Reprint: Australian Films

Mr. C. J. Dennis's Views.

Mr. C. J. Dennis, author of "The Sentimental Bloke," spoke yesterday about the prospects of film production being a financial success in Australia. He had just arrived from Melbourne, where the screen version of "The Sentimental Bloke" has been enjoying a singularly successful season.

The basic fact about production in Australia, he said, was that, if enough money had been spent on a film to make it a real success, the Australian market would not be big enough to recoup expenses. The film must be shown abroad. And to have an appeal in other countries it must bring to the screen something that was typically Australian, and therefore new to those other countries. It would be hopeless, for instance, for Australian producers to try and compete with Elstree by dealing with drawing-room comedy. They should look about them and select some characteristic feature of Australian life; then build their stories on that, instead of starting with a story and then trying to adorn it with local colour. The country teemed with subjects. He himself was busy on a scenario based on the timber industry, whose activities he had observed personally in Victoria. The Australian timber-getter was a person very different from the American lumberman, who had figured from time to time on the screen. The great point was that scenarios must be written as a result of personal observation. This was borne in upon him recently when, as literary adviser to the Efftee Film Company, he had examined a thousand scenarios that had been submitted by members of the public. Among the thousand less than 10 deserved a moment's consideration. This did not mean that the Australian writer, as a class, was of low mentality. To expect any standard in the writing of scenarios before there was a practical outlet for this sort of work would be unreasonable. Just now, tried and proved successes like "The Sentimental Bloke" and "On Our Selection" were being done for the screen. He hoped that very soon scenarios written specially for screen purposes would come into favour with producers.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 June 1932

[Thanks to the National Library of Australia's newspaper digitisation project for this piece.]

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on February 3, 2010 8:21 AM.

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