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The Producer at Work.
HEAT OF THE ARC LIGHTS.
Arc-lights flared. Actors mopped their brows. Starched collars wilted into flabby rags The heat was almost intolerable. Half-caste aborigines blew a tune vigorously on gum leaves. Assistants pushed the camera forward. Spectators goggled in the background. Pers- piration began to stream down one's back. The spotlight operator stood poised on a high platform looking as though he might fall at any moment on to the heads of the group
It was a scene being photographed for the Cinesound production, "The Squatter's Daughter." The director (Mr. Ken Hall) had invited a number of visitors to the studio at Bondi Junction yesterday to view the pro- ceedings, since this was the largest set of the whole picture-even (so its builders claim) the largest interior set ever used in an Aus- tralian production. It depicted a drawing room, fuinished in somewhat old-fashioned style, with a conservatory (temporarily con- verted into a ballroom) beyond.
The plot and dialogue of "The Squatter's Daughter" have been a good deal altered since this story first appeared in the early years of the century, as a stage play, and as a silent film. The dressing Is that of 1933. The incident going forward during the afternoon was that where an old blind man, the owner of a sheep station, entertained a visitor from England by means of the gum-leaf band. The camera with Mr Hall mounted on the platform beside it, focussed on the two men as they stood talk- ing, then as they walked across the room it followed in their paces. A pair of sliding doors, hitherto closed, now parted, and the members of the band were disclosed.
The sound of gum leaves being blown on in unison in large numbers does not fall euphoni- ously on the ear. It remains to be seen how these sounds will emerge on the screen. As Mr Hall remarked yesterday during a lull in the proceedings they will at least be char- acteristic. "It is only an experiment in local colour," he said, "which we hope will appeal to people overseas. If it turns out badly, we need not use it in the completed film."
Next week, the principals who are appear- ing in "The Squatter's Daughter" will pro- ceed to Cabramatta, to take part in some exterior scenes; and immediately after Easter they will go to Cassilis for the open-air scenery of a sheep station. In yesterday's scenes, including extras and principals, 70 persons took part.