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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ned Kelly meets Tupac Shakur

You're getting a double dose of my A to Z Challenge contributions today. Yesterday I was too busy with an article about English castles that's now live on Gadling. Researching it took up way more time and energy than expected!

I did play hookey for part of yesterday, however, in order to watch The Story of the Kelly Gang on Archive.org. Ned Kelly was an outlaw in late-nineteenth-century Australia and was most famous for his gunfight against the police while wearing homemade armor. The law saw him as a brutal killer and thief, while many regular folk saw him as a hero who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor. He became the Australian equivalent of Jesse James, larger than life.

This film was made in 1906 in Australia and at 60 minutes, was the longest film yet made. It proved hugely successful in Australia and played in theaters for 20 years. Sadly, most of the film has been lost. Back then people thought of films as disposable and most films from the first three decades of motion pictures are gone. It's only by luck that 20 minutes of the film have survived.

The guy who posted the film on Archive.org did a good job splicing the various surviving bits together. He didn't add a soundtrack, though, and not liking my silent films to be totally silent I decided to put on some music. Hmmm. . .what would go with a bandit movie? Tupac Shakur, of course! His music is about gangsters defying the police, after all.

As strange as it sounds, the music fit perfectly. Just goes to show that once art is in the public space, it can take on some strange and unanticipated forms. I bet Tupac never dreamed his music would be used to accompany a hundred-year-old movie, and I'm sure Ned Kelly never anticipated someone like Tupac!

Photos courtesy Wikimedia Commons.


  1. Odd combination!
    After watching the movie Hugo I realized just how many films were lost in the early days. And now there is no one around that remembers seeing them.

  2. That suit of armor looks heavy, but judging by the holes (or rather dents) it works. Will have to check out the new Gadling posts. I like the architecture of castles and the history they contain.

  3. Ned Kelly was an interesting guy. And I can totally see how Tupac's music would go with the silent movie.

    So sad that the footage got lost. :-(

  4. The armor looks scary all by itself. I haven't heard of Ned Kelly but that's something new to learn about.

  5. It's interesting to see Ned kelly's armor. I used to live on the Hume Highway at Beveridge, Victoria. The town is gone now. His mother lived just up the road in the days of old. It gave me a sense of the history of the place.
    A - Z Challenge

  6. I had heard of the name Ned Kelly but not the story. That is a neat photo of the armour.

    Denise at Organization and Inspiration for Fellow Writers, participant of A to Z Blogging Challenge
    Denise Reashore on Facebook

    1. Loved the octopus video on your blog! I'm filing that away in my "cool visuals to use in a story sometime" part of my brain.
      One thing, though: you might want to make it easier to comment on your blog. It's a pain to have to sign in to FB or Twitter just to leave a comment.


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