Films to foster our tradition: Appeal by Charles Chauvel [11 October 1945]

[Editor: A film producer promotes the idea of using films to foster Australian culture, as a way of fighting cultural Americanisation.]

Films to foster our tradition

Appeal by Charles Chauvel

Mr. Charles Chauvel, leading Australian film producer, told members of the Canberra Film Centre at Civic Theatre on Sunday night, that films could play a substantial part in fostering a healthy Australian tradition in art, music and literature.

“In the old days,” he said, “we used to sing songs and recite verses with a true Australian flavour. We all knew the old ditties like ‘The Wild Colonial Boy,’ ‘Botany Bay’ and the ‘Old Bark Hut.’ Now we hear nothing but cowboy songs and we even see our girls in country towns dressing in sombreros and chaps and apeing the garb of other nations. We have allowed the tradition of virile Australianism to deteriorate but the film can be used as a powerful vehicle for its revival, in a new and striking form.”

Mr. Chauvel screened several of his lesser known films including “Power to Win,” describing the need for more coal production in the dark days of the war, “Soldiers Without Uniform,” illustrating the importance of industrial workers in a war economy, and an excerpt from his “melodrama of the Australian jungle,” entitled “Uncivilised.”

Australia had all the necessary raw materials for the development of a distinctive film art including magnificent scenery. In one of these raw materials at least he found no deficiency as his appeal for an ample supply of snakes to star in an aborigine camp scene met with immediate success. For the information of members of the audience who might desire to explore the same market, Mr. Chauvel explained that snakes were not sold at so much per serpent but at a standard rate per foot.

The Canberra Times (Canberra , ACT), Thursday 11 October 1945, page 2

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