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Diggers (Frank W. Thring, Pat Hanna, 1931) Efftee Film Productions, wr. Pat Hanna, Eric Donaldon, dp Arthur Higgins; Pat Hanna, George Moon, Edmund Warrington, Cecil Scott, Norman French, Guy Hastings, John Henry, Joe Valli; comic adventures of Chic (Hanna) and Joe (Moon) based on Hanna's stage show; followed by Diggers in Blighty and Waltzing Matilda; opened 6 November 1931; 61 min.; available for purchase from NFSA together with the later film

This is no longer entertaining, but it's fascinating to see not only what was so considered in the 1930s, but also to get some idea of what a stage show of the time might have been like.

Diggers was the first feature from the Melbourne enterprise of Efftee Film Productions, established by Frank W Thring. The screenplay was prepared by Pat Hanna from three sketches used in his popular Diggers stage show. The sketches featured two Australian 'cobbers' serving in the AIF in France in 1918: the lanky, phlegmatic Chic (played by Hanna himself) and his short and resourceful friend, Joe. Pike & Cooper: 154.

Attending a reunion, two Australian ex-servicemen reminisce about their exploits in France during WW1. These include lying in a field hospital where they feigned deafness to extend their recuperation, stealing jars of rum from the Quartermaster and inventing an elaborate ruse to hide them and finally, the night before returning to the front relaxing in a French café where romance blossoms between the soldier and waitress as told through the song Mademoiselle from Armentieres.
Vaudeville performer Pat Hanna brings his well-established stage and radio "Diggers" comedy routine to the screen. One of the very first Australian "talkies".

Garry Gillard | New: 24 December, 2012 | Now: 23 September, 2021