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Environment (Gerald. Hayle, 1927) prod. Vaughan C. Marshall, Advance Films, wr. Gerald M. Hayle, dp Tasman Higgins, 6000 ft; Beth Darvall, Hal Percy, Colin Campbell, Alf Scarlett, Arthur Bruce, Jim Joyce, Dorothy May, Max Sorelle, Kitty Mostyn, Viva Vawden, Charles Brown, George Gilbert, Edward Landor, Phyllis Best
Mary is a young girl forced by poverty to pose for a painting of a lightly draped female figure, which the artist calls 'L'Environnement'. She is courted by the artist's suave associate, Arthur, but when she learns that he is married, she runs in panic from his advances. She takes refuge on a farm and falls in love with Jim, a very proper young farmer who loudly denigrates the dissipation of modern woman. Mary and Jim are eventually married, but Arthur plans revenge on the girl who once rejected him. He hires an evil Jewish friend to spy on them and sends them the painting of 'L'Environnement' as a wedding present. Recognising Mary as the model, Jim's love suddenly turns to hate, but after she sheds many tears he decides to forgive her and begins to destroy the painting. As he does so, he finds a lost will in the frame, which reveals Mary to be the heiress to a large fortune. Thereafter Mary and Jim live happily together in wealth and luxury.
Produced for about £4000, Environment was shot in the first months of 1927 on locations in and around Melbourne. The producer/promoter, Vaughan C. Marshall, took pains to woo the wealthier sectors of Melbourne society, not only to find an audience but also to attract investment for further productions. He hired the Palace Theatre ('The House Exquisite'), Melbourne, for two weeks commencing on 23 July 1927, and surrounded the season with an aura of 'high culture' and nationalism (although the film itself contained very little that was specifically Australian). The attempt cannot have been entirely successful: the film was scarcely seen outside Victoria, and Marshall produced only one more feature, Caught In The Net (1928), before withdrawing from production.
He had a long career in Melbourne as an exhibitor, and after dabbling in production he returned to exhibition and distribution for the rest of his career. His director on Environment, Gerald M. Hayle had made industrial and advertising films in Melbourne for several years, but after this first feature he left Marshall's staff to direct The Rushing Tide (1927) for Koala Films. Pike & Cooper: 140.
Pike & Cooper: 140.
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