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Fragments, believed to be from the “Motion Picture Bathing Beauty Contest” organised in conjunction with the Grand Theatre, Auckland, to discover Auckland’s most beautiful bathing girl, showing six competitors in bathing costumes.

Filming of the contestants took place at Shelly Beach, Auckland, on Saturday, February 14, and also (possibly at other locations) on Sunday, February 15, 1925. The “N.Z. Herald” reported that “the services of Mr. Rudall Hayward, motion picture producer, and Mr. Frank Stewart, an expert cinematographer, were secured to conduct the competition.”

At that time Hayward was preparing to film “Rewi’s Last Stand” for Maori War Films, Ltd. The cameraman for this feature film was Frank Stewart. The first of the “bathing beauty” contestants depicted appears to be Nola Casselli, who was chosen to play the role of Cecily Wake in “Rewi’s Last Stand”. Might this contest have been a form of screen test? The “Motion Picture Bathing Beauty Contest” film was screened at the Grand Theatre, Auckland, from February 17, 1925, and voting papers were distributed to enable the audience to act as judges. The leading candidate prior to the last night of voting was “Miss Rua, of Milford” (possibly a pseudonym) with 682 votes, 81 ahead of her nearest rival, but no record has been found identifying the eventual winner.
- Clive Sowry Report December 2007

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Year 1925

Reference number F5007

Collection Film and Video Collection

Media type Moving Image

Place of Production NEW ZEALAND/AOTEAROA

Genre Actuality

Duration 0:00:58

Credits Camera: [Frank Stewart]
Producer: Rudall Hayward

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