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Film genres

The following clips have teachers’ notes related to this topic:

The Sydney Opera House sails

from the sponsored film The 8th Wonder of the World (PG)

The exterior walls of the Sydney Opera House were inspired by the sails of the pleasure craft on the nearby harbour.

Rolf Harris at the Sydney Opera House

from the sponsored film The 8th Wonder of the World (PG)

Australian entertainer Rolf Harris sings a self-penned tribute to the SOH while he does a painting of it. We see him in make up, preparing for the first performance in the concert hall.

Gipsy Moth in flight

from the home movie Activities of the Royal Aero Club of South Australia (G)

A DH60G 'de Havilland’ Gipsy Moth is prepared for flight at the Adelaide Parafield. Chief pilot of the Royal Aero Club of South Australia Jack Buckham, locks the wings of the plane into position. The …

Young people and the Drop-In

from the documentary Addison Road Drop-In (PG)

A member of the Addison Road Drop-In provides an on-the-spot commentary on a parking policeman or 'brown bomber’ booking a motorist on Marrickville Road.

Inside the recreation room at the centre, the young men play …

A completely animal nature

from the feature film Alvin Purple (PG)

In court, Dr Sort (Penne Hackforth-Jones) describes Alvin’s condition – satyromania – 'the male equivalent of nymphomania’. Alvin and girlfriend (Elli Maclure) argue with a disgusted taxi diver (Peter Cummins). Dr Sort’s lawyer (Jon Finlayson …

Sydney Harbour and Bridge scenes

from the home movie Archibald Family: Family Scenes and Outings in Sydney (PG)

This home movie clip, shot by the Archibald family, is taken from on board a boat in Sydney Harbour. It shows various steamships and boats on Sydney Harbour as well as the Sydney Harbour Bridge …

Falkiner cane harvester in operation

from the sponsored film An Australian Invention: Falkiner Cane Harvester in Operation (G)

The harvester is operated by a person seated on one side of the machine. The camera films, from various positions, the harvester as it is guided along the edge of the cane field. Men walk …

Steel rails

from the sponsored film The Australian Steel Works (G)

Lengths of molten steel pass through a large machine that rolls them into rails for use in the Trans-Continental Railway. The molten steel snakes its way down the track before withdrawing again. The camera shifts …

The little town of Katherine

from the television program Australian Walkabout (PG)

Charles and Elsa Chauvel have come through the dry outback to camp on a riverbed just outside the little town of Katherine. Elsa gives the viewer a tour through voice-over commenting on shots of the …

Secretaries and executives

from the sponsored film Australia Post – Onward Speed (G)

This segment addresses secretaries and executives and informs them of their responsibilities in the posting, receipt, sorting and delivery of mail.

Hitler’s fifth columnists

from the newsreel Australia Today – Australia's 5th Column (G)

This clip opens with type scrolling over a background screen declaring that Australia is at war and threatened by a ruthless enemy. The enemies, according to the newsreel, are ‘agents of Germany’ or ‘Hitler’s …

‘The enemy within’

from the newsreel Australia Today – Australia's 5th Column (G)

This clip suggests that Nazi agents already reside in Australia and that government officials work day and night to stamp out the ‘enemy within’. The audience is called upon as ‘loyal citizens’ to do their …

Backyard betting

from the newsreel Australia Today – Customs Officers Fight Against Drugs (G)

This newsreel segment begins with a title card which sums it up nicely: ‘slums, illegal gambling and SP bookmaking is a real and vital problem confronting the governments of Australia today’. Following newspaper headlines, the …

This child, Zita

from the documentary Beyond Sorry (G)

Aggie Abbott tells of how, when Zita returned to her mother after years of being absent, her mother said that her daughter was dead. Ron Wallace, Zita’s husband, talks about Zita’s experience of …

Back to country

from the documentary Beyond Sorry (G)

Zita is sitting on a stool feeding a poddy calf. In voice-over Aggie Abbott says most children who were taken away never returned to their country. Zita on the other hand has sought her family …

Effie in PNG

from the documentary Big Hair Woman (G)

Effie (Mary Coustas) is interviewed by the National Broadcasting Commission’s John Honani. Effie has brought her own self-congratulatory résumé that John reads out before they discuss the role of missionaries in Papua New Guinea.

Talisman Sabre

from the documentary Blowin' in the Wind (PG)

The clip details the relationship between Australia and the US regarding weapons testing. A 20-year memorandum of understanding signed between the US and Australia in 2005 allows the two countries to carry out exercises in …

Boer War Transvaal contingent

from the historical Boer War Transvaal Contingent (PG)

This actuality footage was taken by the official photographer of the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Frederick Charles Wills, and his assistant, Henry William Mobsby in 1899. Crowds line the streets to watch the First Queensland …

The sole and heel

from the sponsored film Boots and Shoes (G)

A man places a leather sheet under a pressing machine that cuts out segments for the soles of shoes. He illustrates this for the camera and holds up one of the sheets. The soles are …

The breakout

from the feature film Broken Sun (PG)

Kamimura (Kuni Hashimoto), the Japanese prisoner leading the outbreak, addresses his fellow prisoners and prepares them for the glory of imminent death. The men then begin their breakout in a brief sequence that quickly segues …

German mortar attack

from the feature film Broken Sun (PG)

In this flashback to the First World War, Jack (Jai Koutrae) cowers in his trench as a shell explodes, showering him with debris and dust and temporarily deafening him.

Blue mountains scenery

from the home movie Browne, George: Blue Mountains (G)

Various scenes in and around the Blue Mountains are shown including: bathers in a pool; Leura gardens; holiday homes; Leura golf course; the Katoomba cascades and the Three Sisters rock formation.

‘Is it all right to take pictures?’

from the documentary Cannibal Tours (PG)

Tourists take photos of the local people and pay a fee. A young Papua New Guinean is interviewed about his response to tourism.


from the documentary The Changing Face of Australia (G)

Scenic shots of Uluru as the voice-over speaks of the 'geological timescale of the continent and its growth and ageing’. Then, we see Uluru weather a storm. As rains cascade down over the rock, the …

Christmas season in Melbourne

from the newsreel Christmas Hustle and Bustle: Crowds Leave for Well-deserved Holiday on 22 December (G)

This clip begins with a shot of a crowd (mostly women) gathering around suitcases on the pavement outside Flinders Street Station in Melbourne, just before Christmas 1928. Men are filmed loading suitcases onto the running …

Geelong’s secondary industries

from the sponsored film The City of Geelong (G)

A montage of business plaques and signs introduces the growing secondary industry that Geelong cultivates. To the sound of cheerful music, factory workers, assembly plants, fabric manufacturers, cement works, harvesters and motor vehicle manufacturers are …

A world away

from the television program The Colony (PG)

It’s a period of eager anticipation. John Stephenson from South Yorkshire and his 12-year-old son Tyler are learning survival skills that they hope to apply when they are living in the Australian bush. The …

Life on the Hawkesbury River

from the television program The Colony (PG)

The Aboriginal participants introduce the Europeans to some of the bush tucker of the region. Only John and his wife are prepared to try the worm-like carbora, although they know they’ll be a rich …

Rebellious women

from the television program The Colony (PG)

The settler women rebel against the clothing conventions of the early 19th century. Each feels that she can’t work alongside her husband and children unless she is able to adapt those ridiculous European dresses …

An ancient civilisation

from the documentary Cradle of Creation (G)

On board a paddle steamer, the camera travels up the Euphrates river passing villages in the swamp and marshland region of the country – a lush landscape strewn with long reeds and covered in date palms …

‘The rustle of tropical palms’

from the documentary The Dance of the Eyes (PG)

In this 1940s travelogue we see a traditional dance of the Balinese women The Dance of the Eyes. We are told that it is rarely performed.

Rae tries to slow the boat

from the feature film Dead Calm (PG)

Rae (Nicole Kidman) shuts off the engine and takes the key. Hughie (Billy Zane) tries to get it back but she’s too quick for him. Unfortunately, the dog is even quicker.

The electric Early Kooka stove

from the advertisement Electric Stove Cinema Advertisement: Banish Drudgery (G)

‘Mrs Sydney’ (Pat Firman) prepares an evening meal for her husband with her newly acquired electric range while a voice-over emphasises the stove’s economy and efficiency. At the end of the advertisement, she asks …

Eternity is a long time

from the documentary Eternity (G)

Arthur Stace writes the word 'Eternity’ in chalk on Sydney’s streets. Director of photography, Dion Beebe, uses black-and-white film to capture the mood and time of Sydney in the 1930s.

Westbrook Farm Home

from the sponsored film Eventide and Westbrook Farm Home: Brisbane City Mission (G)

The boys at Westbrook Farm Home for Boys in Queensland’s southeast sleep in open wards. The dormitories are connected to a main dining room where they gather for meals. The superintendent and his wife …

Nail biting, crime fighting ACTION!

from the television program The Fairytale Police Department – Black Day for Snow White (G)

This is the series theme song from the opening of the episode. It establishes the setting, characters and backstory of the crime wave in Fairytale land which necessitated the arrival of the two outside world …

What’s so important about an apple?

from the television program The Fairytale Police Department – Black Day for Snow White (G)

The Evil Queen reports a crime. Someone has stolen the poisoned apple she gave to Snow White and she wants it found. Detective Johnny Legend wants to throw her in the ‘slammer’ but the Chief …

Backyard play

from the home movie Farey: Opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge (PG)

This simple home movie clip taken by Leslie Francis Farey from 1932 shows us children candidly playing in a suburban backyard in Melbourne. Three children play with a pram, doll and tin drum. The youngest …

‘Why do you play footy for?’

from the feature film Footy Legends (G)

Luc (Anh Do) and his sister Anne (Lisa Saggers) discuss football as they wait for the team’s first practice to start. Anne holds her pet tortoise, Britney, a gift from her brother. Luc gives …


from the documentary Frontline (M)

Neil Davis talks about working with the South Vietnamese army. He recalls that they were involved in fighting much more than the American forces, and suffered correspondingly higher casualties. The Americans were referred to as …

‘Too many pictures’

from the documentary Frontline (PG)

Combat cameraman Neil Davis discusses one of the most memorable images of the Vietnam War, when the national police chief shot dead a Vietnamese suspect. Davis tells the full story of how the prisoner was …

‘The average man’

from the advertisement General Motors Holden – FE Holden: The Average Man (G)

This clip explains the methods used to design the new model FE Holden. A GMH employee holds a transparent plastic life-size model to demonstrate how the 'average man’ determines the proportions of …

Range of products

from the advertisement General Motors Holden – Range of Products (G)

In a suburban street, a woman driving a Holden pulls up to do her Saturday morning shopping. Other GMH cars, including a Vauxhall, Chevrolet and Pontiac, are shown. The woman enters a …

‘Saturday kind of car’

from the advertisement General Motors Holden – Saturday Kind of Car (G)

A paperboy delivers the Saturday newspaper in a suburban street. A man in his pyjamas waves to his wife as she leaves to do the weekly grocery shopping, taking her daughter and the family dog …

‘Paradise is youth’

from the feature film Goodbye Paradise (PG)

After the coup has been foiled, Stacey (Ray Barrett) meets Cathy, the child/woman (Janet Scrivener), at a café. As her godfather, he had given her a golliwog, when she was eight. Now he buys …

A country cricket match

from the feature film Grandad Rudd (G)

Grandad Rudd (Bert Bailey) challenges his neighbour Mr Regan (Les Warton) to a family cricket match, in order to avoid having to pay Regan for some pigs. The Irish Regan accepts, stipulating his own rules …

No more favours

from the feature film Grievous Bodily Harm (PG)

Detective Sergeant Ray Birch (Bruno Lawrence) calls journalist Tom Stewart (Colin Friels) forward at the site of an armed siege. A three-time rapist called Les (Richard Carter) has a woman tied up in a warehouse …

Santa lands at Farm Cove

from the advertisement Here Comes Santa (G)

This clip from a silent, black-and-white cinema advertisement for Anthony Hordern & Sons shows Santa landing on Sydney Harbour by seaplane and being rowed ashore to Lady Macquarie’s Chair where he is welcomed by a …

Santa visits the hospital

from the advertisement Here Comes Santa (G)

This clip from a silent black-and-white cinema advertisement for Anthony Hordern & Sons shows Santa visiting the Royal Alexandra Hospital. Santa, accompanied by a young girl dressed as a fairy, arrives by horse-drawn carriage and waves …

Locals cool off at the weir

from the home movie Holmes, Mr WGA: Locals Cool Off at the Weir, Theodore (G)

Two boys run and dive into the Dawson River alongside Theodore weir as others look on, some sit on the waters edge. A car drives across the top of the weir as pedestrians cross in …

Beekeeping and making honey

from the home movie Holmes, Mr WGA: Locals Cool Off at the Weir, Theodore (G)

We see thousands of bees swarming on frames. A beekeeper uses a ‘smoker’ to blow smoke onto the bees so he can remove one of the frames and brush them off calmly. He uses a …

Stretching the sausages

from the television program Horace and Tina – Settling In (G)

Lauren (Jasmine Ellis) is very worried about what Horace (Frank Gallacher) might be up to, and when she finds him stealing the sausages out of the kitchen she knows she was right. Her behaviour is …

An alcoholic Christmas Day

from the documentary I'll Be Home For Christmas (PG)

With a tablecloth and lots of alcohol, a group of alcoholic friends celebrate Christmas Day. The men are listening to themselves talk on a radio program that was prompted by the making of this documentary …

The rat’s tale

from the documentary Jewel of the Pacific (PG)

Rat tails bring a reward of sixpence each (equivalent to about $5 today) and Lord Howe Island locals join the hunt for the pests. Two women take their three fox terriers to smoke out a …

‘S(tore) H(igh) I(n) T(ransit)’

from the feature film Kenny (M)

Kenny (Shane Jacobson) drives a tanker full of sewage to the Melbourne sewerage farm at Werribee, as he explains the origins of the word 'shit’. Back at the depot, he demonstrates some of the damage …

‘Who’s Juanita Nielsen?’

from the feature film The Killing of Angel Street (PG)

After her father’s death, his friend Tom Riley (Reg Lye) tells Jessica Simmonds (Liz Alexander) that he was murdered. In the pub, he explains the similarity to the disappearance of heiress Juanita Nielsen.

Elliott and Jessica ask for trouble

from the feature film The Killing of Angel Street (PG)

Jessica (Liz Alexander) teams up with Communist union leader Elliott (John Hargreaves) to try to stop the demolition of Angel Street. Elliott provokes a reaction from Collins (Allan Bickford), the casino operator who’s behind …

‘It’s just outside our door’

from the newsreel Kokoda Front Line! (PG)

This clip includes footage filmed by Damien Parer of Papuan stretcher bearers carrying wounded Australian troops from the 39th Battalion along the Kokoda trail through dense jungle terrain and across a river. The voice-over commentary …

The Kokoda Trail

from the home movie Kokoda Trail, Cadets from Scots College (G)

This clip shows students from Scots College on the final leg of their seven day trek through the Owen Stanley Ranges towards Kokoda in Papua New Guinea. They navigate their way across a makeshift log …

Whale species

from the documentary The Last Whale (PG)

Whale biologist, Vassili Papastavrou, explains the variety of whale species. He highlights whale intelligence and the danger of harvesting even the minke whale.

A 1950s ‘costumed crime fighter’

from the television program Legacy of the Silver Shadow – The Feral Element (G)

When they meet The Silver Shadow (Tayler Kane) for the first time, Josh (Alex Hopkins), Alex (Hannah Greenwood), Campbell (Aljin Abella), and Gretel (Sage Butler) find his being a 1950s superhero funny and old-fashioned. He …

About this superhero thing – we’re in!

from the television program Legacy of the Silver Shadow – The Feral Element (G)

When they accept the task to take on the legacy of The Silver Shadow to save the world, Josh (Alex Hopkins), Alex (Hannah Greenwood), Campbell (Aljin Abella), and Gretel (Sage Butler) also agree to live …

The lady in question

from the feature film Lonely Hearts (PG)

At the dating agency, Peter (Norman Kaye) is 'introduced’ by proxy to a prospective partner, a young woman called Patricia. He fears he’s too old but the consultant says she needs a mature man …

‘I’m going to cross the river’

from the feature film Mad Dog Morgan (PG)

Morgan (Dennis Hopper) has been shot while stealing a horse. He is rescued by an outcast Aborigine, Billy (David Gulpilil), who nurses him back to health in the mountains. They decide to seek safety across …

The Interceptor

from the feature film Mad Max (PG)

A crazed joyrider (Vincent Gil) and his girlfriend (Lulu Pinkus) lead the highway patrol on an extended chase. Their luck runs out when they come up against Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson), the best cop on …

The Toecutter exacts revenge

from the feature film Mad Max (PG)

Family friend May Swaisey (Sheila Florance) helps Max’s wife Jessie (Joanne Samuel) and child (Brendan Heath) to escape the Toecutter (Hugh Keays-Byrne) and his gang, but they soon catch up. The scene uses iconic …

What you need to know

from the advertisement Metric Motoring (PG)

This is one of the two television advertisements produced to facilitate the change to metric on Australian roads in July 1974.

Do you know any ‘real Aborigines’?

from the short film Mimi (PG)

Thornton not only pokes fun at the ignorance of conservative white purchasers of Indigenous art, but also exploits the paradigm of 'authentic Aboriginality’. The same ignorance Catherine (Sophie Lee) displays in relation to the culture …

An offer they can’t refuse

from the feature film Money Movers (M)

Henderson (Charles 'Bud’ Tingwell) offers Eric Jackson (Terence Donovan) a proposition – give him two thirds of the $20 million he’s planning to steal from Darcys counting house, or lose his toes, one by one …

Another death in the family

from the television program Mother and Son – The Funeral (PG)

The family have returned to Maggie’s house for the wake after her brother’s funeral. Uncle Tom (Peter Gwynne) has a heart attack and dies on their sofa in the lounge room just as …

Goodbye Somoza

from the documentary Nicaragua: No Pasaran (PG)

Set to a jaunty song about having fun in Nicaragua, Bradbury uses stills and black and white archival footage to describe Somoza’s rise to power, backed by the US who provided military training and …

Washing feet

from the short film Night Cries: A Rural Tragedy (PG)

A pair of frail, gnarled feet. The Aboriginal daughter (Marcia Langton) on her hands and knees, gently washes her white mother’s arthritic feet. The Aboriginal woman begins to remember another time, when as a …

The Adams family

from the documentary Northern Safari (G)

Keith F Adams, his wife Audrey, his sister Margaret and their dog Tiger prepare for the long journey north to the Northern Territory. The equipment and provisions are laid out on the lawn of the …

‘The fate of a whole universe …’

from the television program Ocean Girl – Series 2, Episode 3 (G)

Neri (Marzena Godecki) is stunned when a hologram of her long-dead father (Robert Cooper) appears. He explains some of her history and how their mission was to watch over human colonisation of the sea. He …

The Overland Whippet motor car

from the advertisement Overland Whippet Motor Car: Advertisement (G)

A cut-out picture of the Overland Whippet is accompanied by a caption describing it as ‘America’s first high-speed European-type light car’. The Whippet car lines up with a whippet dog to demonstrate its speed …

The role of the public servant

from the television program Profiles of Power, HC Coombs (G)

Dr HC Coombs, the great Australian public servant and advisor to six Australian prime ministers, talks about whether it’s possible to be an entirely neutral public servant.

Then came happiness

from the advertisement Rinso Soap Powder: Then Came Happiness (G)

Taking a narrative form, this advertisement from 1931 begins with Helen hanging out the clothes. Her daughter, Joan, brings her the mail and she opens an invitation to a bridge night which happens to be …

From fleece to yarn

from the sponsored film Sheep to Shop: Hosiery and Knitted Goods (PG)

Wool is graded by experienced sorters and then passes through scouring machines that wash and clean the wool. It is then steam heated and teased and passes through several rollers and a carding apparatus that …

Billy Hughes saves a life

from the feature film Smithy (G)

Just after the First World War, Charles Kingsford Smith (Ron Randell) secures the backing of the Blackburn Aviation Co for his entry to the inaugural England to Australia Air Race, but he is dismayed when …

‘They can see Australia!’

from the feature film Smithy (G)

Kingsford Smith and co-pilot Charles Ulm (John Tate) are nearing the Australian coastline, after a history-making flight across the Pacific from San Francisco. A violent storm has engulfed their plane, the converted Fokker now known …

‘The front office doesn’t believe in promises’

from the feature film Stir (PG)

After the transfer of prisoners in the middle of the night, Mr Norton (Max Phipps) comes to apologise to Jackson (Bryan Brown) for the breaking of the deal. Norton talks about the fear he felt …

Sherry, olives and cocker spaniels

from the newsreel Tatler Social Newsreel: Social Party in South Yarra (G)

This clip shows a sherry party held by Melbourne socialite Jenny Faulkner, husband of Lou Connolly, at her home in South Yarra. The guests include a young shipping magnate, a German wool buyer, the wife …

The youth conference

from the documentary Temple of Dreams (G)

Fadi introduces the workshop session of the youth conference. The attendees and facilitators break into discussion groups and talk about a range of issues.

An organised destruction

from the sponsored film Timber (G)

The Creswick Forestry School ensures that scientific, theoretical and practical knowledge and experience inform forest policy, ensuring that reforestation, allocation of state forests, and protection against bushfires combat the ‘organised destruction’ of the industry.

‘Mothers don’t give up their babies easily’

from the television program Touch the Sun – Princess Kate (G)

Kate visits a volunteer organisation to get help to locate her birth parents. Barry (Nick Enright) explains why there is so much secrecy around the details of adoption.

Irrigation construction and equipment

from the documentary A Trip Along the River Murray (G)

This clip shows an orange-peel scoop; ‘flying fox’ machinery; Lake Victoria; a channel bridge and inlet regulator; and the construction of channels and levees.

We have to live with it

from the documentary We Have To Live With It (G)

Balmain resident of 48 years Mrs Moran addresses a local crowd gathered in the streets of Balmain about the dangers of shipping containers being trucked through the main streets of their suburb. As she is …

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