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The Pictures that Moved. A picture history of the Australian Cinema 1896-1929 by J&M Long

R 280
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Hutchinson, Australia, 1982

Hard cover with Dust Jacjet. First and only edition.

Condition: Good. Dust Jacket Condition. Mostly good but slightly edge worn on the top edge.

In 1982, Joan and Martin Long published a heavily-illustrated book: The Pictures That Moved: A Picture History of the Australian Cinema 1896–1929 with scripts of the films The Pictures That Moved and The Passionate Industry (Hutchinson, Australia), which still makes a valuable companion piece to the films (and now the DVD). In Joan Long’s own story of “The making of the films” (pp. 11–16), she recognised that “All films date in style and content”, and that “No presentation of history can ever be called definitive” (p. 14): she would not, then, have been surprised or distressed at a later reviewer picking up on what would now be considered “errors”.

She describes the research process, in a time when there were no reference books and precious few articles about Australian film. Alan Anderson had begun the research for The Pictures That Moved before her arrival on the team, and both of them delved into old newspapers and journals, put appeals for information into the newspapers, interviewed people with long memories. As they put part 1 together, Long and Anderson were instructed not to use any excerpt that had already been employed by Tony Buckley in Forgotten Cinema (1966) – the only film previously made on the subject. This was not too difficult, however, as Buckley’s film was a general survey, that had made little reference to the very early period covered in The Pictures that Moved.

On the second film, Long had more time for research and better facilities, so she was happier with the result. She was also not particularly enamoured of Anderson’s interviews with Longford and Perry in part 1: she felt that an interview “took a lot of screen time in relation to the information it imparted and the visual interest it held” (p. 14) so she changed the strategy in The Passionate Industry to quote selections from people’s words over their portraits.

The most interesting revelations in Long’s introduction are those concerning the political implications of the films. One thread, which might be considered mildly “political”, was the team’s concern at imminent threats to the great old picture palaces in Sydney, which were slated for “redevelopment”: their response was to take photographs, to make sure that at least some images were preserved.

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