A Co-respondent's Course

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A Co-respondent's Course
Directed by E.A. Dietrich-Derrick
Produced by F.W. Thring
Written by Montague Grover
Starring Donalda Warne
John D'Arcy
Cinematography Arthur Higgins
Release date
6 November 1931[1]
Country Australia
Language English

A Co-respondent's Course is a short 1931 Australian film. The screenplay was written by Montague Grover (1870-1943), an experienced journalist.[2] The film was the first film made by Efftee Studios, a production company owned by F.W. Thring, the first Australian narrative film to be completed with an optical soundtrack and part of the first all-Australian full-length unit programme to be screened in Australia.[1][3][4]


The film is a matrimonial comedy, that featured the dramatic reunion of lovers on London Bridge.[5]

Solicitor James Lord is in love with Nellie. She tells him she is going away for a week with her friend May to Portsea where there are lots of nice boys. Nellie gets the dates wrong and goes a day early. When James finds out he worries she is cheating on him. His client Rouse comes in and says he is convinced his wife is cheating on him a man called Dane. They hire three private eyes from Sleath's Detective Agency, Hall, Ratchet and Moon, to keep an eye on women.

The bungling of these private investigators provides the film's slight humor. In the end, both men realize their wives are faithful and all's well that ends well.


  • Donalda Warne as Nellie O'Neill
  • John D'Arcy as James Lord
  • Patricia Minchin as May
  • Ed Warrington as Hall
  • Oliver Peacock as Ratchet
  • George Moon as Moloney


The film was directed by a young European, E.A. Dietrich-Derrick and was written by Monty Grover, editor of Melbourne tabloid The Sun. It was the first film produced by Efftee and was shot between April and June 1931.[1]


Diggers (1931) was originally meant to be released on a double bill with The Haunted Barn. However that movie encountered censorship problems and A Co-respondent's Course, although shot later, was selected to support Diggers instead.[6] It encountered trouble from the Victorian censor.[7]

Peter Fitzpatrick, biographer of F.W. Thring, later wrote that the film was "heavy-going":

The lack of action in many of its dialogue scenes is exacerbated by the static single-take camera work, and by an excessive concern with circumstantial realism that produces 'book-ends' of extended hellos and goodbyes in many scenes, and excruciatingly prolonged telephone calls in which phone numbers are always carefully enunciated and there are long pauses while the caller listens patiently to someone whom we cannot see or hear. And a lot of the conversation is stagey and stilted. Still... the film... [has] at least a period charm.[8]

Fitzpatrick though the movie was partly redeemed by making fun of the absurdity of its male characters and use of external locations.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Ken Berryman, "A Co-respondent's Course", Cinema Papers, August 1995 p19-21
  2. ^ Grover, Montague & Cannon, Michael (1880). Papers of Montague Grover, 1880-1931.
  3. ^ A Co-respondent's Course at National Film and Sound Archive
  4. ^ "AUSTRALIAN TALKIES". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 22 May 1931. p. 3. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  5. ^ Obituary: Ramsay, Helen Patricia (1910–2002)
  6. ^ "All Australian". The Mirror. Perth: National Library of Australia. 7 November 1931. p. 5. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  7. ^ "AUSTRALIAN FILMS". The Sunday Times. Perth: National Library of Australia. 20 December 1931. p. 8. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  8. ^ Fitzpatrick p 146
  9. ^ Fitzpatrick p 148
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter, The Two Frank Thrings, Monash University, 2012

External links[edit]