as widely believed? Ned gave many reasons for the fight at Glenrowan, but what are we to believe? There has been talk of a document proclaiming such an event to exist, but to this day has not been found. When Ned took a last stand with Police, did he actually think he could save the boys under such circumstances? Nigh close to death and filled with brandy to relieve his pain, was it a final act of defiance when all was lost, to end his life? After Ned’s capture and the inn well set alight, when Father Gibney entered the burning building, he saw two boys laid out with a seemingly peaceful countenance. How did Dan Kelly and Steve Hart die? Did they commit suicide by gunshot or poison? There are so many unanswered questions. After the inn had burnt to the ground, Dan and Steve were raked from the ashes. How can you describe the feelings of those siblings who witnessed such a horrific sight?
When the Director of Glenrowan, Matthew Holmes, stated his new movie would be a similar feature comparable to Dog Day Afternoon, I was surprised. I personally think if the lads can tell this story the way it should be told, and leave patrons trembling, and with tear in eye, they have done their job. It will make Dog Day Afternoon look more like Mary Poppins! All the very best lads.
I do know one thing for sure; the extras that are playing the part of the hostages will have to act as if their lives depended on it.