Australian Screen

Australia’s audiovisual heritage online

FW Thring Introduces the Stars (1931)

play
Email a link to this page
To:
CC:
Subject:
Body:
clip
  • 1
Frank Thring and his stars education content clip 1

This clip chosen to be G

Clip description

Dressed in a dinner suit, Frank Thring – film director and head of Efftee Film Studios – addresses the audience in a speech to camera which introduces the studio’s first all-Australian talking picture program. Thring outlines his hopes for the local industry and the potential for Australians to produce high quality talking pictures comparable to that of overseas productions. At the conclusion of his speech, Thring introduces five Efftee actors who appear in character on stage, including actresses Ray Fisher and Donalda Warne and Diggers (1931) co-stars Pat Hanna, George Moon and Cecil Scott.

Curator’s notes

This clip highlights Frank Thring’s enthusiasm for the audiovisual medium. He could have delivered his speech in person prior to the screening of the first Efftee film program, but instead decided to show off the medium by prerecording it. The static shot, with Thring framed in medium close-up onstage against a simple curtain backdrop, emphasises the theatrical and vaudeville roots from which silent cinema programs grew. Many of Thring’s early productions (both feature films and variety shows) resembled vaudeville and stage plays in the way they were filmed and designed. The Efftee actors here appear on stage in character (the Diggers stars are also in costume) and engage directly with the off-screen audience.

This introduction was filmed at Thring’s Efftee Studios in His Majesty’s Theatre, located on Exhibition Street in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD.

Teacher’s notes

provided by The Le@rning FederationEducation Services Australia

This black-and-white clip shows Frank Thring senior, film director and studio head, giving a speech on stage in Melbourne in November 1931. He introduces his all-Australian talking picture program and the stars who feature in the films, expressing his pride in his achievement and his hopes for the Australian film industry. In voice-over Thring introduces each star and the roles they will play in upcoming films. As each star is introduced the picture fades to black, the star appears in a static pose and in character before turning towards the camera and smiling.

Educational value points

  • This clip depicts a significant moment in the history of Australian film – the introduction of locally made motion pictures with sound, or ‘talkies’. In January 1931, $50,000 worth of US sound equipment was installed in Frank Thring’s Efftee Studios and was used for the production of Diggers. Eftee studios produced the first complete program of Australian talkies with the films Isle of Intrigue and Spur of the Moment in August 1931.
  • The clip features Frank Thring senior (1882–1936) and indicates the vision and energy that made him one of Australia’s most important entrepreneurs of the cinema and a leading advocate for the Australian film industry. The managing director of Hoyts Theatres, he sold his holdings in 1930 to make Australian talking pictures. His company Efftee Studios produced features, shorts, documentaries and newsreels. He produced and directed most of its films.
  • Thring’s hopes and ambitions for the future of Australian talking pictures – clearly spelled out in this clip – were not immediately realised. Australia had once been the most prolific producer of feature films in the world (between 1906 and 1911), but during the 1930s the Great Depression, the high production costs of talkies, lack of government support and a distribution monopoly by US companies brought the Australian industry close to collapse.
  • Thring’s skill as a publicist can be seen in the way he advertises his films by promoting their stars and appealing to the national sentiment of Australian audiences. He uses the Hollywood publicity method of manufacturing ‘stars’ but also emphasises that the actors are Australian. Thring’s success as a salesman was demonstrated when he sold Efftee Studios’s entire output up to that time on a trip to England in 1932.
  • The sense of occasion associated with the cinema in the 1930s is conveyed by the formality of Thring’s dress and his style of address, by the stage setting and the artificiality of the poses adopted by the stars. The occasion for Thring was the launch of Efftee Studios’s first Australian talking pictures, but in the 1930s people dressed up to see movies, which were shown in elaborately decorated picture ‘palaces’. Going to the cinema was regarded as an event.
  • Diggers, referred to in the clip, was the first Efftee Studios talking picture and was one of Australia’s first feature-length ‘talkies’. Screenwriter Pat Hanna (1888–1973), featured in the clip, based the screenplay on his successful touring revue show. Initially the film did not have large audiences, but following its success in country towns it enjoyed success the next year in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and other capitals.

Thanks to the generosity of the rights holders, we are able to offer Frank Thring and his stars from the advertisement FW Thring Introduces the Stars as a high quality video download.

To play the downloadable video, you need QuickTime 7.0, VLC, or similar.

You must read and agree to the following terms and conditions before downloading the clip:

australianscreen is produced by the National Film and Sound Archive. By using the website you agree to comply with the terms and conditions described elsewhere on this site. The NFSA may amend the 'Conditions of Use’ from time to time without notice.

All materials on the site, including but not limited to text, video clips, audio clips, designs, logos, illustrations and still images, are protected by the Copyright Laws of Australia and international conventions.

When you access australianscreen you agree that:

  • You may retrieve materials for information only.
  • You may download materials for your personal use or for non-commercial educational purposes, but you must not publish them elsewhere or redistribute clips in any way.
  • You may embed the clip for non-commercial educational purposes including for use on a school intranet site or a school resource catalogue.
  • The National Film and Sound Archive’s permission must be sought to amend any information in the materials, unless otherwise stated in notices throughout the Site.

All other rights reserved.

ANY UNAUTHORISED USE OF MATERIAL ON THIS SITE MAY RESULT IN CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LIABILITY.

This clip is available in the following configurations:

File nameSizeQualitySuitability
fwthring1_pr.mp4 Large: 22.9MB High Optimised for full-screen display on a fast computer.
fwthring1_bb.mp4 Medium: 10.8MB Medium Can be displayed full screen. Also suitable for video iPods.

Right-click on the links above to download video files to your computer.

Thanks to the generosity of the rights holders, we are able to offer this clip in an embeddable format for personal or non-commercial educational use in full form on your own website or your own blog.

You must read and agree to the following terms and conditions before embedding the clip:

australianscreen is produced by the National Film and Sound Archive. By using the website you agree to comply with the terms and conditions described elsewhere on this site. The NFSA may amend the 'Conditions of Use’ from time to time without notice.

All materials on the site, including but not limited to text, video clips, audio clips, designs, logos, illustrations and still images, are protected by the Copyright Laws of Australia and international conventions.

When you access australianscreen you agree that:

  • You may retrieve materials for information only.
  • You may download materials for your personal use or for non-commercial educational purposes, but you must not publish them elsewhere or redistribute clips in any way.
  • You may embed the clip for non-commercial educational purposes including for use on a school intranet site or a school resource catalogue.
  • The National Film and Sound Archive’s permission must be sought to amend any information in the materials, unless otherwise stated in notices throughout the Site.

All other rights reserved.

ANY UNAUTHORISED USE OF MATERIAL ON THIS SITE MAY RESULT IN CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LIABILITY.

Copy and paste the following code into your own web page to embed this clip: