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Video clip synopsis – A post World War Two propaganda film warning of the threat to Australian democracy posed by the communist menace.
Year of production - 1952
Duration - 2min 34sec
Tags - democracy, DIY Doco, documentary genre, propaganda, see all tags



How to Download the Video Clip

To download a free copy of this Video Clip choose from the options below. These require the free Quicktime Player.

download clip icon Premium MP4 menace_pr.mp4 (18.9MB).

ipod icon Broadband MP4 menace_bb.mp4 (8.9MB), suitable for iPods and computer downloads.

Additional help.

About the Video Clip


This video clip is an excerpt from the 10 minute documentary film Menace produced in 1952.

Produced by the Department of Information for the Australian Film Board

Curriculum Focus



Students read and view texts that entertain, move, parody, investigate, analyse, argue and persuade. These texts may include documentaries that contain accessible but challenging issues that deal with local, national and international events. They explore personal, social, cultural and political issues of significance to the students’ own lives.

Students understand that readers and viewers may need to develop knowledge about particular events, issues and contexts to interpret texts.


When students write information or argument texts, they make appropriate selections of information from a few sources and attempt to synthesise and organise these in a logical way.

Students write imaginative texts in print and electronic mediums that contain personal, social and cultural ideas and issues related to their own lives and communities and their views of the expanding world.

These are extracts only. For further information please see The National Curriculum Statements for English.

Background Information


This post World War Two propaganda film was produced in 1952 by the Department of Information for the Australian Film Board. It was produced by Jack S. Allen and the original length is 10 minutes.

Menace warns the Australian people about the dangers of Communism, the ‘red tide’ sweeping the world. It tells the viewers that there is a growing communist menace in Australia that is threatening the hearts and minds of our youth.

In Menace communism is equated to slavery. The film presents images of thriving industry and a wonderful lifestyle in the West then contrasts these images with a depiction of poverty and destruction in the East.

It states that Democracy is ‘government by the people for the people’ and that communism means ‘slavery and you the individual have no rights’.

Classroom Activities


Propaganda and advocacy documentary
Propaganda and advocacy films are made to influence the viewer to a particular point of view and not just to provide information. Many of these films are commissioned by organisations and governments.

Menace was produced in 1952 by the Department of Information for the Australian Film Board.

  1. View the video clip for the first time with the sound muted and construct a shot list e.g. shots of Paris, London, New York.
  2. Based on the images only, write in a paragraph what you think the producer is trying to tell the viewer
  3. View the video clip with the sound and compare the stated message to your impressions when the sound was muted.
  4. Who or what is the ‘menace’ of the film?
  5. List three film techniques that let the viewer know they are watching an old style documentary.

Often a documentary will use narration to help tell the film’s story. Voice over narration can be in ‘third person’ (using ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘they’) or in ‘first person’ (using ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘my’). Narration works well when the sentences are simple. It is not a good idea to try to get across too many ideas in one sentence. Narration can enhance the mood of the documentary. It is important that the filmmaker decides on the voice and style of narration before the writing process begins.

  1. View the video clip several times and construct a two-columned table with a Shot list (list of each scene – or series of shots) and Narration. eg. Shot – Sydney, Paris, New York, London. Narration – Let’s take a look at the cities of our free world…
  2. Discuss the following questions about the narration of Menace
    1. Why do you think the filmmaker chose an older male voice?
    2. How does the voice sound? e.g nervous, sympathetic?
    3. How does the narration reinforce the images and message?
    4. What effect does the choice of narrator have on Menace?
    5. If the narrator was a teenage girl, do you think that it would have the same effect?

DIY propaganda or advocacy film

  1. Choose a message from the following, or create your own, and construct a shot list of nine shots or sketch a storyboard then write your narration to suit the images and your message.
    1. Vegetarianism is the only way.
    2. Sport should be compulsory for all students.
    3. Students must be careful of deadly germs in the air.
  2. Write a 500-word pitch for a producer that includes
    1. title of your documentary
    2. message
    3. intended audience
    4. location
    5. subjects
    6. description of what happens
    7. suggested music
    8. cost
    9. how long it would take to film

Further Resources


Go to the DIY DOCO website