Australian Screen

Australia’s audiovisual heritage online

On Our Selection (1932)

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clip 'I'll break your spirit, Rudd' education content clip 2

This clip chosen to be G

Clip description

Old Carey (Len Budrick) calls in a long-standing debt from Rudd, confiscating his livestock in an attempt to force him to sell a parcel of land. Dad refuses and declares he will never give him the land. As rain clouds burst over the farm, Dad (Bert Bailey) vows to start again.

Curator’s notes

The source of the film in the 1912 play is clearly visible here. Bert Bailey had made a great success of the play for over 20 years and he was the film’s producer, so it would have been difficult to suppress those origins, especially for a director making his first feature with an established star. Bert Bailey’s stirring speech gives us a sense of what made the play successful with audiences – it’s a powerful statement of the pioneering farmer ethos, the indomitability of a man with his back against the wall. The antagonism between Old Carey, who’s better dressed and wealthy (therefore likely a squatter) and Dad Rudd, who has had to struggle for every penny, is a traditional one that would have been more familiar to a 1932 audience than it is today.

'Selectors’ obtained small blocks of land and had to make them pay in order to gain their deeds of title. Squatters were originally people who occupied large tracts of Crown land, without a lease. The practice became so widespread that the NSW government eventually granted leases to many of them, after they had made a fortune from the land.

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