Australia Calls (1913 film)

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Australia Calls
Directed by Raymond Longford
Produced by Charles Cozens Spencer
Written by J. Barr
C.A. Jeffries
Starring Lottie Lyell
Cinematography Arthur Higgins
Tasman Higgins
Ernest Higgins
Edited by Ernest Higgins
Production
company
Spencer's Pictures
Release date
19 July 1913[1]
Running time
4,000 feet
Country Australia
Language Silent film
English intertitles

Australia Calls is a 1913 Australian silent film directed by Raymond Longford about the fictitious invasion of Australia by an unnamed Asian country.

The movie is not to be confused with Longford's 1923 picture Australia Calls and is considered a lost film.

Longford later claimed the film was the first Australian movie to have mass extras (from Sydney's Chinatown) and feature model photography, as well as being the first film in the world to show wireless.[1] Film historians have said "the scale and blatant progpaganda of [the film]... made it the least typical of Longford's thirty narrative films".[2]

Synopsis[edit]

The film begins with a prologue, 'The Warning', showing a Sydney horse race, then a football match in front of thousands of spectators. Living on an outback station, Beatrice Evans (Lottie Lyell) rejects the advances of a suitor. An unnamed Asian country lands 20,000 troops (called "Mongolians") on the New South Wales coast, and Australia issues a call to arms, mobilising its forces. The invading army attacks Sydney, setting buildings on fire and taking over the Min, Treasury Building and wireless telegraph station. The rejected suitor turns traitor and Beatrice is captured by the enemy. However she is rescued by plane with the help of aviator William E. Hart and the Australians are victorious.[3]

A contemporary review said "the synopsis contains scenes of Australians at play, at the races, at football, the call to arms, the burning of Sydney, the enemy in possession, Australian mobilising, the capture of the wireless station, treachery, in the hands of the enemy, Australian bushmen rallying, tapping the overhead telegraph wires, the charge of the lancers, and ride for life, William E. Hart (Australia's aviator) to the rescue."[4]

Cast[edit]

  • Lottie Lyell as Beatrice Evans
  • Frank Phillips as Evans
  • Alfred O'Shea
  • George Wilkins
  • William E. Hart as aviator
  • Andrew Warr as Asian commander

Production[edit]

The movie was written by two journalists from the magazine The Bulletin and sought to exploit Australia's fear of the Yellow Peril. Filming was done with the assistance of the Australian Defence Department and took over a year to complete, including model work to convey the burning of Sydney.[5][6]

The cast includes early Australian aviator William Edward Hart, who made the first cross-country flight in New South Wales, and later tenor Alfred O'Shea. Ernest Higgins shot some aerial photography for the film on a flight with Hart. Scenes involving Hart were shot at Richmond.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Raymond Longford", Cinema Papers, January 1974 p51
  2. ^ Graham Shirley and Brian Adams, Australian Cinema: The First Eighty Years, Currency Press 1989 p 32
  3. ^ "AMUSEMENTS." The Mercury (Hobart) 26 Feb 1914: 3
  4. ^ "PRINCESS THEATRE." Examiner (Launceston) 17 Feb 1914: 6
  5. ^ Graham Shirley and Brian Adams, Australian Cinema: the First Eighty Years, Currency Press, 1989 p 32
  6. ^ "It All Began With a Feature Movie On The Kelly Gang.". The News. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 16 November 1946. p. 2. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  7. ^ William Ewart Hart at Australian Dictionary of Biography

External links[edit]