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Newsfront - Bill Hunter, Gerard Kennedy, Wendy Hughes, Philip Noyce

Threat advisory: Elevated - Significant risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

The lives, loves and loyalties of the newsreel cameraman. When the news ran out... they made their own.

Newsfront is the story of the previously unsung newsreel cameramen, who raced to beat deadlines and dangers to capture on film, for a voracious audience of cinemagoers, the historic moments that were shaping a young nation. These were the men who lived and worked in post World War II Australia; a turbulent time with the fear of reds under the beds, the tragic Maitland floods and national pride on show at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. But their days were numbered. A new technology would eventually bring the world into the living rook instantly - it was called television.

Persons of interest

  • Bill Hunter .... Len Maguire
  • Wendy Hughes .... Amy Mackenzie
  • Gerard Kennedy .... Frank Maguire
  • Chris Haywood .... Chris Hewitt
  • John Ewart .... Charlie
  • Don Crosby .... AG Marwood
  • Angela Punch McGregor .... Fay
  • John Clayton .... Cliff
  • John Dease .... Ken
  • Bryan Brown .... Geoff
  • Lorna Lesley .... Ellie
  • Mark Holden .... Len's new assistant
  • Drew Forsythe .... Bruce
  • Tony Barry .... Greasy
  • Alexander Archdale .... Sir Charles
  • Bill Lyle .... Macka
  • David Elfick .... Creator
  • Bob Ellis .... Screenwriter
  • Philippe Mora .... Screenwriter
  • Philip Noyce .... Screenwriter
  • Philip Noyce .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

So that's what happened to newsreels.

While it doesn't seem likely, I am, in fact, too young to remember newsreels as anything other than a historical peculiarity brought about by the rise of cinema and an increasing hunger for information about the ever-shrinking global community. From the 30s to the 60s, the planet was becoming smaller at a rate that finally leapt into a single generation. Someone born into a world of writing letters that took months to arrive at their destination could die in a world where a few seconds and a satellite give nearly instantaneous communication. Telegrams, telephones, radio, air travel, newsreels, television all brought the world to their doorstep (or, at most, a tram ride into town) and created the need for knowledge that never existed before. That need gave rise to the internet, which users have already outgrown, as the rush to faster technology and faster ISPs illustrates.

Enough eulogising, on with the show. Newsreels gave people their first glimpse of the world beyond the quarter acre block. Wars, royal lives, spectacular achievements, international sport and local disaster suddenly became a part of everyday life, as did singing dogs and car rallies. The men who travelled the world capturing these images and sounds created a social revolution which cannot be stopped: the right to know. There is no citizen in a democracy who doesn't believe that they have a right to know everything that is happening in their country.

[Stop spouting ideological crap and talk about the film - Director of Intelligence.]

Mutter, mutter, mutter....

With a good dose of The Sullivans and no small amount of The dish, Newsfront is like one of those "remember when" episodes of a TV series where the characters sit around and remember the best parts of previous episodes in glorious flashback. There's been an attempt to tie things up with a dramatic story about the men behind the cameras: it's not a story you'd see for its own sake but it does help to put the news stories in context. Keeping in mind the period, the blokes are blokes, the sheilas are sheilas and the beer runs out at 6 o'clock.

Newsfront is a great historical film about the way that evolving technology affected one small corner of the world.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Commentary by Philip Boyce
  • The "Newsfront" story
  • Biographies
  • Photo gallery
  • DVD-ROM: Study guide, reviews in depth

Security censorship classification

PG (Medium level coarse language, adult themes)

Surveillance time

106 minutes (1:46 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

DVD retail: 14 June 2001

Cinema surveillance images

Newsfront image

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