Australian
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Lovers and Luggers (1937)

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clip Pearl overboard

This clip chosen to be G

Clip description

A Torres Strait Island crew member aboard the ‘Dugong’ finds a large pearl as Daubenny (Lloyd Hughes) returns from the deep in his diving suit. The crew members cheer for joy, attracting the jealous attention of Mendoza (Ronald Whelan), who’s aboard another boat, captained by Quong (Claude Turton). Mendoza demands a share of the pearl’s worth, on the basis that he sold the boat very cheaply. When Daubenny laughs at him, they fight and the pearl is lost overboard.

Curator’s notes

An interesting sequence for the skilful way it blends actuality (opening the pearl shell) with back projection, done in the studio at Bondi Junction (all of the shots with the sea in the background). Frank Hurley went up to Thursday Island with a very detailed list of shots from Ken Hall. Hall later wrote that he came back with everything he required and more. An interesting question is whether the shot of Mendoza rowing to the ‘Dugong’ is one of Hurley’s shots or one done later in Sydney. It’s certainly not one of the North Sydney pool shots, because the sea is too choppy. The fact that the actor keeps his head turned away suggests it was done by Hurley, to look like the actor who would play Mendoza.

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