Australian Screen

Australia’s audiovisual heritage online

Titles from the 1950s

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1950

Berlei Underwear Cinema Advertisement: Sarong advertisement – 1950

The Berlei ‘Sarong’ girdle is aimed at active women who want comfort and freedom to move at the same time.

Bitter Springs feature film – 1950

A family of white farmers fight to take possession of land and water that is home to a well-established Aboriginal clan.

Clarke, R: Sydney Diary home movie – 1950

This home movie footage was taken by professional cameraman Robin Clarke, one of Australia’s first television cameramen.

Commonwealth Bank – Plan for the Future advertisement – c1950

This ad appeals to its audience to patronise the Commonwealth Bank because it’s the bank they own.

Corroboree music – 1950

Incorporating Indigenous themes, this Australian orchestral work achieved international recognition.

Division of Radiophysics documentary – 1950

This public relations documentary outlines research undertaken by the CSIRO Division of Radiophysics during the 1940s.

Eventide and Westbrook Farm Home: Brisbane City Mission sponsored film – 1950

This is one of a handful of films made by the Brisbane City Mission to promote its charity and social work assisting vulnerable members of the community.

Eyes Right sponsored film – c1950

A short public awareness film about the importance of eye health. It explains how our eyes function and how to protect them.

Gerakiteys: Greek Community Picnics home movie – 1950

This beautiful colour footage captures how the Greek community in Canberra lived at the time, and the ways they contributed to community life.

A Hero’s Reward home movie – 1950

This delightful ‘family farce’ home movie production was filmed over a weekend around the Lindfield area in Sydney.

Maranoa Lullaby music – 1950

Harold Blair was the first Aboriginal Australian to achieve recognition as a classical singer.

McIlwraith, Peter: Brisbane Show and Moonbi Park home movie – c1950

The experience of the Brisbane Exhibition (now officially called the Royal Queensland Show) is captured beautifully in this amateur footage.

A Place to Live sponsored film – 1950

This Realist Film Unit documentary illustrates that the builders of homes belonging to the wealthy themselves live across the river in poor conditions.

Schools for Farmers sponsored film – c1950

This short film promotes schools for farmers during vacation time at Hawkesbury Agricultural College.

White River of Life sponsored film – c1950

A short government film made in the early 1950s to promote the health qualities of milk and milk-based foods.

1951

Commonwealth Bank – The School Bank sponsored film – 1951

The bank commissioned this film to replace personal school visits by Bank Liaison Officers, recently cancelled because of postwar labour shortages.

The Felt Hat short film – 1951

Arguably the first real attempt at film drama made in South Australia, The Felt Hat draws on 1940s crime fiction and Hollywood film noir to good effect.

Fighting Blood documentary – 1951

This Cinesound documentary highlights the talents of Australian fighters, including Aboriginal boxers Alfie Clay, Elley Bennett and Dave Sands.

The Workman’s Nightmare short film – 1951

In the first short film from amateur filmmakers the Straford Brothers, a young man falls asleep on his work break and dreams that his ladder attacks him.

1952

Antarctic Vigil documentary – 1952

One of the first colour films about Australian bases in the sub-Antarctic islands.

Evolution of the Australian Crawl documentary – c1952

Swimming champion Andrew 'Boy’ Charlton, who has a picturesque Sydney pool named after him, is one of those interviewed.

The Singing Chef advertisement – 1952

The catchy melody and infectious cheer have you humming along by the end of the advertisement.

Snowy Hydro – The Snowy Mountains Scheme sponsored film – 1952

Interesting as an early document on the Snowy Hydro scheme, it’s an unabashed celebration of the entire endeavour, depicting it as a model of postwar reconstruction.

They Chose Peace documentary – 1952

The Realist Film Unit covered the Youth Carnival for Peace and Friendship in Sydney, which took place in the highly political climate of 1952.

1953

Carnival of Flowers, Toowoomba sponsored film – 1953

This short sponsored film about the 1953 Carnival of Flowers in Toowoomba captures the floral street parade and the colours of spring.

Il Contratto feature film – 1953

In 1950s Melbourne, four recent Italian migrants eager for work to pay off their debts finally find employment on a rural farm near the city.

Jack Luscombe music – 1953

An oral history containing the first recorded collection of Australian folk song.

Menzies RG: Our Coronation Tour home movie – 1953

This home movie filmed by Australia’s longest serving Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, captures the official ceremonies for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

The New Car short film – 1953

An ambitious amateur production, most of which is set in the early 1900s, the film was shot on location at an historic homestead in Morphettville, South Australia.

Pensions for Veterans documentary – 1953

A first glimpse of the Waterside Workers’ Federation Film Unit’s agenda – to depict labour history from the point of view of the workers.

The Phantom Stockman feature film – 1953

A bushman known as ‘the Sundowner’ helps cattle station heiress Kim Marsden investigate the death of her father.

Tribal Music of Australia music – 1953

These are the first commercially available recordings of Australian Aboriginal music.

1954

Aeroplane Pure Fruit Jellies Advertisement: Bertie the Jet advertisement – 1954

The colourful animation, the anthropomorphising of Bertie, and the jingle ‘I love Aeroplane Jelly’ are designed to appeal to both children and their parents.

Australia Post – Royal Tour sponsored film – 1954

As this program amply illustrates, an excited Australian public turned out in droves to see the Queen in 1954. For the PMG, her visit represented a coming of age.

The Back of Beyond documentary – 1954

Battling heat, dust and flood, Tom Kruse delivers mail, stores and supplies along the 517 kilometre Birdsville Track in central Australia.

Blue Ice documentary – 1954

The story of the 1954 Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition to set up the first Australian base on the Antarctic continent.

Dimpel, Konrad: Canberra and Snowy Mountains home movie – c1954

Most of this home movie footage captures scenes of sporting and leisure activities around Canberra, such as the woodchopping competition at a local show.

Gerakiteys: Greek Wedding Reception: Canberra Scenes home movie – c1954

This is a rare example of home movie footage of migrant communities living in Australia in the 1950s.

Gerakiteys: Scenes of Greece and Canberra home movie – c1954

This clip from a home movie by Emmanuel Gerakiteys beautifully captures a wedding in a small Greek town, soaked in afternoon sunlight.

Holden Car Cinema Advertisement: On a Tour of Tropical Australia advertisement – c1954

The presence of Coral Sea islanders in a Holden advertisement is probably the last thing that audiences at the time would have expected.

Just Peanuts documentary – 1954

Following the warm reception this film about peanuts received, Kingsford Smith became a successful and prolific producer of over 300 sponsored films and commercials.

King of the Coral Sea feature film – 1954

A pearler in the Torres Strait uncovers an illegal people smuggling operation.

A Matter of Taste advertisement – c1954

This 1950s ad for Schweppes focuses on the drinks in the context of entertaining, socialising and recreation, rather than the science behind the 'Schweppervescent’ bubbles.

Menzies RG: Our Royal Visitors home movie – 1954

Sir Robert Menzies recorded the royal visit of 1954 and the pomp, ceremony and excitement that surrounded it.

On Stream sponsored film – 1954

On Stream romanticises the achievements in building an oil refinery and emphasises the benefits for Geelong, its residents and the Australian nation.

Overland Adventure: The Story of the 1954 Redex Reliability Trial documentary – 1954

Jack Murray earned the nickname ‘Gelignite Jack’ through his habit of blowing up outback toilets, livening up his entrance to towns along the route.

The Queen in Australia documentary – 1954

The first colour feature made in Australia, documenting the first visit of a reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, in 1954.

Roamin’ Holiday home movie – 1954

This amateur travelogue made by John and Frank Straford records their trip to north-east Victoria in the 1950s.

Snowy Hydro – The Snowy Flows Inland sponsored film – 1954

Most of the Snowy Hydro productions followed the format and style of this film – a conventional instructional documentary complete with authoritative voice-over.

The War Against the Rabbit documentary – 1954

This sponsored documentary made by the CSIRO is about a farmer’s campaign to eradicate a wild rabbit infestation.

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