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1 correction by NickyD - Show corrections

"Smithy" Premiere

Has All Trimmings

The only Hollywood touch missing from the gala world premiere of the £80,000 Australian film, "Smithy," at the State Theatre last night was a specially-erected tier of seats to accommodate the

crowds in the streets.

Everything else was there Royalty, personalities by the dozen, crimson carpets, orchids, Kleig lights, broadcasters, gossip-hounds, amplifiers, newsreels, cameramen, special police, barricades, a band playing on a raised platform in the middle of the street, and film stars smiling generously on their public.

Crowds estimated at more than 5,000 began to gather outside the theatre shortly after 6 o'clock; many people who drifted away after eight returned at nine to see the arrival of the Governor-General, and the Duchess of Gloucester and thftr party.

Many waited until after 11 p.m. to see the Royal party leave.

The crowd packed Market Street between Pitt and George Streets, and one-way traffic from Pitt Street to George Street operated from 6.30. A section of the road was barricaded off to allow the traffic to pass. About a dozen police were there to check

the crowd.

When the Royal party arrived the crowd surged forward to catch a glimpse of them, but few people saw more than a sea of bobbing heads.

Black v White Ties

Spectators on the sidelines tried to estimate the percentage of black ties to white, but because of the flurry yesterday afternoon when it was learned that the Duke was to wear a black tie the blacks won.

Not one renegade lounge suit could be seen in the mezzanine.

From the end of the red carpet at the entrance to the lounge, where th; managing director of Columbia Pic- tures and producer of "Smithy," Mr. N. P. Pery, greeted the guests, the band could be seen playing in Market Street, but nobody could hear it.

Although the first half of the pro- gramme began promptly at eight, and some people were in their seats, the foyer outside the lounge remained packed until nearly nine o'clock.

According to the official pro- gramme, at 7.55 executives and stafl were expected to "induce" personali- ties and friends to enter the mezza- nine, but they had as little hope then as at 8.55, when they had to "pre- vail" on the audience to return to their

seats.

Sweepers Busy

Executives and officials seemed to have a signal system of bells", and a code system of raised eyebrows to enable them to keep to the schedule, and there were many telephone'calls to the operator, the stage, and the

electricians.

Just before 9 o'clock, the sweepers got busy in the foyer in preparation for the arrival of the Royal party, and the A.T.C. guard of honour, re- freshed with milk shakes, took up its position again.

In the crowd which pressed around the entrance to the mezzanine two rival broadcasters dragged their speakers to the microphone. One of the stations went off the ail betöre most of the notabilities had arrived.

Stars Smothered

Among the first to arrive was Ann Richards, who was cheered as she stepped from her car. The crowd, tense with excitement, cheered othei people as they entered the theatre, but few of them knew Mr. Beau Shiels. "Smithy's" personal represen- tative, and the last man to see the famous Australian aviator alive. Mr. Shiels postponed his departure for America by eight days to see the film; he leaves by air for the United States this morning.

Mr. Wilfred Kingsford Smith, a brother of "Smithy," and Mrs. Kings- ford Smith were among the early arrivals and spoke over the air.

Ron Randell and Muriel Steinbeck, who have the leading roles in the film, were almost smothered by cameramen and newsreel experts. They were photographed from every angle, and in some of the "shots" were with Commander Eric Kingsford

smith.

The arrival of Carrie Moore, with her sister. Miss Lily Moore, set some people humming strains of "The Merry Widow," and when James Mollison and Sister Kenny came into the circle of light there was much animation among the crowd.

The director of the film, Mr. Ken Hall, was accused of trying to hide his white tie under a spotted scarf. He admitted he was "as nervous as a cat," but hoped for the best.

The chairman of directors of Greater Union Theatres, Mr. Norman B. Rydgc, was tossed from one per- son to another as he tried to speak to half a dozen people at once.

"Suspense Terrific"

The Premier, Mr. McKell, who was accompanied by his daughter, Miss Betty McKell, was on the air as soon as he arrived, and there were enough stage and radio stars pressing around the microphone to make any stage struck youngster dizzy.

Watching the invited guests arriv- ing, one woman wondered idly who was in the circle and the stalls.

"They don't matter," said her com- panion as she craned her neck a little

more. >

Waiting for the Duke and Duchess to step from their car, one young woman lost her balance and fell to the ground.

"The suspense is terrific," she mut- tered as she got to her feet.

As they alighted from their caí. the Duke and Duchess were met by the manager of the State Theatre. Mr. J. J. Collins, who presented Mr. Rydge and Mr. Pery to their Royal Highnesses.

Well Received

The film made a good impression, and the audience was particularly in- terested in the non-professional film actors. The appearance in the film of Mr. W. M. Hughes, as himself, was greeted with spontaneous ap- plause, and there was another out- burst when Captain P. G. Taylor, who was present with his wife, was seen re-enacting for the film his famous exploit over the Tasman when he transferred oil from one motor of the Southern Cross to the other

John Stannage, at present in New Zealand, appears in the film as him-

self.

Also in the audience were the cast of "Smithy," including Miss Joy Nicholls, who plays the role of an American girl who in the script helps Sir Charles Kingsford-smith to make the first Pacific flight.

All "Smithy's" flights are referred to either in conversation or by the use of newspaper headlines, to indi- cate the lapse of time, but the main interest in the film centres on the two way Pacific flight.

Representatives of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, and the motion pic- ture industry in all its branches also

attended.

Digitisation generously supported by
Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
Digitisation generously supported by

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