Bush Christmas (1946)

National Film Society – Toronto Branch presented Bush Christmas (1946) on Tuesday, December 13, 1949 as part of the Season 2 Main Series, Programme 4.

TUESDAY, December 13th, 1949  8.15 p.m.
Royal Ontario Museum Theatre


NOTE:  The meeting will commence at 8.15 sharp; doors will be closed until the end of the first film, at which time the lights will go on so that latecomers may be seated.

LOBBY FILM from 7.45 – 8.10 p.m.  CHASONS NOEL a National Film Board one reel Kodachrome film produced by James McKay.  Winner in the class of animated films in the 1st Canadian Film Awards, this collection of French carols is blended with simple and amusing use of drawings, models and paper figures.


Kings in Exile  (Great Britain 1938)  Source: J.A. Rank  16mm Ltd.  Running Time 11 minutes

CAMERAMEN: George Pocknall and G.W. McPherson

One of the famous Secrets of Life series, this is a theatrical version of the longer King Penguins.  Shot at the Edinburgh Zoo, it is a fascinating study of an endearing bird.  “Emmett’s style of commentary, very apt here, combines lightly-phrased scientific comment with personal comments, sometimes witty, sometimes facetious and occasionally illuminating.”

Charlie at the Bank  (U.S.A. 1916)  Source: John Carreau, Montreal Branch NFS  Running Time 18 minutes

A rare print of one of the earliest Chaplin comedies, this was made for the Essanay company.  Mr. Carreau who is undoubtedly the leading private film collector in Canada tells us that this is a new copy from a scratched negative.

Walkabout  Kodachrome (Australia 1946)  Source: NFS Ottawa  Running Time 17 minutes

PHOTOGRAPHED and NARRATED by _________________

An informal introduction to the cave-man of today, the Australian aborigine.  The expedition leader,  in the course of his reporting on the daily lives of these tribes and their culture, is most refreshing.  His commentary can be described by the word “homely”, in contrast to Emmett’s in Kings in Exile.

Boogie Doodle  Kodachrome (National Film Board of Canada 1948)  Running Time 3 1/2 minutes

Boogie by the late Albert Ammons – Doodle by Norman McLaren

Hoppity Pop  Kodachrome (National Film Board of Canada 1948)  Running Time 3 minutes
by Norman McLaren

Two more experimental animated films by Norman McLaren who is at present on loan to U.N. in China.  Both films were made without a camera by drawing on 35mm film directly with ordinary pen and ink.  The color is not indigenous to the drawing, but is obtained by preparing several parallel strips in black and white which act as spearation negatives for the colour dyes in the printing laboratory.  Documentary Film News Reviewers say from England (Dec. 1948):

“As usual the icing on any programme of films from Canada is the latest batch from Norman McLaren and his team of fantasy merchants.  His Fiddlededees and Hoppityhops and other flibbertigibets have a brilliance and zest all their own.  McLaren has developed himself into something unique and all honor is due to Canada for providing him with a niche where he can mix color and boogy woogy to his heart’s content.  It is tragic that Britain, which originated so much of the Lye and McLaren form of abstract work, cannot now find even a tiny crazy corner for experimentalists to play around in.”

(no intermission this evening)

Bush Christmas  (Australia 1946)  Source: J. Arthur Rank 16mm Ltd.  Running Time 80 minutes

DIRECTED and PRODUCED by Ralph Smart
for Children’s Entertainment Films G.B. Instructional Ltd.
PHOTOGRAPHY by George Heath
made with an all-Australian staff and all-Australian cast, with Chips Rafferty

Those adults fortunate enough to have or know children to get them past the doormen at the Saturday Odeon Movie Club have come away really delighted with this adventure story made especially for children.  Clyde Gilmour was one of them; he spent a great part of one of his CBC programmes describing the charm of this film.  We urge all members to drop Christmas preparations in order to experience something rare, a film about children for children, so well done that it captivates adults as well.

It is a film of actuality, made entirely out of doors under the Australian sun in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales.  One of the settings used was the “ghost town” in the Wolgan Valley, deserted for over 20 years.  Great care was taken to obtain the authentic touches of life in the Australian bush, including bird and animal noises.  The main characters are aged six to twelve, all Australian children; one of them is an Aboriginal boy.  Mary Field, famous for her classroom films and director of Kings in Exile is head of the Children’s Entertainment Films Department, formed in 1944.  Her producers have always assumed that children show a high degree of perception and intelligence.

We submit that such entertaining and intelligent films as this could be made in Canada, with Canadian casts and talent.



WALTZES from DER ROSENKAVALIER, Richard Strauss; COMUS SUITE, Purcell, arranged by Constant Lambert; OVERTURE TO THE WASPS by Vaughan Williams; THE THIRD MAN THEME and the CAFE MOZART WALTS, zither solos written and played by Anton Karas; WALTZING MATHILDA.


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