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THE NATIONAL IDEAL.
American Authoress- Critical. - SYDNEY, Monday.
wnen tue yarvou interests aecmea m 1019 to enter motion-picture making in Australia they brought to Sydney, as scenario writer,' Misa Meredyth, who has
since made toe story continuity ior tnree successful American pictures,. 'The Ten Commandments,' 'Ben Hur,' and 'Don Juan.' According to evidence by Mr. D. Carroll before. the Commonwealth Film Commission in Sydney to-day, 'Miss Mere dyth claimed, after months of investiga tion of Australian conditions and careful research in the Mitchell Library, that fna only truly national subject about which producers could make a picture was horse racing. Australians, she said, had not yet developed any distinctive individuality of national character or tradition: On that assurance, Mr. Carroll told thfl commission, 'the interests with which he was associated turned to the ? production of films' pf bush and . station . life, Tney made .'The .Man- from JJangaroo,' and 'The Shadow of Lightning Ridge.' They also ^.distributed 'The Sentimental Bloke' and 'Ginger Mick' throughout the world. 'The Shadow of. Lightning Ridge' waa favourably;, received, and his company was .encouraged to.' consider making other
yitiures.-. ? it; was iouna, nowever, tnat small producers had entered the field and! by releasing pictures of low quality had made Australian films subjects for the ridicule of audiences. Lack of suitable Australian stories- and the fact that over sea producers were releasing films more than sufficient for market needs, had also forced them to abandon film production. Mentioning difficulties in the way of a successful Australian picture industry, Mr. Carroll Baid there were no established Australian cine-— stars. fVf~~eci'& fashions came to Australia from overseas. A film produced in Australia and sent abroad would show women wearing styles at least a year old. Since 70 per cent, of cinema patrons were women, that was ,a serious matter. Costume plays couid not ba produced in Australia, except at heavy expense, whereas abroad the costume* needed for any picture could always be hired reasonably. The Australian market for Australian-made pictures was limited. Witness favoured a quota system for Aus tralian films, with certain safeguards. Lady Cowan said that of films shown in Great Britain 90 per cent, claimed American origin, and in Canada 88 per cent. She favoured a quota system for Empire films rather fhan one for Austra lian films. The German film industry had lippn Knilf nn linitan tha nnnfn
'We do not admit the right of this commission to control what we shall re quest subscribers to pay for the- -use of our members' property, any_ more than it would fix prices for film hire and admis sion prices,' said the next witness (Mr. Sydney Edwards, secretary of the Austra lian Performing Rights Association). Wit ness claimed that it was incorrect to state that cinema proprietors could Eot determine what musical works were copy righted. Copies bore the word 'Copy- right' when the fight existed,' and the Imperial copyright' law provided that that was sufficient notice. His association asked only for reasonable payment for the use of its property. The commission adjourned.