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A Mountain Goes to Sea (1943)

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Shipbuilders

This clip chosen to be G

Clip description

Shipbuilders work at the Whyalla shipyards for Australia’s war effort. A woman shakes out a broom over a veranda with the ship visible to the left. Men walk through the streets to or from work. A pastor addresses the gathered workers where the finished ship awaits launch. He is filmed against the backdrop of a cloudy sky.

Curator’s notes

Although the soundtrack to this film no longer survives, this clip conveys a strong sense of patriotism and pride in hard work through its imagery. The pastor and many of the workers are filmed from a low angle, giving the impression of height and aligning their shipbuilding efforts with the 'gigantic things’ that the opening title of the film says the nation will achieve. Chauvel ennobles the workers, filming them backlit by late afternoon sunlight and in beautifully lit and carefully staged close-ups. In all his wartime documentaries for the DOI, workers on the domestic frontline are never lost in the great machinery of war but presented as vital parts. In what looks more like a sequence from a 1930s MGM feature film than a documentary, the priest delivers his service against a backdrop of picturesque clouds. For other examples of Christianity featuring in Commonwealth propaganda during the Second World War, see Kokoda Front Line! (1942) and Give Us This Day (1943).

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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:

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