Strong Is the Seed

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Strong is the Seed
Directed by Arthur Greville Collins
Produced by Arthur Greville Collins
Written by Ru Pullen
Based on radio play The Golden Legacy by Helen Bousfield
Starring Guy Doleman
Music by Henry Krips
Cinematography Ross Wood
Edited by William Shepherd
Production
company
Collins Productions
Distributed by Monarch (England)
Ray Films (Australia 1952 release)
Release date
4 March 1949[1]
Running time
80 mins (Aust)
58 mins (England)
Country Australia
Language English
Budget ₤20,000[2][3]

Strong is the Seed is a 1949 Australian drama film, about the life of William Farrer. The film is also known as The Farrer Story.

Synopsis[edit]

English scientist William Farrer, on health trip to Australia, advises his friends (Ossie Wenban, Queenie Ashton) to invest money in wheat farming. In a hotel in Queanbeyan, Farrer hears that rust is playing havoc with farmers' crops, and his friends, who were ruined, have both just committed suicide. Searching for a cure for rust, Farrer meets Nina De Salis, daughter of a politician. They fall in love and get married, though her father strongly disapproves.

Nina and Farrer cross strains of strong wheat at an experimental farm. Farrer is encouraged by government scientist Dr. Guthrie. However farmers plot to burn his farm and millers will not grind new strains of wheat from Farrer for flour. Farrer keeps at his work and inherits money from relatives in England. He is finally recognised for his achievements, hands over his work to his young assistant (Eric Wright), and soon afterwards he collapses and dies in his office.[4]

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Helen Bousfield wrote a radio play about the life of William Farrer, The Golden Legacy.[5] In 1947 a prospectus was issued for the Arthur Collins Film Corporation, seeking to raise finance to make a movie of this play. The Company also announced intentions to make three more films a year.[6]

The movie was shot in and around Bathurst and Minto and in a studio at the Sydney Show ground from November 1947, with shooting taking six weeks.[7] Henry Krips composed the music.[8]

Reception[edit]

The movie was intended to be released in July 1948 at the same time as a stamp commemorating Farrer.[9] However although post-production had been completed by June,[10][11] reactions at previews indicated the movie was not up to standard for commercial release – director Harry Watt, then in Australia making Eureka Stockade (1949), saw it and called the film "the all-time low in horrible amateurism".[12]

Several scenes were deleted, new ones shot, and a new soundtrack and music score added.[2] The film still failed to find distribution and the production company released the movie themselves by hiring a theatre in Adelaide in March 1949.[13] Box office receipts and reviews were poor,[14] although it did achieve release in the UK in a much shortened version.

The movie was re-released in Australia in 1952, greatly shortened, as The Farrer Story.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Advertising". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 28 February 1949. p. 6. Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 207. ISBN 0-19-550784-3
  3. ^ "More Australian Films Due". The Mail. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 24 January 1948. p. 3 Supplement: SUNDAY MAGAZINE. Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "STRONG IS THE SEED". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 8 May 1948. p. 26. Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "Interesting People". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 22 November 1947. p. 10. Retrieved 22 March 2012. 
  6. ^ "Advertising". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 11 November 1947. p. 16. Retrieved 22 March 2012. 
  7. ^ "AUSTRALIAN PRODUCTION GETS CRACKING". The Mail. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 28 February 1948. p. 2 Supplement: SUNDAY MAGAZINE. Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  8. ^ "ELEVEN SECONDS OF LOVE MUSIC". Sunday Times. Perth: National Library of Australia. 19 September 1948. p. 3 Supplement: Sunday Times MAGAZINE. Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  9. ^ "Stamps will honour notable men". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 12 March 1948. p. 5. Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  10. ^ "RELEASE OF NEW AUSTRALIAN FILM". The Mirror. Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 17 July 1948. p. 15. Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  11. ^ "NEW FILMS REVIEWED". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 26 June 1948. p. 5. Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  12. ^ Philip Kemp, 'On the Slide: Harry Watt and Ealing's Australian Adventure', Second Take: Australian Filmmakers Talk, Ed Geoff Burton and Raffaele Caputo, Allen & Unwin 1999 p 145-164
  13. ^ "FILM OF WHEAT PIONEER'S LIFE". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 22 February 1949. p. 3. Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  14. ^ "Aust. film is sincere production". The Mail. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 5 March 1949. p. 34. Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  15. ^ "FILM INDUSTRY'S FUTURE". The Cairns Post. Qld.: National Library of Australia. 30 March 1953. p. 4. Retrieved 20 March 2012. 

External links[edit]