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Issue Details: First known date: 2017... 2017 Before On the Beach: Melbourne on Film in the 1950s
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Stanley Kramer’s fizzingly apocalyptic On the Beach (1959) dominates and defines popular understandings of Melbourne’s cinematic representation in the 1950s. Shot in the city and its surroundings from January to March 1959, and released internationally towards the end of the year, both the film and Nevil Shute’s source novel have been highly influential in reinforcing and promoting specific understandings of 1950s Melbourne as a staid, sleepy, uneventful and architecturally conservative metropolis. This hard-to-shake view of Melbourne has been further compounded by the lack of comparative feature film images of the city (a brief view in 1952’s Road to Bali excepted) and its appearance in such international documentaries as The Melbourne Rendezvous (1957). But Melbourne does appear more dynamically in a range of less noted and disparate short films, mini-features and documentaries produced by government funded entities like the Australian National Film Board and the State Film Centre of Victoria, small production entities formed around the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Melbourne (often made by major Melbourne architects such as Robin Boyd and Peter McIntyre) and the Melbourne University Film Society, and such maverick independent filmmakers as Giorgio Mangiamele. Many of the works also provide a more critical, though at times celebratory, view of the changing cityscape of Melbourne (height limits for buildings were “exploded” by the completion of ICI House in 1958), the tentative embrace of modernity and internationalisation (e.g. the impact of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics) and the changing ethnicities of the inner city and suburbs. This essay maps and challenges broader understandings of Melbourne’s filmic representation in the 1950s by exploring the various ways in which the city is figured in unjustly forgotten or marginalised films like The Melbourne Wedding Belle (1953), Your House and Mine (1954) and Sunday in Melbourne (1958).

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Senses of Cinema vol. 85 December 2017 13375712 2017 periodical issue 2017
Last amended 18 Mar 2018 21:45:02 Before On the Beach: Melbourne on Film in the 1950ssmall AustLit logo Senses of Cinema
  • On the Beach Nevil Shute , 1957 single work novel
  • On the Beach John Paxton , 1959 single work film/TV
  • Night Club A. R. Harwood , 1952 single work film/TV
  • Homicide Sonia Borg , Vince Moran , Phil Freedman , Luis Bayonas , Everett de Roche , Peter A. Kinloch , Ted Roberts , Roger Simpson , Charles E. Stamp , Margaret Kelly , Colin Eggleston , James Wulf Simmonds , Keith Hetherington , Michael Harvey , Cliff Green , Patrick Edgeworth , James East , John Drew , John Dingwall , Alan Cram , Ian Cameron , John Bragg , David William Boutland , Jock Blair , Don Battye , Fred Parsons , David Minter , Monte Miller , Ron McLean , George Mallaby , Ian Jones , Maurice Hurst , Barry Hill , Max Sims , Keith Thompson , David Stevens , Amanda Spry , Peter Schreck , Martin Robbins , Della Foss Pascoe , Bruce Wishart , 1964 series - publisher film/TV
  • Melbourne, Victoria,
  • 1950s
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