Australasian Cinema > films >
Newsfront (Phillip Noyce, 1978) wr. Phillip Noyce, orig. script Bob Ellis, prod. David Elfick, Palm Beach Pictures, dp Vincent Monton, design Lisa Coote, ed. John Scott; Bill Hunter, Wendy Hughes, Gerard Kennedy, Chris Haywood, John Ewart, Bryan Brown; first Australian film to be shown on an Australian airline; many AFI awards; Eastman colour, 35mm, 110 min.
I'm trying to think of a better film from the 1970s, but can't. This has religion breaking up families, an ugly American, and it's a dramatised doco of the newsreel wars of the 1940-50s. Plus my friend Sharon as an extra in the water polo scene - right next to Gerard Kennedy.
Newsfront has not only been commercially one of the most successful, but it also one of the best and certainly one of the most likable new Australan films. The awesomely skilful juggling of the live action with the newsreel footage sometimes takes the breath away, but the film is peopled with such rich, human characters that every moment is cherishable. Scene after scene seems so absolutely perfect, so natural and so affectionate that one gets a lump in the throat. These are real people going through happy times, difficult times, tragic times, but battling on and surviving in the end. It's a film that can be seen over and over again for the sheer enjoyment and pleasure of its story, its characters and its unalloyed honesty. Stratton 1980: 212.
Newsfront is ... a pleasant and nostalgic movie, told in a key a little too low to constantly involve us, about a fiercely proud middle-aged cameraman (Bill Hunter) who takes all sorts of risks to get his stories, who battles and sometimes compromises through the period of McCarthyism, who marries a smart young assistant and then loses her, who covers fires and floods and the arrivals of ocean liners and who finds his trade replaced almost overnight by television. Roger Ebert.
In this still from the waterpolo scene, with Wendy Hughes, Gerard Kennedy - and Sharon - everyone is looking in a different direction. You get that in shots like these. Plus Kennedy turning his body towards the camera, to look prominent - Sharon has to lean forward to be in the shot at all. Only Hughes is working.
Garry Gillard | New: 28 October, 2012 | Now: 15 January, 2023