THE WAGON AND THE STAR
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These are the remaining fragments of New Zealand’s second ‘talkie’ feature film and the only one produced by Southland Films Ltd. This film was made entirely in Southland and Fiordland and financed by local businesses. The screenplay was written by the director Mr J J W Pollard, then editor of the Southland Times. Cinematographer Lee Hill, and sound recordist Jack Welsh, were responsible for the technical aspects of the production, while musical director Howard Moody wrote two songs especially for it. The cast was drawn mainly from members of the Invercargill Operatic Society and filming took place during the latter half of 1935. Its world premiere was held at a gala event in the Regent Theatre Invercargill on July 16, 1936. The Southland Times noted that, “all the glamour attendant on a Hollywood first night surrounded the performance”.
According to a review in the Southland Daily News, “The plot is easily described. A young man is down and out - without a penny and with very little hope. An older man shares with him his small store of cash and his unlimited optimism and dry humour. Thus equipped he sets out to conquer life - to hitch his wagon to a star. The wagon, after an experience of work on the road to the Eglinton becomes a fleet of buses and eventually a concern controlling the transport and accommodation facilities of the South. The star to which it is hitched is early found in the daughter of a wealthy and gruff, but good-natured land owner”.
Another review commented that, “one is so apt to develop the habit of looking askance at New Zealand-made films that The Wagon and the Star does a good service in giving a wholesome lesson to the chronically sceptic”.
Ngā Taonga hold only part of this film, including out-takes, making it another of the lost features of early New Zealand cinema.
Reference number F560
Collection Film and Video Collection
Media type Moving Image
Place of Production NEW ZEALAND/AOTEAROA
Production company J W Pollard, Southland Films Ltd
John Hawthron: John Peake
Mary Tyson: Faye Hinchey
Andrew Henderson: W Buchan
Hubert Throstle: T R Vanity (aka Tom Pryde)
Peter Tyson: A F Grenfell
Aunt Harriet: Mrs Ac MacEwen
Anne: Miss Moira O’Neill
Director: John Pollard
Production: John Pollard
Original Screenplay: John Pollard
Photography: Lee M. Hill
Sound Engineer: Jack Welsh
Music: Howard Moody
Musical Direction: Howard Moody
Lyrics: Shaun O’Sullivan
Script Clerk: Betty Rutherford
Makeup: E Stewart
Casting: Lee M. Hill
Film Processing Supervisor: Jack Welsh