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Front a Sydney correspondent I
LEWIS MILESTONE, director of "Kangaroo," and, belo»', two of the
20th Century-Fox, bf Hollywood, USA, has leased Pagewood Film Studio, Sydney, its equipment, its wardr robe of authentic Australian period costumes, and its permanent technical staff of 40, as production head-
quarters during filming of the Fox Technicolor production, \
And a dozen Hollywood film technicians are hard at work at Pagewood on the production of the most costly film ( round £700,000) yet made in Aus-
"Kangaroo" will be the first color feature made in this country-a pic- ture which is intended to show round the world as a big-time feature film.
The venture marks a ti*emendous advance in picture-making in Aus-
The outdoor scenes, of course, will be shot in South Australia.
But indoor "takes" will be filmed at Pagewood, and may well put a new hallmark on this production centre.
Britain's Ealing Studios acquired it in 1949. Since then it has developed, under General Manager Eric Williams,
to front-rank status.
Planned in advance with the detail of an armored corps operation, this
Hollywood production will have four - imported stai-s-led by Peter Lawford
and Maureen O'Hara.
"Kangaroo's" noted director, Lewis Milestone, has at Pagewood seen and praised Ealing's post-war Australian films "Bitter Springs" ánd "The Over
Fox is importing a mountainous amount of Technicolor equipment round half a shipload-and including three special Technicolor cameras, powerful lighting gear required for color work, generators, reflectors, and auxiliary equipment.
Thc Hollywood technicians are, how- ever, delighted to have available Eal- ing's own new £40,000 sterling film equipment - whether in sound-engi- neering departments, cutting room, or on the sound stage itself.
- . " -. _ I watched the Hollywood men run over the period wardrobes from Ealing's Australian films, "Eureka Stockade" and "Bitter Springs"-cos- tumes which many of the extras for "Kangaroo" will wear on location.
I glimpsed camera director Charles Clarke, of Hollywood, getting down to shop-talk with camera director George Heath, of Australia.
Opened in 7935
The whole studio scene, buzzing with activity, saw the fruit of three long range plans-of Fox, of Ealing, and of all of those Australians who have worked and dreamed in this same studio from 15 years back.
Originally built by'National Studios with Australian capital, Pagewood opened late in 1935, its raw-brick build- ings facing new-sown grass on Went- worth avenue, and its newly planted trees carefully railed off.
Pagewood then eclipsed by far Sydney's two other sound studios, Cinesound (sold a few months ago for
a cordial factory) and Figtree Studios, at Lane Cove (sold lately to tile Transport Department).
For the Fust few months its huge sound stage was a squatting ground for aborigines, and heavily scented with gum leaves, for Charles Chauvel imported them both from Queens- land for his film "Uncivilised."
From then until the war, Pagewood was used for such films as "The Flying* Doctor" and "Rangle River" (for Columbia). .
In January, 1949, Ealing walked into Pagewood - to find the place a shambles. v
During Wox-ld War II. it had suf- fered three Army "invasions"-as a store depot, as a training ground (the Americans were there for a time), and as the rehearsal and refitting depot of the Australian Army Entertainment
Clean as surgery
At one time, it would appear, the Army used the walls for bayonet prac- tice; at another, the main sound stage was piled to the roof with old papers; and at yet another, the sound, stage be- came a carpenters' shop.
The inside walls were a staggering gallery of nudes, sketches, pin-up girls, and Army verses, many of which would pass" no censor.
Decorous whitewash and plaster to- day cover these signs of Army occupa-
Today, 20 months later, Ealing has made a £100,000 concern of the studio, with new concrete and fibro power- house, workshops, property building, and garages running as an efficient, finely equipped unit.
The cutting and editing rooms with their newly tiled walls, oiled floors, and hardwood tables designed to minimise the dust which scratches raw film-are clean as a surgery.
IS dressing r&®m&
Plumbing and plaster adorn the 15 dressing rooms that run in a separate building block between the make-up department from one end to the word robe department at the other.
Even on its grounds, no traces of Pagewood's hectic past remain-the Army cleared away the mine shafts built for "The Flying Doctor," the outback street from "Rangle River," the take from that 1941 RAAF drama "The Power and the Glory," and even the dam which Cincsound constructed for a flood scene in 1940's "Dad Rudd,
Today, the only relics on the back lot are the remnants of the pub burned for "Eureka, Stockade," and the cart used by Ealing in "Bitter Springs."
All traces of the last Pagewood film, "Prelude," vanished four weeks ago, when carpenters dismantled Eileen Joyce's childhood cottage on the sound stage.
Only history fills the property store, its rooms full of saddles and riding gear of all kinds; and its stock of old fashioned authentic Australian domes- tic items-from calendars to kerosene lamps. ,
Fox will use some of these props in its "turn of the century" homestead for "Kangaroo"-a homestead being built in the Port Augusta district, SA, as near as possible to the location
Fox will also lake on location, with some 200 Australian ' players and extras, the trained technicians from Pagewood itself.
They and their fellow-workers are ready for the Hollywood produrtlon, because of Ealing's own long-range planning for big things.
Fox itself is out here UKC<IUSC of studio chief Darryl Zanuck's long-range plan to make films in the world-distant places.
And now the bier moment has ar- rived