From the Tropics to the Snow

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

From the Tropics to the Snow
Directed by Jack Lee
Richard Mason
Produced by Jack S. Allan
executive producer:
Stanley Hawes
Written by John Morris
Cedric Flower
Pat Flower
Release date
Running time
28 minutes
Country Australia
Language English

From the Tropics to the Snow is a 1964 Australian short documentary film. It was one of the best known Australian films of the 1960s.[1] It was produced under the auspices of the Commonwealth Film Unit (CFU), later reincorporated as Film Australia. It was co-directed by Jack Lee and Richard (Dick) Mason, and featured Reg Livermore (in his first film role) as one of the 'narrators'.

One of the regular duties of the CFU at this time was the production of short films that were purpose-made for overseas distribution and were intended to promote Australia as an attractive destination for migrants and tourists. From the Tropics to the Snow marked a significant break with the traditional style of such features, and is noted for its subversive and satirical approach to its subject.

Rather than using the stilted, authoritative single-voice narration that was typical of such 'promotion documentaries' at the time, Mason and Lee opted for a strikingly reflexive approach, using a lively (and frequently tongue-in-cheek) multi-voice narration, which is introduced through the dramatic device of a production planning meeting between the film's Producer-in-Chief (Alexander Archdale), the director (Alastair Smart) and the screenwriter (Livermore). This allowed the film to become an ironic critique of itself, humorously examining the mechanics of "documentary" film construction, and the competing pressures and choices that faced filmmakers when creating such films. It also gently parodied Lee and Mason's own situation as "young turks" charged with turning out what were in essence "production-line" propaganda films for a hidebound government department.[2]

The film co-won the Australian Film Institute's Gold Medal for Best Film in 1965.[3]


  1. ^ From the Tropics to the Snow at A Place to Think
  2. ^ ABC - "A Place To Think: From the Tropics to the Snow"
  3. ^ "Praise for Australian film award winners". The Canberra Times. 39, (11,161). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 21 May 1965. p. 17. Retrieved 31 May 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 

External links[edit]