The McDonagh Sisters: Introducing Isobel, Phyllis and Paulette

The McDonagh Sisters: Introducing Isobel, Phyllis and Paulette
Australian Film Television and Radio School
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This excerpt from the Rebecca Barry documentary The McDonagh Sisters (2003) introduces us to Isabel, Phyllis and Paulette McDonagh.

In the 1920s, these three sisters became the first Australian women to own and run their own film production company.

This clip effectively conveys a wealth of information in a short time. It incorporates several techniques: archival photographs and clips, voice-over narration (by Rachel Ward) and a sepia-toned re-enactment of the sisters filming.

Though brief, the re-enactment sets a vibrant 1920s mood through the use of fashion and decor. It also places the sisters in a setting that implies wealth, without needing to spell it out.

The voices of interviewees Graham Shirley and Marilyn Dooley add context around the changing roles of women in the 1920s.

Overall, the clip gives us a sense of the sisters' brilliance, eccentricities, resourcefulness and remarkable achievements.