Australasian Cinema > films > Power And The Glory, 1941
Power And The Glory, The* (Noel Monkman, 1941) aka The Invaders; Argosy Films, wr. Noel Monkman, Harry Lauder 2nd, story Noel Monkman, dp Arthur Higgins, aerial photography George Malcolm, Bert Nicholas, ed. Frank Coffey; 93 mins; Katrin Rosselle, Eric Bush, Lou Vernon, Eric Reiman, Peter Finch, Sidney Wheeler, Charles Kilburn, Joe Valli, John Fernside, Max Osbiston, Beatrice Wenban, Harry Abdy, Horace Cleary, Ron Dargin, Clement Kennedy, Raymond Longford, Arnold Riches, Keith Connolly
A peace-loving Czech scientist who has unintentionally discovered a poison gas, escapes from the Gestapo to Australia. The government gives him a laboratory where he can continue his work in secrecy and convert his discovery into a motor fuel. Eventually fifth columnists discover his whereabouts and steal his formula. An Australian pilot who has befriended the scientist pursues the enemy's plane and in an aerial dogfight shoots it down. The film ends with an emotional plea by the scientist for the preservation of peace and 'the power and glory which is all mankind's heritage'.
The film's outspoken anti-Nazi sentiments are apparent immediately in an opening title that shrilly warns against 'the primitive beast who... would deluge the world in blood'. The Nazis are stock characters of evil incarnate, led by a Gestapo agent played by Eric Reiman in the Von Stroheim manner, complete with shaven scalp, monocle and twisted smile. More subdued, and more disturbing, are the fifth columnists (one played by Peter Finch), who to all appearances are normal Australians, mingling freely with the men in the RAAF mess-room.
Shooting began in June 1940 at the Pagewood and Figtree studios in Sydney, immediately after the completion of Argosy's first feature, That Certain Something. Both films were made possible only by the support of the overdraft guarantee of the New South Wales government.
Distribution was secured through MGM, the first time the company had handled an Australian feature. After elaborate promotion it opened at the Mayfair, Sydney, on 4 April 1941, a few weeks earlier than That Certain Something. Reviews were encouraging and especially praised the aerial combat scenes staged for the film by the RAAF at Camden. Although he displayed a promising skill as a director in this and his earlier feature Typhoon Treasure (1938), Monkman seemed to be thoroughly disillusioned with the difficulties of establishing regular feature production, and returned to the Great Barrier Reef to concentrate on nature films and underwater and microphotography. He died in May 1969.
In 1952 The Power and the Glory was revived by Jimmy Wallace, a vaudeville showman, who renamed it The Invaders and toured Queensland with it as part of his show. Pike & Cooper: 194-5.
Carlsson, Susanne Chauvel 1989, Charles and Elsa Chauvel: Movie Pioneers, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia; Foreword by Ken G. Hall, Introduction by Michael Pate.
Pike, Andrew & Ross Cooper 1998, Australian Film 1900-1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, revised edition, Oxford University Press, Melbourne.
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