Towards a History of Australian Film Criticism

The “public” spaces of film criticism – by which we mean film reviews and essays – are what most Australians think of as comprising film criticism. These public spaces of criticism were established at the inception of the cinema in Australia, [1] and have been developing alongside broader media transformations ever since. While a fixture of film culture in Australia as elsewhere, this sort of film criticism remains little theorised or examined as an object in its own right. The publication of King, Verevis, and Williams’s Australian Film Theory and Criticism Vol. 1 [2] has provided the first volume in an intellectualhistory of film theory and academic criticism in Australia since 1975. [3] What this illumination of an important but delimited corner of Australian film criticism suggests to us is the need for further illumination, using a different quality of light, shone across a broader swathe of the institution of film criticism. What is necessarily neglected in King et al.’s more circumscribed study is the rest of Australian film criticism, across time and institutional locations. This includes the journalistic review and critical essay spaces, whose ambition is to address a more generalised, less academically specialised, audience. While not cordoned off from the professionalised spaces of academic film criticism, journalistic review and essayistic criticism has its own professional practice and spaces. Indeed this kind of film criticism is the more longstanding. As Lee Grieveson and Haidee Wasson’s edited collection, Inventing Film Studies [4] shows, it is from these public spaces that film theory and professional academic criticism emerged in the US, UK, and Canada.

To get at this longer, broader history of film criticism in Australia we require not so much the intellectual history approach espoused by King et. al. than what has been called a New Cinema History approach. While there has always been an attention within film studies to the social, cultural, and economic circumstances in which historically and geographically situated audiences came to view the cinema in their neighbourhood theatres, and to the cinema distribution, exhibition and marketing arrangements that brought films to these communities, the New Cinema History has given these emphases a central rather than peripheral status. Indeed it has been one of the most important recent developments in cinema studies with its promise to write “a people’s history of cinema” [5] which would attend to films’ “global traffic of their circulation, the variation and regularities in the patterns of their consumption and the ways in which the resilient parochialism of individuals and communities accommodates the passing content occupying their screens to their local concerns”. [6]

This cinema history has not, however, considered in any detail an important ancillary to cinema’s local development and continuing practice: film criticism in the sense of reviewing and essayistic criticism. Film criticism has several features that make it interesting from a New Cinema History perspective. It provided, in another medium, a “service” for readers, listeners and viewers. It was proffered as an independent perspective by providing views and opinions on films independent of the exhibitors and producers releasing the film. It addressed its readers as potential viewers or non-viewers of the films in question (consequently this criticism needed to be provided at the start rather than end of a film’s release; not too early and not too late). Alongside but distinct from the marketing effort, film reviewing fashioned a public discourse about films that could be taken up in discussions before and after screenings by audiences. The film reviewer therefore acted as an intermediary, domesticating the often international and sometimes national fare for local audiences and publics who were watching this film in this space and time. [7]

The relevance of film criticism to New Cinema History cuts both ways. The formations of “social and cultural exchange” [8] that New Cinema History addresses cannot be fully understood without an attention to film criticism, as it has long been such a continuing adjunct to the promotion, exhibition, distribution, and general uptake and acceptance of cinema by audiences. Equally, as part of the larger ensemble of things that go with cinema, film criticism cannot be understood apart from cinema’s historically situated audiences, distribution, exhibition, and marketing.

In this article we want to “clear the way” for a forthcoming in-depth study of the “public” spaces of Australian film criticism that will be informed by New Cinema History concerns and approaches. In this article we will posit five ways of looking at film criticism that will be, in the first instance, useful for charting its history in the Australian context, but that will have equal utility for scholars of film criticism of any nation or milieu. This article therefore provides a road map for the larger project of charting the history of Australian film criticism. It is at the same time a generalisable demonstration of how New Cinema History can be used to address film criticism, and how film criticism can, in its turn, be used to address New Cinema History.

First we will consider – and position this project in relation to – existing literature on film criticism in general and Australian film criticism in particular, as well as its close cousin arts criticism. Second, we will consider film criticism as a set of rhetorical forms that have persisted with remarkable consistency across a range of media and proved resilient in the face of media transformations. Third, we will outline the ways in which film criticism has correlated with Australian screen culture, attending to the places, spaces, and ways of being with cinema that have existed in Australia, and film criticism’s role in responding to and generating such spaces. Fourth we will examine the Australian media vehicles – such as television, radio, newspapers and magazines – that contain film criticism, showing how these shape, constrain, and enable film criticism’s possibilities. Finally, we will show how film criticism always occurs somewhere, with these places constituting the milieu of its authors and audiences, leading to distinctive film criticism practices and outcomes.

We will argue that these components of film criticism work in concert to shape film criticism in Australia, and that these ways of looking can help us to understand its patterns of growth and its complexification over time. Film criticism is not only a form that in its basic contours and priorities has persisted over time in remarkably consistent ways, but is also a form that is continuously changing in its inflexions, priorities, and personnel amidst a history of media transformation and innovation. This includes not only transformations in the circumstances in which feature films are watched but in the media in which film criticism is carried. It is also a form that is significantly marked by its place and spaces of production.

Film criticism has only sporadically been examined in terms of its institutional formations and socio-cultural connections. Some recent examples of studies of criticism/film criticism have been arguments for the narrowing of the term to a particular tendency or institutional location, such as film philosopher Noël Carroll’s On Criticism [9] in which he stakes a claim for evaluation (not analysis, nor interpretation) as criticism’s characterising impulse; or The Language and Style of Film Criticism[10] whose editors argue that “film criticism” is a very particular form of discourse that is neither academic “film studies” nor journalistic “reviewing”. Works like Inventing Film Studies (2008) and Scenes of Instruction[11] as well as the aforementioned study by King et al., chart the intellectual history and institutional codification of academic film studies (in Britain & America, and Australia respectively), explicating “public” [12] forms of film criticism in the process. Finally there are critical anthologies of outstanding film criticism – most notably Phillip Lopate’s edited collection American Movie Critics: An Anthology From the Silents Until Now – designed to celebrate film criticism “as a branch of American letters” stretching back to the first film screenings. [13] For us, Lopate’s most telling observation concerns the duality of film criticism as simultaneously a part of larger media worlds and an extension or amplification of the cinema, writing: “the best of that criticism belongs as much to the canon of American nonfiction prose as it does to the history of film reception”. [14]

More akin to our proposed sociological or institutional approach to film criticism are two studies by David Bordwell, who has had a longstanding interest in film criticism’s typologies and institutional boundaries. First in Making Meaning [15] and later revisited in Minding Movies[16] Bordwell conceived of film criticism as an institutional whole made up of three strata, a concept which we will attend to in the next section. Bordwell’s contribution follows a longer history of sociological and philosophical examination of arts criticism in Britain and North America from the mid-20th century. Examples include Beardsley’s Aesthetics: Problems in the Philosophy of Criticism, Gardner’s The Business of Criticism, and Sparshott’s The Concept of Criticism[17]

This line of inquiry into film criticism has Australian dimensions. King et. al.’s study, while concerned with Australian film theory and academic criticism, takes as its starting point the last chapter of Tom O’Regan’s Australian National Cinema[18] Titled “Critical Dispositions”, this chapter identified three comportments of the Australian film critic: the critical intellectual, the cinephile, and the film historian. O’Regan not only took Bordwell’s typologies as his starting point, adapting them to and developing them for the Australian context, but also explicitly developed these comportments out of an extended Australian reflection and debate on film criticism, its rhetoric and practice, purposes and orientations. Initiated by Meaghan Morris when she interrogated her experience as a film critic in the late 1970s for the Sydney Morning Herald [19] in Filmnews in 1982, it was continued by Adrian Martin and Rolando Caputo in 1985 in their mid 1980s survey and evaluation of film criticism in Filmnews and Australia more generally. [20] Martin also explicitly addressed Bordwell’s typologies and what he saw as their lack of applicability to Australian critical circumstance in his editorial to the Film: Matters of Style issue of Continuum[21]

Another important work is Peter Malone’s 1994 book Worth Watching, which collected sample reviews and reflections on reviewing practice from 30 Australian film critics. In the same vein are the perennial roundtable discussions on “the state of film criticism” [22] that are cyclically commissioned by magazines and film festivals. At the more scholarly end, both Adrian Danks [23] and Barrett Hodson [24] (Hodson at book length) have written on the film culture and criticism produced by the university film societies, which reached their zenith at Sydney and Melbourne Universities in the 1960s. Adrian Martin has noted the absence of the figure of the cinephile from Australian intellectual histories and attempted to (re)constitute this figure through a close attention to both film criticism, filmmaking and film cultural dispositions. [25] Jill Julius Matthews and Philip Mead have contributed scholarship on early individual Australian film critics, respectively Beatrice Tildesley, [26] inaugural film critic of the Australian Women’s Weekly, and Kenneth Slessor, [27] of poetic fame, but long-time film critic for the Sydney-based national weekly newspaper Smiths Weekly. In both cases Tildesley and Slessor’s critical activity is shown to be directly related to their larger intellectual and, in Slessor’s case, creative, interests.

The contribution of Australian scholarship on film criticism has been its tendency to speak simultaneously of the generality of its rhetorical forms, the particularity of its Australian experience, and of the broader institutional contexts in which it takes place. There is also a sense of being able (or resigned) to stand at a degree’s remove from scenes, schools, and global currents, and this positioning has predisposed Australian scholars to look at film criticism in a more generalised socio-cultural-institutional sense. This sense of distance was very evident in the title of the broadcasts and (1981) book of then ABC Radio National film critic John Hinde: Other People’s Pictures[28]

The Australian institutional focus contrasts with the tendency of American and European counterparts to anthologise or make studies of individual critics [29], or of individual journals or magazines. [30] By and large, when Australian film critics’ reviews are collected together it is less to provide the exemplars of film critical practice that are suggested by the collected work of Roger Ebert, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Pauline Kael, and Graham Greene. Rather they tend to be more like Sandra Hall’s reviews of Australian films, Critical Business: The New Australian Cinema in Review[31] occasioned by a particular moment in filmmaking (the Australian New Wave) and positioned as a chronicle of that period. [32] We therefore conceive of our proposed history of Australian film criticism as part of a continuum of Australian scholarship on the subject, as well as pulling together in the one place some of the disparate threads of previous studies.

The rhetorical forms of film criticism provide a fairly fixed point of reference. Against these, the changes in film criticism in Australia owing to broader media transformations can be measured. Here we will give some attention to the language we use to talk about film criticism’s rhetorical and institutional formations. We do so primarily with reference to Bordwell’s division of the institution of film criticism in to three strata, each with their own “publishing formats”, “formal”, and “informal” sub-institutions, [33] and the audiences these suggest. In clearing the way for an historical study of Australian film criticism we take all of these various forms and institutional locations to equally be “film criticism”, and then make distinctions within this larger formation where appropriate. We begin with the “journalistic” review.

As a rhetorical form the film review has its basis in 19th century theatre criticism. This is unsurprising given that the circumstances of the theatre have much in common with those of the cinema: mass circulation daily and weekly publications, national circuits and defined seasons, and an interest in discussion of the object in advance of, and subsequent to, its performance/exhibition. Bordwell states that reviews function as a type of journalism, with a kind of news value, and appear as such at regular intervals: daily, weekly, monthly. [34] They range in length and detail from the capsule review through to a more sustained critical discourse that is still nevertheless an adjunct to the film’s release publicity. Reviews are aimed at an audience that is more or less broad depending on the audience of the publication in which it appears, but in most every case treat the reader as a prospective rather than retrospective viewer of the film.

This type of film criticism arrives, and becomes routinised, first in the history of discourse on film in every nation, and Australia is no exception. Film reviews first appeared in newspapers as a sub-set of the theatrical reviews, reflecting film’s initial status as “a minor part of a much larger [theatrical] entertainment business”. [35] From the 1920s weekly magazines and newspapers such as Table Talk (1885–1939) and Smith’s Weekly (1919–1950) ran standalone film pages, while The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933–) carried film reviews. Tropes familiar to us from contemporary film reviewing – such as year’s end best and worst lists and the shorthand of rating scales – are evident from the 1920s, and 1930s in Australian reviewing. Much was made in the film pages of Smith’s Weekly, edited by Kenneth Slessor during the 1930s, of its in-house rating scale. This consisted of six degrees, from “AAA”, “AA” etc. down through to “BBB”.

Essayistic criticism, or the “critical essay” [36] is longer than a review and has a different impetus and intent. Bordwell states that the essay is often a “think piece”, drawing back from the daily rhythm of reviewing to suggest more general conclusions about a career or trend. The critical essay came into its own in Australia after the Second World War with the development of periodicals such as Nation (1958–1972), Meanjin (1947–), Overland (1954–), and Quadrant (1956–). However there were critical essays before this point: Tildesley contributed two – in 1930 and 1934 – to the leading Australian public affairs journal Australian Quarterly[37] Quadrant, for its part, published two survey articles on Australian film by Sylvia Lawson in the 1960s that were important to the eventual uptake of government support for film production. [38] Lawson’s own film reviewing for the fortnightly public affairs magazine, Nation, in the 1960s represented in its turn the kind of sustained, long-form film reviewing which brought the film review closer to the critical essay. A measure of this standing is that some of her review essays were later republished in Sydney Cinema Journal[39]

If the film review in Australia and elsewhere takes its rhetorical cues from, and initially occupies some of the same spaces as, the theatre review (high frequency general interest newspapers and magazines), then essayistic film criticism follows the long form criticism of literature and the visual arts, first taking root in the small magazines and periodicals, which were sometimes but not always related to these disciplines. The arrival of national broadsheet newspapers and their weekend arts liftouts would provide another space for critical essays on film. Some of the books published by Australian film critics – notably Hinde’s Other People’s Pictures and Martin’s Phantasms [40] – are themselves collections of extended critical essays.

The final third of Bordwell’s tripartite account of film criticism is “academic” criticism. Since King et. al. have dealt with this more extensively, and our history attends to the more “public” spaces of journalistic and essayistic film criticism, we will leave the Academic realm to others. But of course there can be no cordoning off of these institutional spheres from one another. The borders between each are porous. In the same way that accounts of academic film criticism necessarily touch on the other spaces – due to both the indistinguishability of boundaries and as an exercise in defining them – so too will our history of public spaces necessarily touch on academic criticism. For all the caveats that must be put in place, these typologies nevertheless remain a useful way of conceptualising distinctions between critical activities and audiences. The history of Australian film criticism is, as in other places, the story of the expansion of discourse on film from utilitarian journalism to other modes of engagement, and we will begin to outline the forces that produce such an opening out in the next section.

An important factor shaping film criticism is the changing trajectories of the screening and appreciation of cinema in Australia. What was available to see correlated with the available film criticism [41]. This is not only a matter of the limited kinds of films that were available for review, but also the contexts within which films were available and that audiences were encouraged to interact with them.

While the term screen culture is sometimes reserved for the more non-commercial aspects of screen – the screening of films in repertory circuits, film societies, film festivals, alternative venues and galleries, and the critical forms and spaces that attend to these – it is important to recognise that the mainstream commercial trade has played an active role in promoting and supporting screen culture, at least as it relates to the commercial cinema. Before moving on to discuss those spaces we more readily associate with “screen culture” it is worth pointing out that we can also consider the commercial film industry, its distribution and exhibition activities, as a “body” of sorts that produces and promotes a particular sort of film criticism suited to its purposes.

From the beginning of regular cinema exhibition the cinema trade has had an interest in the promulgation of film reviews alongside other information on recent releases. This strain of criticism manifested in the “fan” magazines, with their close ties to the studios and exhibitors, as well as the “trade” papers. These organs of commercial film culture were the first specialist film publications produced in Australia. Some fan magazines carried film reviews while others did not. However, reviews were a fixture in trade publications, such as Everyone’s (1920–1937) and Film Weekly (1926–1973). [42] While the primary audience for trade publications was, as now, film industry professionals, they have always had a broader uptake among film enthusiasts and have always afforded an important space for film reviewing. Film Weekly, for instance, was carrying in 1949 a separate section of the publication as “Showmen’s Box-Office Guide” with the by-line “Reviews based on Actual Performance” indicating its distinction from the marketing efforts of distributors.

We find that as the market for cinema develops, the range of cinema expands, including the range of ways in which films are used, and new venues of film criticism emerge in response to these opportunities. This process has also worked the other way, with Australian and international criticism helping audiences to understand that they were missing out on seeing – due either to lack of distribution or censorship – much that was best or most interesting in cinema, creating a demand that lead to new formations of distribution, exhibition, and reception. The history of Australian film criticism suggests that changing circumstances of release accompany changing patterns of film criticism.

Jill Julius Matthews [43] observes that there was no consideration of European avant-garde cinema in the writing of the Australian intellectuals in the 1920s and 1930s she had surveyed for the simple reason that the films were not available to them. The combination of this limited market dynamic and the general positioning of the cinema on public horizons meant that there was no extended market for film criticism attending exclusively to cinema as art or culture. Matthews contrasts this with the British situation where the journal Close Up (1927–1933) paid attention to the continental avant-garde. The Eisenstein, Cocteau, Vigo, and Buñuel films that were available in London were only added to the world of available cinema in Australia post World War Two. More in line with this British situation – and a reader of Close Up and the like in this period – was Ken Coldicutt, who notably toured films to raise money for the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War, occasionally wrote program notes on the films being screened, contributed in 1935 a critical essay on “Cinema and Capitalism” for the Melbourne University Labor magazine, Proletariat and imported Eisenstein’s Ten Days that Shook the World, much to the consternation of authorities. [44] This individual cineaste activity stands out against the broader screen culture of the time.

It is with the emergence of the first film societies in the 1930s that an alternative culture of reception becomes apparent. The nation’s first film society – the Film Society of Australia – was established in Sydney in 1931. [45] It provided a venue for the screening to its 200 or so members films that were deemed by the “trade” to be uncommercial, but nevertheless of sufficient quality or interest to warrant viewing. [46] However, this pioneering film society proved to be something of a false start. The Film Society of Australia closed when it ran out of films to screen for want of distribution pathways in to the country for such films. [47] [48]

Meanwhile Coldicutt’s sense of historical and political urgency provided sufficient impetus to overcome such barriers. As Williams states: “Coldicutt’s forte was the setting up of a network for screening, discussion and writing about film which later came under the aegis of the Realist Film Association”. [49] His political film writing and exhibition provided a model that would be adapted for the uses of more ecumenical film societies. [50] Despite this rocky beginning the early film society movement laid some of the groundwork for the significant opening up beyond the immediate commercial trade and its family pictures that follows the Second World War in Australia. The ideas of documentary, non-commercial, and partly commercial screenings gained significant purchase during the war and immediate post-war period, and along with this the kinds of things that could be done with cinema expanded. Films were to be for discussion, part of a cosmopolitan, intellectual, urbane orientation. [51]

In this post-Second World War period there was a more thoroughgoing development of film societies and the eventual launch of their close cousin, the film festival. [52] The documentation needs of semi-commercial and not-for-profit screen uses, coupled with tailoring for the film festival and film society program, created a need for a radically expanded ecology of film criticism. Australia had its first “serious” newsstand film magazines in this period; Monthly Film Guide (1948–1962) attended mainly to narrative cinema, while Film Monthly (1949-1952) attended mainly to “actualities”. The burgeoning film societies, particularly the university film societies, produced their own publications, notably Cinémathèque Annotations on Film (1957–) [53] and University Film Group Bulletin (1960–1970) out of Melbourne University, and Sydney University Film Group Bulletin (1956–1977) out of Sydney University. Standalone film journals also emerged from this period, with notable titles including Film Journal [54] (1956–1965), Film Digest [55] (1965–1967), and Sydney Cinema Journal [56] (1966–1968).

At the same time we see the emergence of an increasingly differentiated cinema product within mainstream cinemas. B movies are exhibited on the bottom half of double bills in single-screen cinemas and, from 1954, on the new drive-in screens. Television’s emergence offers a broadening of exhibition space and another opportunity for value-adding in the form of critical re-appraisal. From the late 60s Australian film criticism experienced a shift from a film appreciation principle to a film production principle as policy settings were changed to encourage a national cinema. Publications such as Lumiere (1970–1974), Cinema Papers (1969–1970; 1974–2001) and Filmnews (1971–1995) are characterised by this shift. From the early 1980s video store culture spawned various cults and their accompanying discourses, first in zine form and then online. Video also changed the character of existing publications as well as engendering new ones. The trajectory of Filmviews (1980–1988) from its initial affiliation with the Victorian Federation of Film Societies (film appreciation) to its eventual status as a semi-peer reviewed journal (film studies) seems to owe much to the video revolution. With all of this expansion and diversification of types of cinema that are available, we see the need for accompanying types and spaces of criticism to proliferate or transform.

In this “screen culture” section we have considered some of the forces that shape and produce film criticism, and that film criticism in turn shapes and produces. We have talked here of screen culture in terms of formal bodies and informal orientations that reciprocally foster and are fostered by certain types of film criticism. We have talked about how the picture trade engendered a particular type of film criticism in trade papers, and how this contributed to the exhibition and reception of a certain kind of cinema, namely commercial cinema. Conversely, the film societies and festivals have relied on different forms and spaces of film criticism to further their ends, creating these where they did not previously exist. But to speak of screen culture’s influence is to only partially describe the forces that shape film criticism. What is missing from this formulation is the force exerted by the media in which film criticisms appear, and this is the subject of our next section.

Film criticism is deeply embedded in the larger entities from which it draws its conditions of possibility. It is, as Meaghan Morris points out, a “signifying element” of the newspaper, magazine, TV, or radio service in which it appears. [57] Film reviewing was grafted onto a set of existing activities – the theatre review – in existing media containers. Therefore we must pay particular attention to these containers and the way in which they shape what sorts of film criticism have been available in Australia over time.

Scarcity and cost of paper, high production costs, and large capital and distribution barriers to entry characterised the print and typeset era of the first half of the 20th century, and these conditions produced a film criticism and review that was inevitably tightly constrained. It was mixed and hybrid: part extended criticism, part capsule review, part industry reportage, and part celebrity gossip. Film criticism would be cut to a length appropriate to its subsidiary status in these publications. These inevitably truncated film pages were designed to serve a variety of purposes and constituencies. Within Australia at the time none of them (apart from “fan” magazines or trade papers) were large enough as a market to be served with specialist publications. This started to change from the late 1940s.

A continuous trajectory of printing and distribution innovations over the next sixty years allowed lower barriers to entry, permitting print culture to diversify. At the more commercial end these changes made viable increased uses of colour and photography, and also generally lengthened publications, increasing the spaces for film criticism across a variety of new publications. At the less commercial end of publication, typesetting and printing became less labour intensive before giving way to computer word processing and desktop publication from the 1970s. Roneo printing enabled enthusiast-led production of film criticism, from “occasional publications” (bound with staples) to repertory or festival programming notes, through to journals and magazines.

These technological innovations made possible more specialist publications based on lower print runs, making viable forms of print culture that attended to tastes and orientations toward cinema other than those of a “mass”, “general” audience. These developments progressively decoupled the review from the advertising for the cinema. Increasingly publications emerged that positioned their reviews less as extensions of the marketing of films in those pages and more as extensions of the lifestyle and other orientations of the magazines and journals. These conditions enabled film criticism to take root in the literary journal and periodical, the weekend arts supplement of the broadsheets, and an increasingly diverse array of small magazines, as well as remaining firmly in place in its traditional home of the general interest local and national papers and magazines where the “news value” of the journalistic review held. We can talk of an explosion in the number and variety of film reviews in publications ranging from religious denomination weeklies, to fashion and lifestyle, to news and current affairs publications and programs.

It is perhaps misleading though to think of this movement as exclusively a story of specialisation; in fact “specialisation” resulted in dedicated film publications that instituted their own hybrids, either in deference to some ideal of generality or comprehensiveness, or due to economic pragmatism (or both). Cinema Papers (1974–2001) is indicative of the predominant model of the newsstand film magazine between the 1970s–1990s. These were somewhat akin to a TV variety show in that they were composites made up of “something for everyone”: film reviews, industry journalism, essays, “think pieces”, interviews with filmmakers. Such publications addressed a broad audience within their “cinema” bailiwick: film makers, “the industry”, students, academics, and the general punter with an interest in cinema. The distinction between Cinema Papers and its contemporary equivalents (FILMINK, Encore, Inside Film, Empire Australia) is the removal of the more academic/intellectual forms of film criticism from the equation.

At the same time the new media of the 1930s and 1950s – radio and television – underwent their own parallel transformations from the 1960s, becoming more diverse. Community radio developed from the mid-1970s, followed by FM and commercial FM. This diversification of the medium opened slots for film criticism of every stripe. Meanwhile TV underwent its own version of the same. In the mid-1960s Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide each got new commercial TV stations and in the 1980s a new national broadcaster, SBS, was rolled out around Australia. This increased variety and capacity enabled the development of national film criticism shows and segments: David Stratton and Margaret Pomeranz’s The Movie Show [58] (SBS 1986–2004) and later At the Movies (ABC 2004–2014); Peter Thompson’s high profile segment on Nine’s Sunday morning magazine format Sunday (1981–2008), and Bill Collins’s presentation of “classic” English language-films in successive positions at each of the free-to-air networks except for SBS (1960s-1980s) and on Foxtel cable television (1995–). SBS had its own version of these introductions, attending to art-house, foreign, and cult films. David Stratton has described his work in this space an attempt to institute “a sort of television film society”. [59]

Each of these trajectories in print, radio, and television share a common element. It was not until the late 1970s to early 1980s, with significant improvements in transport, logistics, and communications, that functional and integrated national markets for goods and services were in place in Australia. [60] These new circumstances meant that media would increasingly be marked by national audiences and national markets. This permitted the development of high-profile “movie shows” and their transition to prime time just as it effectively killed off the small scale programs that had developed intermittently in the major metropolitan markets for film criticism and review.

Now online is reworking the national and international scales. From publications featuring reviews such as Urban Cinephile (1997–) to those featuring critical essays and cinémathèque notes such as Senses of Cinema (1999–) there is film writing from Australia that is no longer reliant on this nation as its first and sustaining market. This development mirrors changes in international film production and distribution, and is a double-edged sword for the same reasons. Australian film criticism is open to new collaborators and audiences, but also faces increased competition. This leads us to our final point.

Criticism and review is always performed somewhere. The publications and programs within which film criticism appears are always produced from somewhere, for someone, and these audiences are situated in geographical space. Consequently we need to think about the geography of criticism in two complementary but distinct ways. First, there are Australian film criticism’s consumers and producers, and their propensity to be located in particular cities. Second, there is the profile or reach of publications, programs, and websites and the geographical scales within which they circulate, and for whom they are produced.

We see evidence of the local scale in the consumption of both films and reviews. Audiences in particular places see films in available exhibition spaces, perhaps basing their viewing decisions in part on the available reviews. We see this local scale also in the production of film criticism, when a newspaper or magazine, whose market is the city or proximate region, employs a local film critic to provide for that audience. Chris Mitchell, when he was editor of the Courier Mail, claimed that Des Partridge was the most effective film critic in Australia because he knew his audience [61] ; for all his film insight and literacy, The West Australian newspaper’s critic Mark Naglazas is little known outside of Perth. Critics have had a particular local or regional profile and appeal. [62] Meanwhile we see the national scale in the national coordination of film release by distributors and in the national releases of cinema chains. We see it in the films for which Australia is the initial or first market. We see it in the nationally circulated newspapers and magazines, and in the film criticism programming of national radio and TV networks. Critics such a Margaret Pomerantz and Julie Rigg, while working out of Sydney, have played at the level of the nation.

Yet film reviewing is nurtured not only by its readerships and viewerships, but also by the cultural milieu in which these critics move and work: the people they connect with and the face to face conversations they have; the industry people that provide feedback; and the cultural institutions that support and instigate critical activities. We can take Melbourne and Sydney as examples of how different cities produce different millieux that make for distinctive results in film criticism.

Melbourne has been the capital for film societies and its film festival was the first and most important of its type and scale (and continued to be until David Stratton took over Sydney’s in the late 1960s). Its film critics circle, the Australian Film Critics Association, admits members on the basis of quality of writing and critical acumen [63]. Melbourne University Film Society, established in 1948, became the nation’s first “cinémathèque” in 1984 [64]. Melbourne is where the Australian Film Institute was set up, and is now home to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. It is in Melbourne where we see Australia’s first film school set up at Swinburne. Melbourne has produced one off, short lived, or occasional roneoed newsletter publications and small magazines like The MacGuffin (1990–1997), [65] Stuffing (1987–1990), Cantrill’s Film Notes (1971–2000), Buff (1980–1981), and Freeze Frame (1987). Melbourne is also the home of publications that are inheritors to the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s tradition of film journals that pitch themselves to a “public” (not just professional academic) sphere of film discourse such as Metro (1974–), and the online journals Senses of Cinema, Screening the Past (1997–), and Rouge (2003–2009). We might call Melbourne the centre of an art and culture inflection to film criticism in Australia.

The publications of Sydney are largely in contrast to this. They have been more trade oriented. Its film critics circle, the Film Critics Circle of Australia, admits members on the basis of paid professionalism, having been initially established as something of a guild to protect the interests of “professional” film critics, largely journalists. [66] Sydney has been a trade publisher of books such as the collected Australian film criticism of Sandra Hall, and Sydney film critics are more likely to have books of their criticism published and to also write about the television business. Sydney is the base of the Variety stringers for Australia, who also cover the larger Asia pacific region. It is from Sydney that we are likely to see screenplays published. While Sydney dwarfs all other Australian capital cities in terms of film and adjacent media production [67] its efforts to establish a cinémathèque as a centre of film appreciation and culture – most prominently at the Museum of Contemporary Art in the 1990s – have foundered. [68] Sydney’s signature contribution to Australian film criticism, Filmnews, grew out of the experimental filmmakers co-op scene and was thus always adjacent to production and industry of a certain kind. Like Melbourne, Sydney has produced small magazines and journals (see the section on screen culture above) – just as Melbourne has produced publications in Lumiere and Cinema Papers that were largely concerned with the film industry – and both cities contribute to the market for Academic film criticism. However, in the aggregate, we might call Sydney a more industrially or commercially inflected producer of film criticism.

The other major Australian cities – Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth – have provided lower scaled opportunities for film critics and criticism. Each has sustained a certain level of locally oriented film criticism activity for local publications (newspapers, magazines), radio and sometimes TV; each has provided – through its festivals and program notes and cinémathèque screenings – opportunities for critical writing; each has provided commentators and critics inputting into Sydney and Melbourne-based programs and publications; and each has had significant academic concentrations of film and television related expertise at a tertiary level, which has contributed in various ways to making these cities centres at various times for academic film and television scholarship.

The logistics of print and territorial distribution has ensured that people based from these cities would often need to move to Sydney or Melbourne to be closer to the trade and the places of first release. However, as simultaneous release becomes more common, “the long tail” of filmmaking becomes more pronounced, and online environments become more important – not only for film information but also for film downloads – the scope to provide criticism and review from these places has grown. This has particularly been the case for that filmmaking which is less tied up with the immediate day and date release of the commercial cinema, with fan websites developing around communities of interest attending to genres such as anime and horror. [69]

Until recently, film criticism closely tracked the circulation and release of films to local and regional, nationally and internationally defined audiences. With film exhibition territorially-defined and spatially organised through often staggered release patterns throughout most of the 20th century and beyond, film reviewing came to be likewise organised. Consequently the overwhelming experience of film criticism on the part of consumers has been that provided by local and national actors. Film criticism was tailored in this way because the film criticism accessible to and desired by a film’s audience and prospective audience would be that closely connected to the day and date release of films. The circumstances of film criticism were therefore tied to the general availability of titles in particular places. It follows from this that as film release patterns and the circumstances of film exhibition change then the patterning, character and scope of film reviewing and its tailoring must also change. In an increasingly deterritorialised global film culture geography remains important but in a different way. Something of this future might be glimpsed with LOLA (2011–), which is jointly developed between Melbourne and Buffalo, New York by its editors (Adrian Martin and Girish Shambu), or with Screen Machine (2012–), which grew out of the student film and television studies scene at Monash University, Melbourne, but whose editors are currently working from Tokyo and Brisbane. While the material ties to Melbourne may be partial or tenuous for these publications, they both nevertheless conceive of themselves as following in a Melbourne film cultural tradition, and so are marked by this geography in an ongoing way.

In a history of Australian Film criticism it will be important to attend to the geography of film criticism and its audiences, particularly in light of the emergence of online publication and distribution, which has had implications for each of the ways of looking at Australian film criticism that we have discussed here. The potential for Australian film critics to reach international audiences has expanded, but so has the potential for international film critics to reach Australian audiences, lessening the purchase that local critics once had when speaking to their local market. However, looking back beyond the present changes wrought by new media, we have seen that film criticism is always repositioning itself within a changing media landscape.

In this paper we have not sought to document any particular period or aspect of the history of Australian film criticism. Rather, we have attended to this history by putting forward some categories for organising its examination, and shown that these can be useful in illustrating how and why Australian film criticism has changed over time. We have argued here that Australian film criticism is constituted through: its general relation to the cinema and the film world; the ways in which it is a bit of the medium in which it appears; and coloured by the particular places and spaces where this takes place. These findings are the result of looking at the institution of film criticism in Australia in a particular way, and we have proffered this “New Cinema History” approach as the most useful way forward for an in-depth study of the history of Australian film criticism to follow.


[1] Film reviews came first, and longer form criticism emerged over time. There are at least three candidates for the first film review in Australia. The earliest in the Sydney Morning Herald on 30 November 1894 reported on and reviewed a private screening of Edison Kinetoscope films and was published subsequent to their screening; another private screening of the first cinematographe film was reviewed in The Herald on the 18th August 1896; and in The Age in 24th August 1896 a public screening held in the Melbourne Opera House and staged by Carl Hertz was reviewed. See Jan Thurling, “Australian Film Critics: Then and Now”, 31 October 2011; and subsequent comments by Tony Martin-Jones. Accessed 14 January 2014.
[2] Noel King, Constantine Verevis, and Deane Williams. Australian Film Theory and Criticism vol 1 (Bristol Chicago: Intellect, 2013).
[3] King, Verevis and Williams’s book, Australian Film Theory and Criticism vol 1 (2013, p.91) sees itself as examining “the circumstances in which film studies arrived and for a time prospered in Australian tertiary education between 1975 and 1990”. It is concerned with how the Australian film theory and criticism of this period was: informed by its contemporaneous British, French and American currents; shaped by its location in specific pedagogical and institutional contexts in Australia; and, in coinciding with the Australian feature film revival, responded to this revival of filmmaking as a central matter of concern. The authors argue that this combination of elements gave rise to a new style of film criticism that acted as both a counterpoint and complement to the new academic discipline of film theory and criticism. Subsequent volumes will include interviews with film scholars and reprints of selected articles. For an extended discussion of this book as a work of intellectual history see Tom O’Regan, Review: Australian Film Theory and Criticism, Volume 1, Critical Positions, Screening the Past, Issue 38, 2013, Accessed 5 May 2014.
[4] Lee Grieveson and Haidee Wasson eds., Inventing Film Studies (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008).
[5] Jeffrey Klenotic, “Four Hours of Hootin’ and Hollerin’: Moviegoing and Everyday Life Outside the Movie Palace”, in Richard Maltby, Melvyn Stokes eds., Going to the Movies: Hollywood and the Social Experience of Cinema, Exeter: University of Exeter Press, pp.130-154.
[6] Richard Maltby, “Foreword”, in Karina Aveyard and Albert Moran eds, Watching Films: Perspectives on Movie-Going, Exhibition and Reception, Bristol: Intellect 2013, pp. xi-xii.
[7] The notion of the film critic as an intermediary is a refrain of a number of the Australian critics writing on their practice in Peter Malone’s 1994 book Worth Watching: Thirty Film Reviewers on Review (Richmond, Vic: Spectrum Publications, 1994). Malone’s exposition of the notion of intermediaries is, however, the most developed contribution. See pp. ix–xii.
[8] Richard Maltby, “New Cinema Histories.” In Explorations in New Cinema History: Approaches and Case Studies, edited by Richard Maltby, Daniël Biltereyst, and Philippe Meers. (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), p. 3.
[9] Noel Carroll, On Criticism, Thinking in Action (New York: Routledge,
[10] Alex Clayton and Andrew Klevan eds., The Language and Style of Film Criticism (Abingdon, Oxon; New York: Routledge), pp.1-2.
[11] See Lee Grieveson and Haidee Wasson eds., Inventing Film Studies and Dana Polan, Scenes of Instruction: the Beginnings of the US Study of Film (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007).
[12] We acknowledge that the use of the term “public” in the context of film criticism is problematic. As we outline in the next section, we use this term to refer to the journalistic review and critical essay spaces of film criticism, cordoning them off from film criticism’s more “academic” reaches. Of course academic film criticism and critics enters in to public spaces outside of the “ivory tower” of on-campus lectures and seminars and academic cinema journals, and equally there are reviews and essays that would seem hopelessly inaccessible or uninteresting in terms of both the object they address and the form and content of the writing to all but the cine-intellectual insider. Nevertheless, in their ambition to address a more generalised audience we believe it is useful to discuss the “public” spaces of film reviewing and essay writing apart from the oftentimes more exclusive and professionalised spaces of academic film criticism.
[13] Phillip Lopate ‘Introduction’, in P. Lopate ed., American Movie Critics: An Anthology from the Silents Until Now (New York: The Library of America) pp. xiii.
[14] Lopate, Ibid, p. xix.
[15] David Bordwell, Making Meaning: Inference and Rhetoric in the Interpretation of Cinema (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989).
[16] David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, Minding Movies: Observation on the Art, Craft, and Business of Filmmaking (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011)
[17] Monroe Beardsley, Aesthetics: Problems in the Philosophy of Criticism, 2nd ed. (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1958); Helen Gardner, The Business of Criticism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959); and Francis Sparshott, The Concept of Criticism: An Essay (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967).
[18] Tom O’Regan, (Australian National Cinema London: Routledge, 1996).
[19] From 1978 to 1985 Meaghan Morris worked primarily as a film reviewer for the Sydney Morning Herald and later The Australian Financial Review. See Meaghan Morris “Indigestion: A Rhetoric of Reviewing”, The Pirate’s Fiancee: Feminism, Reading, Postmodernism. (London: Verso, 1988) pp. 105–121. This is a republication of an article that first appeared as “Indigestion: A Rhetoric of Reviewing”, Filmnews, vol. 12 n. 6 (1982).
[20] Martin, Adrian and Rolando Caputo. 1985. “Adrian Martin and Rolando Caputo Look at Filmnews and the State of Film Criticism in Australia.” Filmnews 15,1&2: 6–9.
[21] See Adrian Martin, “S.O.S”, Continuum, vol 5, no. 2 (1992): 5-14.
[22] See Adrian Martin, Klaus Eder, Julie Rigg, Richard Kuipers, and Roslyn Petelin. 2005. Panel Discussion Transcript: “How Film Critics Work.” Undercurrent 1. April 2006. Accessed 22 December 2013.
[23] Adrian Danks, “Arrested Developments or from The Heroes are Tired to The Tomb of Ligeia: Some Notes on the Place of the Melbourne University Film Society in 1960s Film Culture.” Go! Melbourne: Melbourne in the 1960s. Seamus O’Hanlon and Tanja Luckins eds. (Beaconsfield: Melbourne Publishing Group, 2005).
[24] Barrett Hodson, Straight Roads and Crossed Lines: The Quest for Film Culture in Australia? (Shenton Park: Bernt Porridge Group, 2001)
[25] Adrian Martin, “No Flowers for the Cinephile.” Islands in the Stream: Myths of Place in Australian Culture. Paul Foss ed. (Leichhardt: Pluto Australia Limited, 1988)
[26] Jill Julius Matthews, “Beatrice Maude Tildesley Goes to the Pictures.” Screening the Past no. 16, 2004. Accessed 22 December 2013.
[27] Philip Mead, “Ut Cinema Poesis”, Networked Language: Culture & History in Australian Poetry (North Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2008) pp.30–86
[28] This was based on Hinde’s broadcasts over 1979-1980. John Hinde, Other People’s Pictures (Sydney: Australian Broadcasting Commission, 1981)
[29] See titles such as Geoff Brown ed., Alistair Cooke at the Movies (London: Allen Lane, 2009); Raymond Carney, ‘Film Criticism I: Kael, Kauffman, and Sarris’, Raritan: A Quarterly Review, vol 1 no. 2: 89-106 (1981); Robert Wilson ed., The film criticism of Otis Ferguson (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1971)
[30] For instance Emilie Bickerton, A Short History of Cahiers Du Cinéma (London: Verso, 2009); Jim Hillier ed., Cahiers Du Cinéma, the 1950s: Neo-realism, Hollywood, New Wave (London: British Film Institute, 1985).
[31]Sandra Hall, Critical Business: the New Australian Cinema in Review (Adelaide: Rigby Publishers, 1985).
[32] However, there are partial exceptions to this particularly in the area of independent experimental and “avant-garde” filmmaking. The advocacy of Albie Thoms, for instance, in his 1978 Polemics for a New Cinema (Glebe, N.S.W.: Wild & Woolley) served to both mark out the space of Thoms’ own distinctive practice as both a filmmaker and critic and to provide an overview of domains of Australian film making and developing what he saw as appropriate critical responses to it. The same could be said of Hall’s collection.
[33] Bordwell, Making Meaning, p.20.
[34] Bordwell, Minding Movies, pp.55-56.
[35] Ina Bertrand and William D. Routt, “The Big Bad Combine: Some Aspects of National Aspirations and International Constraints in the Australian Cinema”, The Australian Screen (1989) p.5, Albert Moran and Tom O’Regan eds.
[36] Bordwell, Ibid, p.60.
[37] See Beatrice Tildesley, “International Aspects of the Cinema”, The Australian Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 21 (1934), pp. 107-111; and Beatrice Tildesley, “The Cinema in Australia”, The Australian Quarterly, Vol. 2, No. 8 (1930), pp. 89-103.
[38] Sylvia Lawson, ‘Not for the Likes of Us’, Quadrant, May-June 1965, pp. 27-31; and ‘Australian Film, 1969’, Quadrant, December 1969, pp. 19-24.
[39]Sylvia Lawson, “Notes on Antonioni 1961-1966”, Sydney Cinema Journal, no.2 (Winter 1966): 9-18. Drawn from “L’Avventura, 1961” Nation, 26.8.1961; “La Notte, 1963”, Nation, 9.3.1963. Two other pieces – “L’Eclisse, 1964”; “L’Avventura: postscript 1966” -appear to be original works for the feature in Sydney Cinema Journal..
[40] Adrian Martin, Phantasms (Ringwood, Vic: McPhee Gribble, 1994).
[41] At least in terms of the criticism produced for the domestic market. Williams shows that Ken Coldicutt was reading, from the 1930s, international titles such as “Experimental Cinema, Close Up, Film, Film Art, Cinema Quarterly, [and] Sight and Sound. If not available on newsstands, such titles could have been subscribed to by the Australian cinephile devoted enough to seek them out. See Deane Williams ‘Screening Coldicutt: Introduction”, Screening the Past, n.2 (December 1997).
[42] We see such reviews for consumers continued through video rental and sell-through retail “in-house” give away magazines, as well on the pages of various cinema exhibitor websites such as Dendy and Palace; there is more of this as the cinema exhibitor advertising budget shifts online and to its own websites, away from daily newspapers
[43] Jill Julius Matthews, “Beatrice Maude Tildesley Goes to the Pictures.” Screening the Past no. 16, 2004. Accessed 22 December 2013.
[44] Williams, ‘Screening Coldicutt: Introduction”. See also Ken Coldicutt. “Cinema and capitalism”, Proletariat: University Labor Club magazine. (April-June 1935): 11-15. Reprinted in Screening the Past, n. 2 (December 1997)
[45] Jill Julius Matthews, Dance Hall and Picture Palace: Sydney’s Romance with Modernity (Sydney: Currency Press, 2005), p. 236.
[46] The Film Society of Australia had its own publication, Film Review, a “symposium of criticism: some articles culled from overseas magazines, and some notes written locally (Movie News Vol.1 No.7 1933, p.3)
[47] Matthews, “Beatrice Maude Tildesley Goes to the Pictures.” and Matthews, Dance Hall and Picture Palace: Sydney’s Romance with Modernity, pp.235-8.
[48] Another important early formation of non-commercial film culture was the amateur cine society. The Sydney Movie Makers’ Club was established in 1932, later becoming the Australian Amateur Cine Society. In its earliest iteration this body had a strong interest in all matters related to the cinema. It was as interested in Soviet film theory and prospects for the national cinema as it was in techniques for effective home movie-making. Its publication, Movie News, spoke of a group conversant with all levels of film discourse. However, in later decades, the group’s interests would narrow as film criticism, appreciation, and scholarship became their own formations located elsewhere.
[49] Williams, “Screening Coldicutt: Introduction”
[50] Prodos Internet Radio, The Story of Individuals: A Conversation with John Turner on the founding of the Australian Film Society Movement, ReelNews, n.92 (July 2011), pp. 2-5, 11. Transcript of a Radio Program.
[51] Politically, films became part of the recruitment practices and consciousness-raising of the left attracting the attention of the security services. See Williams, Screening Coldicutt: Introduction”; Prodos Internet Radio, The Story of Individuals. For a sustained discussion of security services interest in film societies and festivals see David McKnight, “Australian Film and the Cultural Cold War”, Media International Australia, n. 111 (May 2004), pp.118-130.
[52] Cathy Hope and Adam Dickerson, “‘Films for the intelligent layman’: the origins of the Sydney and Melbourne Film Festivals (1952-1958)”, Screening the Past, no. 19 (March 2006), ; “‘Ill-will with the trade’: The Sydney and Melbourne Film Festivals 1959 -1964” and “‘Separating the Sheep from the Goats’: The Sydney and Melbourne Film Festivals 1965-1972” both in Screening the Past, no. 20 (December 2006) , See also Kirsten Stephens, “See It at a Festival Near You: The Film Festival as Exhibition Practice in Melbourne, 1952-2012”, 2013, PhD Thesis, School of English, Communication and Performance Studies, Monash University.
[53] Cinémathèque Annotations on Film continues today as an element of online journal Senses of Cinema.
[54] The driving force behind Film Journal was James Merralls who was its editor and main writer for all but its final year of publication. Merralls also produced the first Annotations on Film.
[55] The film journals of the Workers’ Education Association, based in Sydney.
[56] In the same way that Film Journal had collegiate ties to but was notionally independent from Melbourne University Film Society, Sydney Cinema Journal was tied to Sydney University Film Group.
[57] Morris, “Indigestion: A Rhetoric of Reviewing”, p. 121.
[58] Though the first example of the format in Australia seems to have come much earlier in the form of Ivan Hutchinson and Jim Murphy’s Two on the Aisle (1971–1974) on HSV 7 in Melbourne.
[59] Huw Walmsley-Evans, “Crisis and Continuity: Film Criticism as a Cultural Institution”, 2013, PhD Thesis, School of English, Media Studies and Art History University of Queensland.
[60] Kevin O’Connor, Robert Stimson, Maurice Daly, Australia’s Changing Economic Geography: A Society Dividing, (South Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2001).
[61] Chris Mitchell, International Critics Symposium, Queensland Biennial Festival of Music, Brisbane Powerhouse 2001.
[62] While this localism has been an important factor historically, it has been in retreat of late. Des Partridge was not replaced when he retired from his position at the Courier Mail in 2010. The film reviews for all News Ltd. tabloids are now written by Leigh Paatsch and syndicated out of Melbourne. The Fairfax papers take the same approach, using a national stable of critics for uniform coverage where once each major city had its own critic(s) responding to local conditions. These strategies were introduced as a cost-cutting measure following the decline of newspaper revenues exacerbated by the global financial crisis of 2008.
[63] Walmsley-Evans, “Crisis and Continuity: Film Criticism as a Cultural Institution”. While this is the current policy of AFCA, the group purportedly shared some of the prejudices as its Sydney counterpart towards more academically inclined critics and criticism at its inauguration.
[64] Tina Kaufman, “At Last – a Cinematheque for Sydney?” Real Time (105), October–November (2011). Accessed 22 December 2013.
[65] The Macguffin ended its run as a periodical around this time but has an ongoing life as a website with continuous updates. See
[66] Walmsley-Evans, “Crisis and Continuity: Film Criticism as a Cultural Institution”.
[67] Tom O’Regan, Ben Goldsmith, Susan Ward, “Sydney’s Media Cluster: Continuity and Change in Film and Television.” In Media Clusters: Spatial Agglomeration and Content Capabilities, edited by Charlie Karlsson and Robert G. Picard, 199–222 (Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar, 2011).
[68] Kaufman, “At Last – a Cinematheque for Sydney?”.
[69] See for instance the review section of the Australian schlock horror site Digital Retribution:

About the Author

Tom O’Regan & Huw Walmsley-Evans

About the Authors

Tom O’Regan

Tom O’Regan (1956-2020) was Professor of Media and Cultural Studies in the School of English, Media Studies and Arts History at the University of Queensland. His books include Local Hollywood: Global Film Production and the Gold Coast (with Ben Goldsmith and Susan Ward), The Film Studio (with Ben Goldsmith), Australian National Cinema, and Australian Television Culture.

Huw Walmsley-Evans

Huw Walmsley-Evans teaches at the University of Queensland. He is the author of Film Criticism as a Cultural Institution (Routledge, 2019).View all posts by Tom O’Regan & Huw Walmsley-Evans →