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Let’s Go (c.1956)


This promotional documentary made by the Shell Film Unit advertises the Shell Company of Australia’s extensive knowledge of motoring and Australian motorists’ needs. It focuses on the qualities of the Shell Touring Service throughout the country and their nationwide network of road-related services.

Curator’s notes

Let’s Go illustrates the Shell Film Unit’s sophisticated understanding of visual grammar and the potential of the documentary form. Its beautifully framed images, clever use of music, and well-conceived story arc all combine to create a persuasive promotional documentary with high production values.

Made in the 1950s at a time when vehicle ownership was on the rise in Australia, Let’s Go is both informative and promotional. Shell clearly benefited from an increased interest in motoring and travel by road during the 1950s, but also went a long way in ensuring that motorists were served well by its Touring Service, comprehensive and up-to-date road maps and its mapping expeditions which documented the condition of Australia’s roads.

Shell maps were first produced in the 1920s and continued to be published until around the late 1970s. For many years, Shell maps were the only ones produced for motor travel in many parts of the country. The Shell Tourist Service was in operation until the early 1970s.

Shell’s complex and changing relationship with the Australian environment is dramatically shown through the company’s sophisticated use of film and video. The films sponsored and made by the Shell Company of Australia provide a record of Australia’s natural resources, the mining industry, roads and infrastructure, the motoring and sporting industries and the associated activities and interests which surround these sectors. Let’s Go was made by the Shell Film Unit – the Shell Company’s self-contained 16mm production, distribution and exhibition network that was formed in 1948.

The Shell Company of Australia has deposited a significant amount of its own film library holdings with the National Film and Sound Archive for preservation. Along with film and video material, the collection includes hundreds of associated publicity booklets, scripts, production stills, posters and film notes.