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Wings Of Destiny* (Rupert Kathner, 1940) prod. Rupert Kathner, Enterprise Film Company, wr. Rupert Kathner, Alma Brooks, dp Arthur Higgins, Joe Stafford, Tasman Higgins, ed. Syd Wood, art dir. Guy Crick, sound Mervyn Murphy; 68 mins; Marshall Crosby, John Fernside, George Lloyd, Cecil Perry, Johnny Williams, Jimmy McMahon, Reginald King, Patricia McDonald, Raymond Longford, Stan Robinson; espionage thriller
Supposedly based on an actual incident, the film warns of attempts by fifth columnists to secure control of Australia's supplies of wolfram, a mineral needed for the manufacture of munitions. A plane carrying a team who are investigating a wolfram find is sabotaged by a German agent, Mark Heinrich, and is forced down in the central Australian desert. The group survives a threat from hostile Aborigines, but the young pilot is killed when he tries to fly the damaged plane. His friends swear to seek vengeance for his death. When they return to Sydney they find Heinrich has killed the owner of the wolfram field and has kidnapped his daughter. After an armed struggle, the girl is rescued and Heinrich is sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment.
Slightly less studio-bound than other Kathner quickies, Wings Of Destiny included location scenes on the Sydney waterfront and in central Australia, with footage of Aboriginal tribal life probably shot originally for Phantom Gold (1937). Raymond Longford appears in a small role as an old bushman who drives his truck into the desert to rescue the stranded party.
With distribution by National Films of New South Wales, the film opened at the Capitol Theatre, Sydney, on 13 September 1940 as a supporting feature. Earlier, a slightly different version had been shown to the press, after which some 'atmospheric' scenes at Alice Springs were deleted and a crude court-room scene added to the end of the film. Although it was one of the few Kathner films to be passed for registration as an Australian quota production, reviews were unfavourable, and Josephine O'Neill, in the Sunday Telegraph, 15 September 1940, found herself in 'a dazed condition' after the preview. Pike & Cooper: 191.
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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