Australian Films in the Making
"Forty Thousand Horsemen" and "That Certain Something"
THE versatility of Australian film production is at present
being proved in Sydney, where one of the most ambitious outdoor dramas, "Forty Thousand Horsemen," is under pro-
duction, and the modern and sophisticated comedy, "That Certain Something," has just
(in circle.) ELSA CHAUVEL, script and continuity ex- pert, with her stop
A street scene in "Forty Thousand Horsemen." The set has been erected indoors on the studio lot. And (left) BETTY BRYANT, leading lady in "Forty Thousand Horsemen," on
one of the camels which are being used in the film.
MEGAN EDWARDS and LOU VERNON photographed between scenes, in "That Certain Something", and (above, right) BETTY BRYANT, who has the leading feminine role
in "Forty Thousand Horsemen."
MEGAN EDWARDS, CHAR LES KILBURN, THELMA GRIGG,
and HOW- ARD CRA- V E N in "That Cer- tain Some thing," which Ar- gosy Films have just
THE former film, which is directed by Mr.
Charles Chauvel for Famous Feature Films, Limited, is being made at Cinesound studios, while the comedy, which was made at Pagewood studios, was directed by Clarence Badger, the American director, for Argosy
A visit to Pagewood studios last week before the shooting was finished showed Georgie Sterling, the comedienne, spending most of her time beneath a bed with lights and cameras glaring at her. Lou Vernon bustled in and out as the American film director, and Megan Edwards was also on the set. She plays the role of a girl who suc- cessfully crashed a film career. The film within the film in which she is seen making a success is called "Daughters of Australia." Howard Craven, the juvenile lead, was not on the set, as the previous day he had entered Ingleburn Camp to join an anti-aircraft unit in the A.I.F.
Completed in Seven Weeks
ARGOSY FILMS are justifiably proud of the
fact that the film was made in seven weeks. In other and more miraculous words, according to schedule, news which should make the most punctilious American director sigh with envy.
Leslie Victor and Marshall Crosby, well known on the Australian stage, have leading roles in the film, while Ronald Morse, who is a leading radio actor, Thelma Grigg, Charles Kilburn, and John Byrne are also in the cast.
At Cinesound studios one was plunged into a deep Turkish atmosphere, the set depicting the Turkish and German headquarters in a mosque at Gaza. Ron Whelan, the assistant director, looked a fearsome object in his military uniform of a Turkish military officer, complete with a luxurious beard, while Kenneth Brampton, as a dapper German colonel, went over his part in a dark corner.
Expert with a Stop-watch
DESIDE the set sat Mrs. Chauvel, complete
with stop-watch. She is acting as continuity find script expert on the film, and is thrilled with
the story of the film, which deals with the dramatic exploits in Palestine of the Australian Light Horse during the last war. Little did Mr. and Mrs. Chauvel know when they planned the film two years ago that their film should be so grimly
"We have really lived with the picture for two years," she said. "We have been following the Light Horse camps round the country, getting scenes for the picture, and in Victoria we photo- graphed 2,000 Light Horsemen in a marvellous charge. Eecently we have been taking shots at the camp in Orange.
"My husband wrote the story in collaboration with E. V. Timms, from books which were brought back from the last Palestine campaign by his father, Major A. J. Chauvel. His uncle, General Sir Harry Chauvel, was then in command of the
Mrs. Chauvel was full of enthusiasm for the outdoor settings designed for the film by Mr.
George Kenyon (Mr. Eric Thompson designed the interiors). He constructed a native village on the sandhills of Cronulla, and Bare Island, in Botany Bay, which was fortified against an ex- pected Russian attack about 50 years ago, was
another outdoor location.
The island is now occupied by some of Aus- tralia's war veterans, but more modern equipment than the old muzzle-loaders, which have been there since the Russian threat, will be hauled into position for the film sequences.
Before the company moved into Bare Island, the sandhills at the Sinai Desert location on the south headland of Botany Bay were blown up with dynamite, so that Mr. Chauvel could com- pletely reproduce the famous garrison village of El Arish, which was occupied by the Crusaders, fortified by Napoleon, and later taken from the Turks by the Australian Light Horse.
This reproduction includes minarets, a mosque, wells, native market-places, and, to give the neces- sary atmosphere as required, 25 camels, 50 donkeys; and 30 goats are in nearby corrals. A staff of about 30 men are living under canvas there.
THERE are many Interesting angles in the
making of "Forty Thousand Horsemen," said Mrs. Chauvel, "but one of the most absorbing is the local manufacture of hundreds of native domestic utensils, Spandau machine-guns, rifles, helmets for Turkish and British troops, and
even fruit and vegetables for the market stalls.
I think that very few people realise what can be done in Australia until they really try.
"We had some difficulty in locating good trades- men, Eastern art experts, and authorities on Arab architecture and interior decoration-but once we got hold of them they started with a will, and now anybody can step from the suburban hurly burly of Bondi Junction into a street scene in Bethlehem or an alleyway in Cairo just by walking only a few hundred yards to the studio."
According to Mrs. Chauvel, the leading man oí the film, Grant Taylor, is "just like a big kid on the set." "Chips' Rafferty, our new discovery, is a different type of comedian," she explained. "He's a cross between Slim Summerville and James Stewart, and has a variety of droll yet natural humour. Harry Abdy, last seen in "Orphan of the Wilderness," has a dramatic role in this film, and the feminine lead is played by Betty, Bryant, a young Sydney actress."
The sound siren screamed, "All quiet," shouted the sound man, "Roll it," "Take," "Speed," "Action," were the commands, following in quick succession, and the film went on its way. The photography
will be completed in about three weeks, and it will then be some time before it is ready for release, probably in September.