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City in the Sun (1946)


This documentary directed by Alasdair Loch, possibly used to promote Australia as a destination for migration, intends to reflect the ‘mood of metropolitan life’ by showing the bustle and vibrancy of the modern city of Sydney.

Curator’s notes

This documentary from the mid-1940s projects a view of ‘metropolitan life’ filled with only the most attractive aspects of modernity and progress. While intending to represent the beauties of the Australian metropolis in general, most of the familiar shots are of Sydney and the postwar city is shown in all its glory. Narrated by the director, Alasdair Loch, it shows three phases of city life dictated by time of day. The first shows the city by day where flower stalls, paper boys and grand architecture fill the streets. The second shows the city by night transformed into an exciting place of dancing, dining, music and bright lights. The third shows the city from sunrise to mid-morning when the ‘wheels of commerce’ begin to turn and the pace of life quickens.

In the closing moments of the documentary, Loch’s voice-over welcomes new members to the country and speaks about Australia becoming the ‘cultural centre of the Southern Hemisphere’. This indicates its possible use in promoting Australia to potential postwar migrants as a place where they could build the country, and give it the ‘outstanding future’ it aspires to.

Bustling music and persuasive narration combine with iconic images of the city to create a film that projects the Australian metropolis as a place of progress and modernity.