New Zealand Film: Online Resources
From Holland to Holyoake: Film in the 1950s and 1960s
by Lawrence McDonald. Summary by Jakki Galloway
On location at Mahia Peninsula filming Broken Barrier (1952)
The new National Government of 1949 impressed a stronger profit motive on NFU and a closer relationship with government bureaucracy. The NFU was constrained and Andrews resigned. The Weekly Review was suspended.
Geoffrey Scott became the NFU’s new manager and produced Pictorial Parade ‘the new Weekly Review’. The NFU remained the dominant filmmaking force through the 1950’s and 1960’s. The most exceptional of these films are perhaps those directed by John Feeney: Legend of Wanganui River, Kotuku, Pumicelands and Hot Earth.
John O’Shea joined as a partner with Mirams at Pacific Films. They made the only three New Zealand feature films over two decades: Broken Barrier (1952), Runaway (1964) and Don’t Let it Get You (1966).
ACTIVITY 13. Read this 1964 review of John O’Shea‘s Runaway and compare it with a contemporary review.
ACTIVITY 14. Analyse the 1952 Broken Barrier cartoon. Choose a film you know from New Zealand Film: an Illustrated History DVD, and create your own cartoon commenting on a theme of that film .
Following the introduction of television in 1960 and the creation of the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation (NZBC) in 1962, the NFU became used primarily for its printing and sound recording facilities. The bulk of work was in the area of advertising (although Ronald Bowie made four documentaries that received awards at International Film Festivals).
The introduction of television resulted in a decline in cinema audiences. Independent production companies started making television commercials. When Mirams left New Zealand and formed a subsidiary company in Sydney, O’Shea was left to manage Pacific Films in New Zealand.
In 1954 the Mazengarb Report influenced censorship in NZ. Gordon Mirams, the chief censor during this period frequently issued restricted certificates.
ACTIVITY 15. Read New Zealand’s classification labels. In groups discuss which of these classifications you would give these popular New Zealand films, and why (extracts from each are viewable on the DVD). Give a presentation to the class on your decision and compare the classes results.