Paulette McDonagh

Those Who Love was the first venture of the McDonagh sisters: Paulette, the director and principal writer; Phyllis (the youngest), business manager, publicist and art director; and the eldest, Isobel, who acted under the stage name of Marie Lorraine. The daughters of a Sydney doctor, the sisters were captivated by Hollywood early in their youth. They spent many hours watching films and analysing them, and eventually decided to try their luck in production. With their independent spirit, the girls were undaunted by a film industry dominated by men and by American interests; Paulette spent several months at P. J. Ramster's acting school to learn what she could, while Isobel established the name of Marie Lorraine in several films for other directors.
During their production career from 1926 to 1933, they completed four features and several short documentaries, none of which emulated the aggressively Australian patterns popular with other local producers. Their first two features were sensitive romantic dramas set in an undefined country; the characters were sophisticated, well-bred and wealthy, and conflict was often based on class distinctions and prejudices. Pike & Cooper: 135.

Those who Love (P. J. Ramster, Paulette McDonagh, 1926) MCD Productions, prod. Paulette McDonagh, wr. Paulette McDonagh, prod. manager & art dir. Phyllis McDonagh; Marie Lorraine [Isobel McDonagh]

Uncertain of their ability, the [McDonagh] sisters hired a more experienced director, P. J. Ramster, to direct the film, but found that his work did not meet their demands. Paulette progressively assumed responsibility for the production, and Ramster was relegated to the position of 'technical director'. Pike & Cooper: 136.

The Far Paradise (Paulette McDonagh, 1928) MCD Productions, wr. Paulette McDonagh, dp Jack Fletcher, prod. manager & art dir. Phyllis McDonagh; Marie Lorraine [Isobel McDonagh], Gaston Mervale, Arthur McLaglen; romance; 7000 ft

The Cheaters (Paulette McDonagh, 1930) McDonagh Productions, wr. Paulette McDonagh, dp Jack Fletcher, art director Phyllis McDonagh; Marie Lorraine [Isobel McDonagh], Josef Bambach, Arthur Greenaway; made as a silent, with sound inserts added later, so considered one of the first sound films in that sense

Two Minutes Silence (Paulette McDonagh, 1933) McDonagh Productions, based on play by Leslie Haylen, dp James Grant, art director: Phyllis McDonagh, sound Jack Bruce; Marie Lorraine; last McDonagh sisters film; 75 min.

It was ... the last of the McDonaghs' films, for the production team soon broke up as Isobel (Marie Lorraine) went to London to marry, and Phyllis accepted a position as a journalist with a New Zealand newspaper. Paulette died in Sydney in September 1978, and Phyllis a few weeks later in October. Pike & Cooper: 163.


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