'A Sentimental Bloke' (1919) by C.J. Dennis a big hit for Adelaide film firm Southern Cross

C.J. Dennis, born in the South Australian mid-north town of Auburn, wrote The Sentimental Bloke and The Moods of Ginger Mick that became hit films.
Image courtesy State Library of South Australia

The silent film version of Auburn-born poet C.J. Dennis’s The Sentimental Bloke, financed by a South Australia’s Southern Cross Feature Film company, had its premiere in 1919 in Adelaide.

Raymond Longford, who had signed a lucrative film deal with Dennis in 1917, directed the film for Southern Cross Feature Film, headed by Adelaide businessman David Gordon.

Starring Longford’s partner Lotte Lyell as Doreen and Arthur Tauchert as Bill, The Sentimental Bloke was a big hit and widely screened and praised in the UK and USA. A “talkie” version was made in the 1930s. Longford and the company followed up the Bloke’s success with another Dennis creation, The Moods of Ginger Mick.

The Southern Cross Feature Film Company was at its peak in 1920 when it paid a dividend of a shilling a share.

In 1925, major shareholder and entrepreneur E.J. Carroll suggested that Southern Cross Feature Film make an adaption of Dennis’s The Rose of Spadgers. But the other directors decided against it, with the company losing money by not being able to recoup film-making costs in the UK and USA. Southern Cross shut down soon afterwards.

All copies of the film version of The Moods of Ginger Mick have been lost but a copy of The Sentimental Bloke in excellent condition was found in the USA. It had been catalogued incorrectly as “The Sentimental Blonde”.

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