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The first "gum-leaf mafia" : Australians in Hollywood 1915-1925
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Marie DelamoirMarie Delamoir
December 2002: After the Film and History Conference in Adelaide, I am flying home, having given my paper on Australians in early (1915-1925) Hollywood. I flip through the airline magazine and am amused to find an article about Australians in today's Hollywood. "Aussies are making it big in Hollywood, winning awards and demanding huge fees," declares the lead-in. "But are they just the flavour of the month or a much needed shot of fresh talent?" The article mentions a dozen "Australian actors who now wield serious clout in the moviemaking mecca," continuing: "Hollywood's tv biz is also awash with the spawn of the antipodean talent pool."  The article neatly encapsulates the issues and attitudes that I have found in contemporary coverage of the earlier Australian presence in Hollywood. There's national pride ("making it big in Hollywood"), but also a tortured concern for what this success might say about Australia's place in the world ("are they just the flavour of the month?"). The tensions between local and global are as clear in the Qantas article as they were in commentaries from the teens and twenties of the twentieth century.