Thunder of Silence

Last updated

"Thunder of Silence"
Shell Presents episode
Thunder of Silence.png
Ad from SMH 22 Aug 1959
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 6
Directed by David Cahill
Teleplay by Stewart Stern
Produced by Brett Porter
Original air date22 August 1959 (Sydney, live) [1]
28 November 1959 (Melbourne, recording)
Guest appearance(s)

John Meillon

Episode chronology
 Previous
"The Big Day"
Next 
"Ruth"

"Thunder of Silence" is an episode of the 1959 Australian TV drama anthology Shell Presents , and the fourth made in Sydney. It was based on an American play by Stewart Stern which had been produced in the US with Paul Newman and Inger Stevens. [2] [3]

Contents

John Meillon played the lead. [4] Australian TV drama was relatively rare at the time. [5]

Plot

In the American mid-west, a middle aged farmer (John Tate) and his wife (Marion Johns) give shelter to a refugee from Europe (Richard Davies) and his daughter (Marion Johns). The refugee and the farmer have very different personalities and struggle to understand each other. The situation is resolved by the return of Everett (John Meillon), the farming couple's wandering son.

Cast

Production

Stewart Stern based the play on the reallife experiences of farmers in Maryland who took in refugees from Europe. [6]

Stewart Stern wrote a letter from the USA wishing good luck to everyone connected to the play, and passing on ideas from Paul Newman as to how the role of Everett (the part he played on US TV) should be performed. [7] [6] The letter was read out to the cast the night before the show was recorded. Producer Brett Porter said, "'these words from the author seemed to clarify everyone's conception of the play itself, and they went on to give what I firmly believe is the best production yet in the series." [8]

The play was filmed at ATN-7's studios in Epping. A tape recording was sent to Stern in the US. [9]

Porter said, "I hope that showing this film, to people like Stern and Newman will prove to people in America that we have, in Australia, actors equal to the best in the world." [8]

Margot Carrigan was in Take a Chance on ATN. [10]

Reception

The TV critic from the Sydney Morning Herald thought the play treated the theme "in the terms of a paperbacked women's novelette" with "sticky flood of sentimentality" and "naive philosophising" but thought Million "did very well to give a tense of life and vitality to a character whose motivation was obscure and whose dialogue, at times, was impossibly trite. Most of the time, his part sounded as though it had been written for James Dean by Ernest Hemingway—with neither of them at their best... David Cahill's direction was fluent and uncluttered." [11]

The TV critic for The Age praised the production's "sound musical judgement" and opening documentary footage of refugees being vetted though felt Meillon "was much too preoccupied wrestling with the American accent" and although felt the play "was good entertainment" wondered why it was not adapted to be set in Australia. [12]

Meillon's performance led to his casting in A Tongue of Silver . [13]

See also

Related Research Articles

The Story of Peter Grey was an Australian television daytime soap opera produced by the Seven Network in 1961. James Condon starred in the title role as a church minister, with other cast members including Thelma Scott, Lynne Murphy, Moya O'Sullivan. Produced at ATN-7 studio's in Sydney, the series had a run of 156 fifteen-minute episodes, and was in black and white.

<i>Shell Presents</i> television series

Shell Presents was an early attempt at Australian television drama, being an umbrella title for several different productions. It debuted on April 4, 1959, and aired on ATN-7 and GTV-9, who split production of plays for the series between them. It was an anthology series, each program being a self-contained play for television. The series won a Logie award in 1960 for TV Highlight Of 1959. As the title suggests, it was sponsored by Shell.

Reflections in Dark Glasses 12th episode of the first season of Shell Presents

Reflections in Dark Glasses is an Australian television film, or rather a television play, which aired in 1960. It aired as part of Shell Presents, which consisted of monthly presentations of stand-alone television dramas. It was written by Sydney writer James Workman, and is notable as an early example of Australian-written television drama. It was broadcast live in Sydney, then recorded and shown in Melbourne.

They Were Big, They Were Blue, They Were Beautiful 4th episode of the first season of Shell Presents

They Were Big, They Were Blue, They Were Beautiful is an Australian television movie, or rather a live television play, which aired in 1959. It aired as part of Shell Presents, a monthly presentation of standalone productions which aired from 1959 to 1960 on ATN-7 in Sydney and GTV-9 in Melbourne. Australian TV drama was relatively rare at the time.

The Big Day (1959 film) 5th episode of the first season of Shell Presents

The Big Day is an Australian television film, or rather a live television play, which aired in 1959. The fifth episode of the Shell Presents presentations of standalone television dramas, it originally aired 11 July 1959 on Melbourne station GTV-9, a video-tape was made of the broadcast and shown on Sydney station ATN-7 on 25 July 1959.

Shadow of a Pale Horse was a television play written by Bruce Stewart which was produced for British, US and Australian TV.

<i>Rope</i> (1957 film) 1957 television film directed by William Sterling

Rope is a 1957 Australian television film based on the play Rope by Patrick Hamilton. It was presented in real time.

<i>The Sergeant from Burralee</i> 1961Australian television play

The Sergeant from Burralee is an Australian television play written by Phillip Grenville Mann.

The Recruiting Officer is a 1965 Australian television production based on the famous play The Recruiting Officer, which was the first play ever performed in Australia.

Johnny Belinda (1959 film) 1st episode of the first season of Shell Presents

Johnny Belinda was a 1959 Australian TV adaptation of the 1940 play by Elmer Harris which had been filmed in 1948. It was the first "live" one hour drama on commercial television in Australia.

"Tragedy In A Temporary Town" is a 1959 episode of the Australian anthology drama show Shell Presents starring Michael Pate. It was filmed "live" in Melbourne, then recorded and broadcast in Sydney. It was the third episode of Shell Presents and the first shot in Melbourne.

<i>Pardon Miss Westcott</i> 10th episode of the first season of Shell Presents

Pardon Miss Westcott is a 1959 Australian TV play as part of the ATN-7 show, Shell Presents. It was a musical set in colonial Australia and was broadcast live. It was Australia's first television musical comedy.

Other Peoples Houses 2nd episode of the first season of Shell Presents

Other People's Houses is the second episode of the 1959 Australian TV drama anthology Shell Presents. It was based on a play by Tad Mosel and starred Diana Perryman and was directed by David Cahill. Australian TV drama was relatively rare at the time.

A Tongue of Silver 8th episode of the first season of Shell Presents

A Tongue of Silver is an episode of the 1959 Australian TV drama anthology Shell Presents. Australian TV drama was relatively rare at the time.

The Grey Nurse Said Nothing is a television play written by Sumner Locke Elliott. It was based on the Shark Arm case.

Wuthering Heights is a 1959 Australian television play adapted from Emily Brontë's 1847 novel Wuthering Heights. It was directed by Alan Burke and based on a script by Nigel Kneale which had been filmed by the BBC in 1953 in a TV play starring Richard Todd. It was made at a time when Australian drama production was rare.

A Private Island is a 1964 Australian television play. It was written by Brisbane author Chris Gardner and was directed by Henri Safran. Australian TV drama was relatively rare at the time.

Rope (1959 film) Australian TV play

Rope is a 1959 Australian TV play based on the play by Patrick Hamilton. It was part of Shell Presents.

Ruth (film) 7th episode of the first season of Shell Presents

Ruth is an Australian TV play. It was presented as part of the Shell Presents program and starred Lyndall Barbour. It was written by John Glennon, an American actor who appeared in the production.

Thunder on Sycamore Street 3rd episode of the first season of The General Motors Hour

Thunder on Sycamore Street is a 1960 Australian television play directed by David Cahill. It was based on a script by Reginald Rose. Australian TV drama was relatively rare at the time.

References

  1. "TV Guide". Sydney Morning Herald. 17 August 1959. p. 17.
  2. "Local plays capture big audiences". Sydney Morning Herald. 20 July 1959. p. 19.
  3. "TV Highlights". The Biz . New South Wales, Australia. 19 August 1959. p. 6. Retrieved 14 September 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  4. "TV Highlights". The Biz . New South Wales, Australia. 19 August 1959. p. 6. Retrieved 19 May 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  5. Vagg, Stephen (18 February 2019). "60 Australian TV Plays of the 1950s & '60s". Filmink.
  6. 1 2 "Film of TV Drama Flown to Author in USA". The Age. 26 November 1959. p. 27.
  7. "Migrants in US Play". Sydney Morning Herald. 17 August 1959. p. 15.
  8. 1 2 "New TV drama on ATN 7". Sydney Morning Herald. 22 August 1959. p. 4.
  9. "Film of TV Drama Flown to Author in USA". The Age. 26 November 1959. p. 14.
  10. "TV Highlights". The Biz . New South Wales, Australia. 19 August 1959. p. 6. Retrieved 6 September 2020 via National Library of Australia.
  11. ""Thunder of Silence" on television". Sydney Morning Herald. 24 August 1959. p. 22.
  12. "Moldau sets the mood in moving drama about DPs". The Age. 3 December 1959. p. 14.
  13. "Women dominate cast". Sydney Morning Herald. 14 September 1959. p. 13.