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Exhibition Loop

Short Film (Full Length) – 1947

Spotting the NFU Talent

Though less than three minutes long, Exhibition Loop offers a rare chance to witness many of the key players at the National Film Unit in action.

In the first scene, the man behind the camera asking for a retake is the late Stan Wemyss. Wemyss later helped found commercials company Peach Wemyss, and was quoted as an inspiration when his grandson Russell Crowe went on stage to receive an Oscar for Gladiator. Directing in the studio is Michael Forlong [0.00 - 0.45 - Close-up at 0.32], who moved to England a few years later and spent most of the remainder of his filmmaking career there. 

The man on the telephone [0.49 - 0.53]  is veteran NFU director/producer Oxley Hughan. The two shot which follows is of future longtime NFU boss Geoffrey Scott (standing) and inaugural NFU boss Stanhope Andrews (sitting). Andrews was a key force in the creation of the NFU, though he quit in 1950, complaining that the Unit had been increasingly fenced in by administrative requirements. In the group shot [0.58 - 1.04] Government filmmaking veteran Cyril Morton sits at the left of frame. Morton had joined the NFU's predessor the Government Publicity Office as a cameraman, back in 1923; he retired from the NFU 40 years later.

NFU director Cecil Holmes is the man at right of frame, who walks off at the end of the shot. The year after this film was made, Holmes won notoriety after PM Walter Nash released documents found inside Holmes' satchel, implicating him as a Communist. He was reinstated at the NFU after legal action by the PSA, but departed permanently for Australia in 1949, where he would direct three features.

In the next group shot, Holmes walks in to confer with NFU cameraman Roger Mirams [1.06 - 1.20]. Mirams is initially holding the booklet, in the pinstripe suit and slicked back hair. He would later go on to co-found legendary film company Pacific Films, with John O'Shea.

In the next shot, Morton and Mirams are filming on location.

The man in the white coat [1.34 - 1.37] is NFU laboratory head Jack Ashley. At 2.16, Exhibition Loop’s narrator Rex Walden introduces an image of himself, sitting lit by a desk lamp.