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With Gentle Majesty (1962)

  1. It's delightful and surprising to find that this documentary (for which I wrote the narration) is remembered in the archives. It was fun to make. I worked with my old friend Bill Fitzwater, who directed it. I was only 23 at the time; seems a long time ago when you're about to turn 70. I seem to remember that the film won an award of some sort at the Melbourne Film Festival that year. Was it called a silver boomerang?

    Peter Nicholls

  2. #1 from peternicholls – 10 years, 9 months ago.
  3. I continued thinking about this film last night, and it seems to me a very good example of the way documentary film--if archived--can bridge not just two centuries, but even three. Using 21st century technology in 2008 I am able to google (and subsequently download I hope)a film I worked on in 1962 (mid 20th century), in which the elderly men whom the director and I interviewed on film, men who still used working horses, were not only mostly born in the 19th century, but in some cases I think actually began working at this trade in the 19th century. When we made the film, of course, it was a dying trade, and we were very conscious of this, and wanted to memorialize the people who worked with workhorses before it was too late. That is, the film is not just about workhorses, it is importantly about the tradesmen who worked with them, and in a small way is I think a piece of genuine social history.

    Fitzwater and I occasionally worked together over several years, and were quite a close team, though Bill was tne senior member and much more experienced in filmmaking than I was. I wasn't just brought in later to write voice-over commentary; I worked closely with Bill from the initial concept onwards, long before the final shape of the documentary could be known to us. Each film we did was closely collaborative, two friends exploring a documentary subject together. I was even allowed, though this was after we made With Gentle Majesty, to do some second-unit direction, which I'm sure contravened several ABC regulations.

    Peter Nicholls

  4. #2 from peternicholls – 10 years, 9 months ago.
  5. Loved it! Thanks

  6. #3 from sarathepumpkin – 4 months, 4 weeks ago.
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