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Charles and Elsa Chauvel

15-30 August 2009
Free Admission

To coincide with Queensland’s Q150 celebrations, the Australian Cinémathèque presents a survey of pioneering Queensland filmmakers Charles and Elsa Chauvel.  The program includes the box-office success Forty Thousand Horseman 1937 and Australia’s first feature film in colour, and the first to create a significant indigenous character, Jedda 1955.

Jedda 1955 will be introduced by Bruce McLean at 3.00pm on Saturday 15 August. Bruce McLean is the Associate Curator for Indigenous Australian Art at Queensland Art Gallery l Gallery of Modern Art.

Forty Thousand Horseman 1940 will be introduced by Susanne Chauvel Carlsson 3.00pm Sunday 23 August / Cinema B
Daughter of Charles and Elsa Chauvel, Susanne Chauvel Carlsson spent her early life accompanying her parents on location and to film studios. With the support of her son Richard, she has dedicated much of her time to the continued preservation and promotion of these important early Australian films.

Silent films Moth of Moonbi 1936 and Greenhide 1926 will be accompanied live by organist Ron West on the Wurlitzer organ Thu 20 Aug 11.00am / Cinema A.

Jedda 1955 G

Jedda 1955 G

Sat 15 Aug 3.00pm / Cinema B

35MM, COLOUR, MONO, 85 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: CHARLES CHAUVEL / SCRIPT: CHARLES CHAUVEL, ELSA CHAUVEL / CINEMATOGRAPHER: CARL KAYSER / EDITORS : ALEX EZARD, JACK GARDINER, PAM BOSWORTH / CAST: NGARLA KUNOTH, ROBERT TUDAWALI, BETTY SUTTOR, PAUL REYNALL, GEORGE SIMPSON-LYTTLE, TAS FITZER, WASON BYERS / PRODUCTION CO: CHARLES CHAUVEL PRODUCTIONS / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE / RIGHTS: CURTIS BROWN (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD

‘Dramatic story of an Aboriginal baby raised on a remote cattle station by a white woman mourning the loss of her own child. The young girl, Jedda (Ngarla Kunoth), is brought up in white society and is forbidden by her adoptive mother to have contact with other Aborigines. As Jedda grows into a young woman she increasingly becomes drawn to her Aboriginal heritage. When Marbuck (Robert Tudawali), an Aboriginal man, visits the station in search of work he and Jedda are drawn to each other. Marbuck decides to take Jedda against her will back to his tribal lands to marry her, but to his despair his tribe rejects him for breaking marriage taboos. The film climaxes when Marbuck goes insane from anguish and ends his own and Jedda’s life. The first Australian colour narrative feature. Filmed on location in the Northern Territory and the Blue Mountains, New South Wales. An air crash destroyed several thousand feet of negative covering the last scenes in the film. These were reshot around the Jenolan caves and in the Blue Mountains, with nearby rocks sprayed reddish-brown to resemble Territory landscape. A critical and commercial success.’ National Film and Sound Archive

Heritage 1935 G

Heritage 1935 G

Sat 16 Aug 3.00pm / Cinema B

5MM, BLACK AND WHITE, MONO, 82 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/ PRODUCER/SCRIPT: CHARLES CHAUVEL / CINEMATOGRAPHERS: TASMAN HIGGINS, ARTHUR HIGGINS / EDITOR: LOLA LINDSAY / MUSIC: HARRY JACOBS / CAST: FRANK HARVEY, FRANKLYN BENNETT, MARGOT RHYS, PEGGY MAGUIRE, HAROLD MEADE, ANN WYNN, NORMAN FRENCH, JOE VALLI, ELSA CHAUVEL / PRODUCTION CO: AUSTRALIAN FILM PRODUCTIONS / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE / RIGHTS: CURTIS BROWN (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD

‘Epic historical drama spanning 150 years of Australian history. The film follows three generations of the Morrison family from the arrival of the first fleet to the First World War. Throughout the film, Chauvel focuses on the constant struggle of pioneers to survive in the harsh Australian frontier. Filmed at the Efftee Studios, St Kilda, and on location in Comanhurst, New South Wales and Canungra, Queensland. The film was awarded the Commonwealth Prize for best Australian made film in 1935.’ National Film and Sound Archive

Moth of Moonbi 1926 All ages

Moth of Moonbi 1926 All ages

Thu 20 Aug 11.00am (with Greenhide) / Cinema A

35MM, BLACK AND WHITE, SILENT (LIVE MUSICAL ACCOMPANIMENT), 33 MINUTES (INCOMPLETE), AUSTRALIA, DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: CHARLES CHAUVEL / BASED ON THE NOVEL ‘THE WILD MOTH’ BY MABEL FORREST / CINEMATOGRAPHER: ALFRED WILLIAM BURNE / CAST: ARTHUR TAUCHERT, DORIS ASHWIN, CHARLES O’MARA, COLLEEN RICHARDS, MARSDEN HASSALL, DARLA TOWNEND / PRODUCTION CO: AUSTRALIAN FILM PRODUCTIONS / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE / RIGHTS: CURTIS BROWN (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD

‘The story of a country girl, Dell Ferris (Doris Ashwin), drawn to the bright lights of the big city where her inheritance is soon frittered away through high society revelling. A wiser Dell returns to Moonbi station where she is beset by the cattle rustler Jack Bronson (Arthur Tauchert). She finally finds peace and happiness with the faithful head stockman, Tom Resoult (Marsden Hassall). Shot on location in the bush outside Brisbane, with scenes shot at an improvised studio at the rear of a guest house in the city. Despite the cold weather, cast and crew camped out with pack-horses. They took sheep with them for fresh meat. This first effort of Chauvel’s (he appears in the film in blackface as an Aboriginal stockman) shows signs of the director’s characteristics. He shot in difficult locations with new acting talent and told an Australian story which gave heroic dimensions to ordinary lives. Scenes of station life include authentic pictures of cattle yarding’s, stock transportation by train, and the sale yards. The production cost 4400 pounds and was released at the Wintergarden Theatre, Brisbane on 25 January 1926. Originally 9000 feet, 2334 of 35mm (33mins @18fps) survives. Showing severe nitrate damage in some scenes.’ National Film and Sound Archive.

Greenhide 1926 All ages

Greenhide 1926 All ages

Thu 20 Aug 11.00am (with Moth of Moonbi) / Cinema A

35MM, BLACK AND WHITE, SILENT (LIVE MUSICAL ACCOMPANIMENT), 37 MINUTES (INCOMPLETE), AUSTRALIA, DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: CHARLES CHAUVEL / CINEMATOGRAPHER: AL BURNE / CAST: ELSIE SYLVANEY, FRANK THORN, JULES MURRAY-PRIOR, BRUCE GORDON, IRMA DEARDEN, GERALD BARLOW / PRODUCTION CO: AUSTRALIAN FILM PRODUCTIONS / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE / RIGHTS: CURTIS BROWN (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD

 ‘The film’s heroine, Margery Paton (Elsie Sylvaney), leaves a life of luxury in the city, to go bush to Walloon. Her retired father’s cattle property run by the notorious “Greenhide’ Gavin (Bruce Gordon). Margery has romantic notions of ‘Being swung up into the saddle by big brown arms - to be kissed during a wind stampede of daddy’s cattle’ or ‘to be sheiked by a real live bushranger’. However she finds her wilful nature matched by Greenhide’s iron will and his initial distaste at having a high-society girl living at the station. After series of adventures involving a gang of cattle duffers, the two discover their love for one another and romance blooms.  Shot on location in the Dawson Valley, 100 miles from Brisbane. Interior scenes were shot in the boarding house where the cast and crew stayed in Brisbane. The lead role was played by Brisbane actor, Elsie Sylvaney, who later became Chauvel’s wife and production partner. Competing with American programs, the Chauvel’s travelled throughout Queensland with both Moth of Moonbi and Greenhide, promoting local screenings and making personal appearances. Made for 3800 pounds, the film opened at His Majesty’s Theatre, Brisbane on 20 November 1926 where it attracted capacity crowds eager to see a Queensland adventure on screen.  Some scenes in the surviving footage appear to be out of sequence. Originally 8000 feet of 35mm, 2475 feet of 35mm survives.’ National Film and Sound Archive.

Uncivilised 1936 PG

Uncivilised 1936 PG

Sat 22 Aug 3.00pm / Cinema B

35MM, BLACK AND WHITE, MONO, 79 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/ PRODUCER/SCRIPT: CHARLES CHAUVEL / CINEMATOGRAPHER: TASMAN HIGGINS / EDITORS: FRANK COFFEY, MONA DONALDSON / CAST: DENNIS HOEY, MARGOT RHYS, ASHTON JARRY, KENNETH BRAMPTON, MARCELLE MARNAY, EDWARD HOWELL / PRODUCTION CO: EXPEDITIONARY FILMS / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE / RIGHTS: CURTIS BROWN (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD

‘The adventures of high-society authoress, Beatrice Lynne (Margot Rhys) investigating a northern Aboriginal tribe ruled by a white king, Mara (Dennis Hoey). On her travels to northern Australia, Beatrice is kidnapped by an Afghan trader (Ashton Jarry) who later sells her to Mara the white king. After many adventures including opium smuggling and a battle, Beatrice and Mara fall in love and live together in Mara’s kingdom. Filmed in Queensland and in the newly opened National Studios at Pagewood, Sydney.’ National Film and Sound Archive

Forty Thousand Horsemen 1940 G

Forty Thousand Horsemen 1940 G

Sun 23 Aug 3.00pm / Cinema B

35MM, BLACK AND WHITE, MONO, 87 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR: CHARLES CHAUVEL / SCRIPT: CHARLES CHAUVEL, ELSA CHAUVEL / CINEMATOGRAPHER: GEORGE HEATH, TASMAN HIGGINS, JOHN HEYER, FRANK HURLEY, BERT NICHOLAS / EDITOR: WILLIAM SHEPHERD / MUSIC: LINDLEY EVANS / CAST: GRANT TAYLOR, CHIPS RAFFERTY, PAT TWOHILL, BETTY BRYANT, HARVEY ADAMS, ERIC REIMAN, JOE VALLI / PRODUCTION CO: FAMOUS FEATURE FILMS / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE / RIGHTS: CURTIS BROWN (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD

‘The inspirational story of the exploits of three larrikin heroes, Red (Grant Taylor), Jim (Chips Rafferty) and Larry (Pat Twohill), members of the Australian Light Horse Brigade stationed in the Sinai Desert during the First World War. The film successfully incorporates action, adventure and romance to make it one of the most popular Australian films of the period. Filming commenced in 1938 on the sand hills of Cronulla, south of Sydney. Interiors were shot in the Cinesound Studios at Bondi. Despite some censorship problems, the film opened in late 1940 and was an immediate success both in Australia and overseas. With Chips Rafferty in his first starring role, the film was described as a “magnificent tribute to the Australian soldier” (Film Weekly).’ National Film and Sound Archive

Forty Thousand Horseman 1940 will be introduced by Susanne Chauvel Carlsson.
3.00pm Sunday 23 August / Cinema B
 
Daughter of Charles and Elsa Chauvel, Susanne Chauvel Carlsson spent her early life accompanying her parents on location and to film studios. With the support of her son Richard, she has dedicated much of her time to the continued preservation and promotion of these important early Australian films.

In the Wake of the Bounty 1933 G

In the Wake of the Bounty 1933 G

Thu 27 Aug 11.00am / Cinema B

35MM, BLACK AND WHITE, MONO, 64 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/ PRODUCER/SCRIPT: CHARLES CHAUVEL / CINEMATOGRAPHER: TASMAN HIGGINS / EDITOR: WILLIAM SHEPHERD / CAST: ERROL FLYNN, MAYNE LYNTON, VICTOR GOURIET, JOHN WARWICK, MARIE ROSENFELD / PRODUCTION CO: EXPEDITIONARY FILMS / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE / RIGHTS: CURTIS BROWN (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD

 ‘Historical drama depicting the mutiny on Captain William Bligh’s ship the ‘Bounty’ in 1789. The film combines documentary footage filmed on location in Tahiti and Pitcairn Island with re-enactments filmed in the Cinesound Studios, Bondi. Errol Flynn appears in his first acting role, playing the part of Fletcher Christian, the leader of the mutiny. Upon returning from filming in Tahiti and Pitcairn Island the footage was confiscated by the Customs Department on the grounds that the film contained offensive material. When demands were made that the footage should be cut, Chauvel made a public protest and succeeded in having the film returned to him untouched. The wreckage portrayed in the film as that of the ‘Bounty’ is in fact ‘Cornwallis’, wrecked in 1875. Information provided by Ronald Coleman, Queensland Museum.’ National Film and Sound Archive

The Rats of Tobruk 1944 PG

The Rats of Tobruk 1944 PG

Sat 29 Aug 3.00pm / Cinema B

35MM, BLACK AND WHITE, MONO, 92 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: CHARLES CHAUVEL / SCRIPT: CHARLES CHAUVEL, ELSA CHAUVEL / CINEMATOGRAPHER: GEORGE HEATH / EDITOR: GUS LOWRY / CAST: GRANT TAYLOR, PETER FINCH, CHIPS RAFFERTY, PAULINE GARRICK, MARY GAY, GEORGE WALLACE, JOE VALLI / PRODUCTION CO: CHAMUN PRODUCTIONS /  PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE / RIGHTS: CURTIS BROWN (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD

‘A war time drama which follows the characters Bluey (Grant Taylor), Milo (Chips Rafferty) and Peter (Peter Finch) who join the 2nd AIF at the outbreak of World War Two. They serve together in North Africa, where they take part in the defence of Tobruk. Peter is killed before the end of the siege and the others continue fighting in New Guinea where Milo is also killed. The film ends when Bluey, the only survivor, returns home to his waiting girlfriend Kate Carmody (Pauline Garrick). Filmed on location in Papua New Guinea, Cronulla and Queensland. Chauvel also combines documentary footage from the front line throughout the film. In contrast with Forty Thousand Horsemen this film focuses on the heartbreak and the destruction of war rather than the glorification of the ANZAC soldier.’ National Film and Sound Archive

Sons of Matthew 1949 G

Sons of Matthew 1949 G

Sun 30 Aug 3.00pm / Cinema B

35MM, BLACK AND WHITE, MONO, 100 MINUTES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: CHARLES CHAUVEL / SCRIPT: CHARLES CHAUVEL, ELSA CHAUVEL , MAXWELL DUNN / ADAPTED FROM THE NOVEL ‘GREEN MOUNTAINS’ BY BERNARD O’REILLY / CINEMATOGRAPHER: BERT NICHOLAS, CARL KAYSER / EDITOR: TERRY BANKS / CAST: MICHAEL PATE, KEN WAYNE, TOMMY BURNES, JOHN UNICOMB, JOHN EWART, WENDY GIBB, JOHN O’MALLEY / PRODUCTION CO: GREATER UNION THEATRES IN ASSOCIATION WITH UNIVERSAL PICTURES / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE / RIGHTS: CURTIS BROWN (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD

‘Loosely based on the true story of the O’Reilly family, this epic film follows the lives of three generations of pioneers. The film begins with the struggling farmers Matthew and Jane O’Riordan and their family of five sons and two daughters. When the family grows up the five brothers decide to move to southern Queensland to establish their own farms in a mountainous area called ‘Green Kingdom’. The pioneering men face a constant battle against the harsh weather conditions and the mountainous terrain. They are also faced with a rivalry between the two older brothers, Barney (Ken Wayne) and Shane (Michael Pate) who competes for the affections of a local woman, Cathy McAllister (Wendy Gibb). The film concludes with the marriage of Shane and Cathy and a family united once more. When filming on location in the Lamington Plateau great difficulties were endured, including real cyclone with the cast and crew being flooded for six weeks, causing the production to go well over budget. The film launched the successful acting career of Michael Pate.’ National Film and Sound Archive