Lyceum Theatre, Sydney: The Overlanders premiere

Lyceum Theatre, Sydney: The Overlanders premiere
Cinesound Movietone Productions
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A Cinesound Review newsreel story about the premiere of UK-Australian film The Overlanders at the Lyceum Theatre in Sydney on 27 September 1946.

Seen in this clip are some of the film's stars – John Nugent Hayward and Helen Grieve – as well as visiting American radio broadcaster Norman Corwin, Dutch director Joris Ivens, artist William Dobell with Mrs Chips Rafferty, journalist David McNicoll, the ABC's Charles Moses and Herc McIntyre of Universal Pictures.

Actor Ron Randell, star of the recent biopic Smithy (Ken G Hall, Australia, 1946) about Charles Kingsford Smith, is besieged by autograph hunters.

The Overlanders was made in Australia by English director Harry Watt for Ealing Studios, at the request of the Australian Government. It starred Chips Rafferty as a drover who undertakes an epic cattle run across Australia during the Second World War, assisted by a motley crew.

The Overlanders was an unprecedented box-office hit at the Lyceum (and wherever it played), continuing its run into February 1947.

The Lyceum Theatre in Sydney's Pitt Street opened in 1892 and screened the first Lumière productions in 1896. Rebuilt and reopened in 1918 as Hoyts Lyceum Theatre, it showed a number of notable Australian silent and talking pictures as part of its program.

It was refurbished in a New Deco style as the New Lyceum Theatre (now managed by Greater Union) in 1941. The cinema was closed for two years by fire in the mid-1960s and then closed its doors in 1987. Today, the site is part of the Wesley Centre, which opened after extensive renovations in 1991.

Notes by Stephen Groenewegen