As we enter the 'Talkies' era of sound, films that specifically reflect religious themes during the post-depression, post-war period are sparse. Was the church scared to sound like a soapbox salesman?


The Silence of Dean Maitland
(1935)Ken J Hall [97mins]
'Dean Maitland, a clergyman, denies any responsibility for the pregnancy of his girlfriend and the death of her father. He stands by while his best friend is convicted and sent to jail for twenty years for a crime Maitland knows he did not commit.' (see 1914 entry) (1)

Sons of Matthew
(1949) Charles Chauvel [107mins]
While one may not consider this film specifically religious, Sons of Matthew does contain themes that verge on the biblical. The opening titles contain a quote attributed to Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew about the man who builds his house on a rock. This epic story traces the lives of an Australian pioneer family - the O'Riordan's - over three generations. We see Matthew's sons grow from boys to men, who then set off to 'establish a home on the wild Lamington plateau, deep in the mountainous rainforest of Queensland. There they fight against the jungle and the elements, and gradually establish a hold on the land... The story of making the film was itself a tale of great perseverance in the face of formidable physical odds'. (2)

 


Sources:
1) Peter Tapp (ed.) & James Sabine (a. ed.) Australian Feature Films on CD-Rom. Informit, RMIT: Melbourne. 1995.
2) Andrew Pike & Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900-1977 - A guide to feature film production. Oxford University Press: Melbourne. 1981. pp. 273