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Rudall Hayward’s first feature film, MY LADY OF THE CAVE, is a romantic drama set in the Bay of Plenty during the 1890s and is based on the newspaper serial of the same name published in weekly instalments in The New Zealand Herald between September 1921 and February 1922.

The film opens with the hero on board outward-bound timber scow ‘The Empress’. He is soon lost overboard and is washed up on an island. Using real time and flashbacks, the story unfolds.

During one of Te Kooti’s raids on Poverty Bay a settler family by the name of Trite is wiped out after they unwittingly break a tapu. A girl child, Beryl, survives and is rescued by Rau, a ‘friendly’ Maori who is made mute during the attack. Rau raises her in isolation on an island where she grows into a beautiful young woman. Washed up on the island the hero soon discovers the ‘lady of the cave.’ He also stumbles upon a gang of moonshiners and only just manages to escape in a small boat supplied by Beryl. Unable to forget his lady of the cave he returns to rescue her and to catch the moonshiners. Rau is shot during a shoot-out with the moonshiners, on his death bed he hands over a small box which contains the information connecting Beryl to the Trite family.

Beryl is reintroduced to settler society and the film ends happily with her marriage to the hero.

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Year 1922

Reference number F5442

Collection Film and Video Collection

Media type Moving Image

Place of Production NEW ZEALAND/AOTEAROA

Genre Feature

Duration 1:11:00

Production company Bay of Plenty Films

Credits Director: Rudall Hayward
Screenplay: Rudall Hayward
From the NZ Herald serial: H T Gibson
Adapted: Rudall Hayward
Produced: Rudall Hayward
Photography: [Frank Stewart]
Assistant Director: Arthur Bestic
Art Titles: C Morton
Beryl: Hazel West
Gordon Campbell: Bob Ramsey

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