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A community comedy set in Dunedin. The arrogant Freddy Fishface causes trouble trying to woo the pretty school teacher from Dogtown. His efforts are no match for the romantic “he-shiek” Bill Cowcocky.

“Community Films used a stock script with a simple story that could be filmed quite cheaply against a background of familiar beauty spots with a cast of local players. By travelling from town to town in the silent days, producers could make the same film over and over again relying on local interest to make the venture profitable. The idea of making such community films originated in America and came to New Zealand via Australia early in 1928. The script called for a leading lady, a hero, a comedian villain, and as many local people as could be fitted into the crowd scenes.” - Clive Sowry, April 1994.


“The Dunedin public has shown a great deal of interest in the filming of “A DAUGHTER OF DUNEDIN” which is the first screen story to have been made in this city and which will make its first public appearance at Everybody’s Theatre today, and it is confidently expected that the interest will not only be maintained, but greatly increased during the picture’s season. Enterprise in the film industry has been sadly lacking in the Dominion in the past, and Mr Rudall Hayward, the producer of this film, may rightly be called a pioneer in the business as far as the South Island is concerned at least. It is very probable that this initial effort will result in further pictures being made in Dunedin, and there is no doubt that they will be eagerly awaited. The principals in the picture, a private screening of which was witnessed last evening by a Daily Times reporter, are well known locally. They are Miss Dale Austin, Dunedin’s own “movie” star, Mr Norman Scurr and Mr “Tiff” Bennett. Miss Austin holds the role of a school teacher from “Dogtown” with great credit to herself, while Mr Scurr is seen as Freddie Fishface, a reporter. As Bill Cowcockeye, a farmer, on a visit to town, Mr Bennett makes an excellent hero. The first scene depicts Dunedin in the neighbourhood of the Stock Exchange with its street almost bare of people. There follows the arrival of the heroine and her reception by Freddie, who “does the honours” in his own inimitable fashion. Though the latter’s depiction of the private life of a newspaper reporter is scarcely true to fact, it serves the required purpose admirably, for a better comic villain would be hard to find. Immediately after the meeting of the heroine and the meeting of the heroine and the potential villain there comes on the scene the hero --- Bill, in leggings and other trappings which advertise his vocation --- and from that point a fierce rivalry comes into being. Both men stand for election to the committee of the school where the girl teaches, and Freddie, seeing defeat staring him in the face, causes the evening newspaper to print a fictitious report in which his rival is depicted as a thief.
His efforts are not successful, however, for Bill is elected by a large majority. So Freddie is forced to take more drastic action. Luring the heroine to a local garage, he steals a car and kidnaps her. Bill is told of this, and he and his friends who have come to town for the election “to see that the eggs used are fresh ones,” set off in hot pursuit on horseback, and then follows a stirring chase on the Tomahawk road. Finally, of course, retribution falls heavily upon the villain, and Bill is restored to his adored one with his fair name happily cleared at the right moment. Despised and thoroughly disgusted with life, Freddie decides upon suicide, but even that is denied him, for there is insufficient water in the Leith for his fell purpose. There is not a great deal in the story, but at the same time, it is sufficient to hold the interest and provide genuine entertainment. Perhaps the most notable feature of the film, as far as Dunedin residents are concerned, is the variety of views of familiar places. In addition, not a few local residents will be gratified to find themselves appearing in a real picture. The remainder of the programme is extremely interesting, and a fine programme of music will be supplied.” - The Daily Times, 29 November, 1928.

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Year 1928

Reference number F20390

Collection Film and Video Collection

Media type Moving Image

Place of Production NEW ZEALAND/AOTEAROA

Duration 0:35:00

Production company Rudall C. Hayward

Credits Writer: Rudall Hayward
Produced: Rudall Hayward
Photography: Rudall Hayward
Starring: Dale Austen
Starring: Norman Scurr
Starring: Tiff” Bennett

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