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jiving us that we were voodoo [userpic]
Obituary: Bill Carty 1908-2006
by jiving us that we were voodoo (elisheba_hotdog)
at May 25th, 2006 (11:14 am)
calm

current mood: calm
current song: Without You - Silverchair

Bill Carty was one of Australia's first cinematographers.  He worked as a cameraman on The Term Of His Natural Life, spent many years with Cinesound and even spent time with Warners Bros in the US where he worked on prints of The Jazz Singer.  His real love and his most significant contribution to Australian cinema were documentaries and newsreels.  He started hs career working on newsreels and worked as a combat cameraman for Australia and America during WWII.

Anyway, it says it all in his obituary printed in The Sydney Morning Herald today.

jiving us that we were voodoo [userpic]
Essential Films: The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906)
by jiving us that we were voodoo (elisheba_hotdog)
at April 10th, 2006 (05:33 pm)

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To kick off this series of essential Australian films made before 1980, it's best to start at the very beginning. The Story of the Kelly Gang was not just the first feature film made in Australia, but was the first feature film made in the world. It marked a brief boom for Australian film that regrettably ended during the First World War. It was, by international standards, a thriving and innovative period, but after 1914 American films became an increasingly cheaper alternative. By 1923, 94% of the films exhibited in Australia were imported from Hollywood.

Sadly, most of the film has gone missing or been destroyed over the years, and only about 9 minutes of footage survive. Shot in Victoria, where Ned Kelly and his gang lived, and using Kelly's real armour suit, the producers aimed for complete authenticity (they had to apologise for dressing the police officers in uniforms, which apparently wasn't done in the bush at the time, but they had no other way of identifying who was a cop and who wasn't in the film). It was directed by Charles Tait and starred Geoffery Cass as Ned and Elizabeth Tait as Kate Kelly. Charles' brothers were the producers of the film and were also theatrical entrepeneurs. The majority of the film was shot on their family estate just outside Heidelberg.

According to Screen Sound, there were no intertitles at the time. Instead,a lecturer gave commentray and made behind-the-scenes sound effects. There was apparently also a program given to the audience including the synopsis of the movie - and, how wonderful, ScreenSound has put the whole thing up on the internet. Here's the second page, after the cover:

The trick now is to decipher the tiny writing.Collapse )

The film has been criticised for glorifying criminals, and was banned in a couple of Australian towns, most notably in Adelaide. It's not surprising that the film does glorify Ned and heap criticism on the police - most depictions of the story have had a similar bent. Kelly has been, and remains, an Australian icon throughout the decades, so much so that a new film has been made about him in nearly each decade since, the two latest being Ned and Ned Kelly starring Heath Ledger, both released in 2003.

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Elizabeth Tait as Kate Kelly

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Geoffery Cass as Ned Kelly is arrested by the police.

More pictures at Screen Sound. Go search the collection to find more stills and copies of the original synopsis booklet.

jiving us that we were voodoo [userpic]
Spotlight: Ann Richards
by jiving us that we were voodoo (elisheba_hotdog)
at April 9th, 2006 (05:15 pm)

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After seeing Ann Richards in Sorry, Wrong Number (1948) last night (complete with the de rigeur faux-British accent), and being surprised that she was Australian, I decided to look more into her filmography. I was even more surprised to find so much on her in the National Screen and Sound Archives. The above picture is from her debut 1936's It Isn't Done, directed by the legendary Ken Hall. She would go on to star in Hall's Lovers and Luggers(1937) and Dad and Dave Go To Town (1938). She was Australia's number one female star in the late 1930s when Australia operated a smaller but similar studio system to that in the US. She ended up travelling to the US during the war where she attempted to make it in Hollywood. She started out at MGM and appeared notably in The Woman In The House (1942), Random Harvest (1942) opposite Greer Garson and Ronald Colman, Dr Gillespie's New Assistant (1942), and Three Hearts For Julia (1943) with Ann Sothern and Melvyn Douglas.

Despite the build-up, Ann was mainly relegated to supporting roles: she was intended for the lead in Love Letters (1947), but the part was eventually given to Jennifer Jones and Ann was relegated to the girlfriend role. She would support Jones again in Love From A Stranger in 1947. Similarly, in the brilliant Sorry, Wrong Number, she plays Burt Lancaster's girlfriend until he dumps her for Barbara Stanwyck.

After 1948 Ann's roles were few. She married Edmund Angelo in 1949 and appeared in his 1952 film, Breakdown. The couple had three children, and settled in the US. Ann later took to poetry, relasing volumes in 1971 and 1991. She also has been a fixture on the university lecture circuit throughout the US.

The picture below is from 1940's Ants In His Pants, a rare Australian musical -which means, naturally, I'm dying to see it ;) Ann's on the left, and I belive that's Jean Hatton on the right, with Guy Hastings and American Will Mahoney in the middle looking ruffled.

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I guess Ann's the perfect example of a famous Australian star who's barely remembered today. Unlike many Aussie actors of the time, she did do fairly well in the US, which grants her a degree of international fame today that she may not have had if she'd stayed in Australia.

jiving us that we were voodoo [userpic]
Introduction
by jiving us that we were voodoo (elisheba_hotdog)
at April 9th, 2006 (04:34 pm)

A little information about what this journal is for.

Basically, I love classic film. And I'm just starting to really get into classic Australian films and stars. So this will be a place where I post about my latest finds, obsessions and thoughts about Australian cinema from the 1920s to the 1970s. This will include films, personalities, history and issues relating to the industry. And, of course, the stars - those who made it big, those who didn't, those who went to Hollywood, and those who came from there.

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