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The Sentimental Bloke Film

Video clip synopsis – The classic 1919 silent movie The Sentimental Bloke is regarded as one of the greatest Australian films.
Year of production - 2004
Duration - 5min 0sec
Tags - documentary genre, filmmaking, language, media, media production, media text, representations, see all tags


The Sentimental Bloke Film

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About the Video Clip


The Sentimental Bloke is an episode of the series National Treasures produced in 2004.

The Sentimental Bloke
The classic 1919 silent movie The Sentimental Bloke is regarded as one of the greatest Australian films.

National Treasures
Take a road-trip of discovery with the irrepressible Warren Brown – political cartoonist, columnist and history “tragic” – as he reveals a fascinating mix of national treasures drawn from public and private collections across Australia. On its own, each treasure is a priceless snapshot of an historic moment. Together, they illustrate the vitality and uniqueness of the Australian experience.

National Treasures is a Film Australia National Interest Program. Produced with the assistance of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Curriculum Focus


Outcomes from this module
Students will:

  • learn about the significance of The Sentimental Bloke to Australian film history
  • learn about the production conventions and codes of early Australian films
  • analyse the codes and conventions of contemporary documentary film
  • critically analyse how Australian identity is contructed in films
  • express their ideas through media forms and gain self-confidence and communication skills through that expression

Key Concept: Media Language
Media Languages are systems of signs and symbols organised through codes and conventions to create meaning in narrative and genre conventions in media production and use.

Curriculum links

This clip is relevant to year 11 and 12 students studying:

VIC- VCE Media Studies: Units 1, 2 and 4.
WA- The Arts/Media: Contexts, Exploring, Responding and Reflecting:
QLD- Film, Television and New Media: Technologies, Representations, Audiences, Institutions and Languages
SA- VET Broadcasting and Multimedia

Go to senior years Media Studies curricula in your state or territory for specific outcomes

Background Information


The Sentimental Bloke (1919) is an Australian silent film based on the 1915 Australian book The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke by C.J. Dennis.

The 'sentimental bloke’ is a Melbourne larrikin, who vows to abandon his life of gambling and drinking when he falls in love with Doreen, who works in a pickle factory. In the book we also meet Ginger Mick, the Bloke’s mate. The narrative poems in the book describe various episodes and incidents in the group’s lives and relationships. One story is based around the Bloke and Doreen going to a play, Romeo and Juliet, with Doreen identifying with the romance, while the Bloke admires the fight scenes more:

Nex’ minnit there’s a reel ole ding-dong go -—
'Arf round or so.
Mick Curio, 'e gets it in the neck,
“Ar rats!” 'e sez, an’ passes in 'is check.

Quite natchril, Romeo gits wet as 'ell.
“It’s me or you!” 'e 'owls, an’ wiv a yell,
Plunks Tyball through the gizzard wiv 'is sword,
'Ow I ongcored!
“Put in the boot!” I sez. “Put in the boot!”
“'Ush!” sez Doreen . . . “Shame!” sez some silly coot.

The poems are written in the vernacular of the street gangs and working class of the day, and can be very difficult for students to understand without translations.

The film was made by Raymond Longford and Lottie Lyell, at the time best-known partnership in Australian cinema, and was filmed mainly in the inner city Sydney suburb of Woolloomooloo.

The Sentimental Bloke uses intertitles taken from the original poem written in Australian slang and was a hit when it opened in Melbourne, breaking all existing box office records. It was also popular in Britain and New Zealand, but did not succeed in the US, where test audiences failed to understand the language.

The film was rediscovered in the 1950s and a new print screened at the Sydney Film Festival in 1955. Longford was found to be working as a night watchman on the Sydney wharfs.

Since then the original negative sent to the US was discovered and found to be of a better quality print than any of the Australian copies. The new version premiered at the 2004 Sydney Film Festival and has played at the 2005 London Film Festival.

Classroom Activities


Analyse the film

  1. Some people argue that it is very important to preserve historical art works such as The Sentimental Bloke, while others have argued that these things are meant to just capture a moment and then be lost. What do you think?
  2. Looking at the original footage of The Sentimental Bloke, what can you say about about the following production elements?
    1. Camera Angles
    2. Lighting
    3. Editing
    4. Acting
    5. Why do you think coloured filters/tints have been applied to some scenes?
  3. The Sentimental Bloke captures or represents Australian identity in 1919.
    1. Can you think of a recent film or television show that does the same today?
    2. How does that film or show represent Australia and/or Australian identity?
    3. How does it show the cultural/political/social makeup of ordinary Australians?
    4. What issues do they show as important to Australians?
    5. What do you think it will reveal about Australian society to a viewer in 100 years time?
  4. How effective is Warren Brown’s introduction to the documentary? How do documentaries ‘set up’ audiences to capture their interest? Discuss the modern documentary codes and conventions the film makers employ- for example :
    1. Warren’s to camera introduction to the film
    2. the use of clips from the film- on what criteria do they appear to have been chosen?
    3. Warren’s narration over the clips
    4. the use of fast motion in the Screen Sound segment
    5. the interview with Ray Edmondson


  1. Create a two minute video clip, powerpoint display or montage of still images representing what a typical Australian means to you. Remember to avoid clichés and stereotypes at all cost. This is about a personal representation of Australians.
  2. Create a short documentary video clip profiling your favourite film. You can research its production and history using the Internet and film studies texts. If footage is available copyright free, include relevant scenes and shots.

Further Resources


For more National Treasures information and video clips go to the Investigating National Treasures website.

Go to Screen Education for excellent articles and study guides focusing on all aspects of Australian film.

For information about Raymond Longford and Lottie Lyall go to William Drew’s Film Education.

For more detailed information about the Sentimental Bloke go to The Australian Film Commission

Go to Screen Education for excellent articles and study guides focussing on all aspects of media teaching.

Read Media 1 by Roger Dunscombe, Melinda Anastasios- Roberts, Juliet Francis, Karen Koch, George Lekatsas and Nick Ouchtomsky and Media 2 by Roger Dunscombe, Melinda Anastasios-Roberts, Kevin Tibaldi and Andrew Hyde. Heinemann Harcourt Education, Port Melbourne, 2007. Go to the books online at Heinemann Media for more detail.

Read Nelson Media VCE Units 1— 4 by Jo Flack, Thomson Learning, Australia, 2005.