Australian
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Dancing Orpheus (1962)

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Unique to Australia

Original classification rating: G. This clip chosen to be G

Clip description

The male lyrebird is singer, choreographer and star performer as he turns on the charm to attract a rather plain female to be his mate.

Curator’s notes

The lyrebird is so secretive it took 60 days for the film team to find the lyrebird’s nest. Once found, the team captured the most amazing footage of the birds in action, foraging for food, mating and rearing their young. This must be one of the ABC’s earliest nature films but sadly shot in black-and-white. In contrast, the soundtrack, entirely made up of the sounds of a lyrebird, is at times like the sound effects of a Goon Show episode. It’s amazing that all this emanates from such a tiny bird.

John West was one of the ABC’s best-loved announcers but his narration reading could do nothing with this wooden script. The lyrebird is more than capable of telling its own tale.

The episode won an AFI Gold Award in 1963 in the Nature category and a Diploma of Merit in the Melbourne Film Festival of 1963, reflecting that the production values were of the highest standard for its time.

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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. All rights are reserved.

When you access australianscreen you agree that:

  • You may retrieve materials for information only.
  • Where permitted, you may embed materials for your personal or non-commercial educational use only.
  • The National Film and Sound Archive’s permission must be sought to amend any information in the materials, unless otherwise stated in notices throughout the Site.

ANY UNAUTHORISED USE OF MATERIAL ON THIS SITE MAY RESULT IN CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LIABILITY.

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