The Bootleg Files: The Story of the Kelly Gang

BOOTLEG FILES 620: “The Story of the Kelly Gang” (1906 Australian production that is widely credited as the first feature-length narrative film).

LAST SEEN: A reconstruction using the surviving film fragments is on YouTube.


REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It is nearly unknown outside of Australia.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: There is an Australian DVD of the reconstructed version, but it is not commercially available in the United States.

On December 26, 1906, film history was made in Melbourne, Australia, with the premiere of “The Story of the Kelly Gang,” a cinematic retelling of the rise and fall of that nation’s most colorful 19th century outlaws. At the time, however, no one realized they were witnessing history in the making. And even at this late date, many people are not aware of the film’s importance to the development of the motion picture industry.

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