Audiences of the time loved this film’s boldness and, with its live sound effects and narration, to them it didn’t seem silent.
Hero is the first surviving feature film depiction of Australian troops of the First World War and includes images of a real army camp and real soldiers, in training at Liverpool, NSW.
War melodrama about two brothers in 1915: one joins the navy, the other discovers a German spy ring in Australia and is saved after the Sydney batters the Emden.
The Enemy Within 1918
Snowy Baker stars as a secret agent who smashes a ring of German spies in Sydney during the First World War.
The Woman Suffers 1918
This has been called ‘Australia’s first feminist feature’ but many of its female characters are ruined by men, a common theme in melodrama.
Director Raymond Longford and leading lady Lottie Lyell wrote this together and it is probably their most successful collaboration.
An outback family faces ruin through drought and a son corrupted by life in the big city.
On Our Selection 1920
On Our Selection is a landmark of the silent era in Australian cinema, and one of the key films in the career of Raymond Longford, the greatest director of that period.
The use of locations, particularly Port Arthur, is probably the film’s strongest asset, lending both veracity and visual impact. The other real strength of the film is its confident use of special effects.
The Kid Stakes 1927
The Kid Stakes is one of the greatest comedies of the silent era, although it was largely dismissed at the time as simply a children’s film.
This early feature depicts racial tension in NSW in 1861. Despite its offensive representation of Aboriginality, the film has cultural and historic value.
A reconstruction of Ken G Hall’s composite film about the destruction of the German warship Emden in November 1914.
Pat Hanna first told stories from his time in World War I as part of a travelling comedy troupe, then adapted the material into film.
His Royal Highness 1932
The performance of George Wallace, star and writer, is a road map of comic techniques from the passing vaudeville era.
On Our Selection 1932
This film was technically innovative and, when it opened in 1932, a box office sensation, rejuvenating the local film industry.
Harmony Row 1933
George Wallace’s talent for physical comedy is fully evident in the boxing match which serves as the film’s climax.
The Hayseeds 1933
This is the seventh and last film about a comical rural family known as the Hayseeds — it is also the first with sound.
Made by Charles Chauvel and with Errol Flynn in the cast, In the Wake of the Bounty is an odd mixture of re-creation and travelogue.
Flammable nitrate film fed the fires in the spectacular bushfire finale to Ken G Hall’s The Squatter’s Daughter. The fires rapidly got out of control during filming but no one was hurt.
Renowned filmmaker Ken G Hall was concerned that this film would incite religious anger, but it was a smash hit instead.
Splendid Fellows 1934
Famous Australian aviator, Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, and his famous plane, have cameo roles in this comedy adventure.
Strike Me Lucky 1934
The Holocaust made vaudeville star Roy Rene’s Jewish caricatures unacceptable in later years, but this wasn’t the case in 1934.
A Ticket in Tatts 1934
George Wallace helps a champion horse to avoid crooks and win a big race.
Grandad Rudd 1935
Some of the comical sketches are old-fashioned while others are beautifully designed to get audiences laughing during the Depression.
Heritage is a thunderous piece of endorsement for the pioneer mythology of Australia, made by the prolific Charles Chauvel.
Boxing contests between men and kangaroos, as shown in this film, were a frequent ‘attraction’ in travelling tent shows.
Rangle River 1936
NSW legislation required exhibitors and distributors to invest in, and show, Australian films — but not for long.
The ending of this film led to allegations of plagiarism, because it was almost identical to the 1934 film, Broadway Bill.
Uncivilised is basically an Australian Tarzan, but with an English singer, Dennis Hoey, playing the king of the jungle.
It Isn’t Done 1937
1937 was Cinesound’s golden year – the studio’s films now boasted wittier scripts, more attention to performance, and a series of strong leading players.
Lovers and Luggers 1937
This entertaining film is packed with action, romance and comedy — the cocktail Ken G Hall’s usually offers — but also sophistication.
Mystery Island 1937
Two of the principal actors disappeared at sea after filming finished and what became of them is still unknown.
Tall Timbers 1937
The finale, in which a whole hillside of trees are felled, was shot as a miniature in the studio after repeated attempts on location.
The Broken Melody 1938
A film with music rather than a musical, The Broken Melody is one of the few films of the 1930s that tries to depict the Depression’s effect on real people.
The question this fish-out-of-water comedy is really asking is whether Australians have the confidence to be modern in the context of the wider world of 1938.
Let George Do It 1938
Although reliant on the comic sketches Wallace made famous in his vaudeville act, the film is pushed along by the thrilling outdoor action sequences Ken Hall knew how to direct.
Gone to the Dogs 1939
The second comedy that George Wallace made with Cinesound features a musical interlude with dogs, children, dancing girls and backing singers on bicycles!
Cecil Kellaway was probably the best actor that Ken G Hall ever worked with. He returned from Hollywood to play the titular little man who learns to assert himself.
Dad Rudd, MP 1940
Dad Rudd, MP truly signals the end of an era, the last gasp of the cycle of rural comedies featuring yokels and livestock that went back 30 years in Australian cinema.
Chauvel introduced a very young and fresh-faced Chips Rafferty, who modelled his performance in part on the comical digger created by Pat Hanna in Diggers (1931).
The Rats of Tobruk 1944
The Rats of Tobruk may not be Charles Chauvel’s best movie, but it deserves serious consideration as his best movie about war.
The Overlanders 1946
As the Japanese threaten northern Australia in 1942, a drover takes a mob of prime beef cattle across 2,600 kms of hazardous country to Queensland.
Smithy was Charles 'Bud’ Tingwell’s first film. With characteristic modesty, he later said he won the part as a control tower officer because he supplied his own uniform.
Bush Christmas 1947
In a rare villainous role, Chips Rafferty plays a horse thief, Long Bill. He is tracked by five kids spending Christmas in the Blue Mountains.
Into the Straight 1949
Australian horse breeder WJ Curzon hires British trainer Hugh Duncan and his playboy son Paul. Father and son are both attracted to JW’s daughter, June.
Sons of Matthew 1949
Sons of Matthew is an extremely vivid depiction of the heroic conquest of the land by Australia’s white settlers.
Bitter Springs 1950
A family of white farmers fight to take possession of land and water that is home to a well-established Aboriginal clan.
Il Contratto 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.
The Phantom Stockman 1953
A bushman known as ‘the Sundowner’ helps cattle station heiress Kim Marsden investigate the death of her father.
A pearler in the Torres Strait uncovers an illegal people smuggling operation.