The classic Australian surf movie from the 1970’s, “Morning of the Earth” has become a massive theatre production.


ALBE FALZON, FILMMAKER: All I wanted to do was make a beautiful film. we didn't have story boards. we didn't have a plan for it. We just really just made it up as we went.

SHARON O'NEIL, REPORTER: The year was 1972, a time when alternative lifestyles evolved around living simply and surfing daily.

ALBE FALZON: When we were doing the film, it was like we were just living that lifestyle. I was fortunate enough to have a camera and just document it.

SHARON O'NEIL: The film was morn, a classic Australian, 'Morning of the Earth', a classic Australian surf movie made by first-time film-maker and surfer Albe Falzon. His aim was to capture surfers in their natural environment and pay homage to the beauty of the sea and the surfing playground it created.

ALBE FALZON: It was a great period. It was a great period for all of us. It was my first film. So I'm particularly attracted to that time and what it offered for us because it was a dream that came true.

SHARON O'NEIL: Unusually for the time, 'Morning of the Earth' had no narration, but instead a soundtrack made up of songs written specifically for the movie.

G. WAYNE THOMAS, MUSIC PRODUCER: I was working for Warner Brothers and these two guys just came into any office, said they were looking for G. Wayne Thomas.

SHARON O'NEIL: G. Wayne Thomas was a musician who had caught the eye of Albe Falzon and producer Elfick. He wrote the title track to 'Morning of the Earth' and produced the movie soundtrack.

G. WAYNE THOMAS: We knew what we were trying to say but we didn't want to necessarily be specific, like preach or anything like. That we wanted to capture the feeling of it more than the actual specifics of it.

BRIAN CADD, MUSICIAN: We just sort of threw ideas up in the air and if they landed and somebody played something to them they would be finished. If they didn't work we would throw another one up.

SHARON O'NEIL: Brian Cadd was an established name in the rock and roll industry at the time and was brought into the project by G. Wayne Thomas.

BRIAN CADD: I came down to Melbourne and he said, Caddy we are doing a surfing film and we need songs, we need a band and an orchestra. Let's go!
SHARON O'NEIL: The success of the film was helped by the huge popularity of its soundtrack. It went platinum several times over. Songs like 'Simple Ben' by John J. Francis became anthems for those who were living or dreaming about living an alternative life.

ALBE FALZON: It was so fantastic because it had a rawness to it. That was, to me, was one of the best tracks in the film because it was totally in sync with what we were filming up here.

SHARON O'NEIL: Now more than 35 years since the movie and the album were released, some of the original artists and a few new comers are preparing for a live concert of 'Morning of the Earth'.

BRIAN CADD: For a long, long time after shows that I do I meet people afterwards who will stay to me, "Why didn't you play any Morning of the Earth" or "I wish you had have played" and you know that that culture is alive and well, even though these people are sometimes now 50 or 60 years old and they don't own a surfboard anymore. But in their minds and hearts they're still there.

LIOE, MUSICIAN: I think the music is just quality music that's lived on. In terms of the lifestyle that the film portrays I think that is something that is very much lived on and still relevant and important today.

SHARON O'NEIL: The live musical performances will also feature the original movie as well as new documentary footage from Albe Falzon.

BRIAN CADD: At that point in time, there were things that were being said lyrically that are still relevant today. We're still talk about the rain forests and we're still talking about a lifestyle that doesn't relate necessarily to corporate, you know, constraints and all of the personal freedoms that surfers fought for and enjoyed.

SHARON O'NEIL: Albe Falzon counts himself lucky that he is still part of the lifestyle that 'Morning of the Earth' documented more than three decades ago. He's made 37 films in his career, on a broad range of subjects. But it's his first film that has stood out and stood the test of time.

ALBE FALZON: It reminds him of something that is basic that their lives. We get young kids that come up, 15-year-old you know that are born way after the film when it first came out and they love it and they can identify with something in it. I think it's that natural beauty and everybody can relate to that.

KERRY OBRIEN: Here we are stuck inside. Sharon O'Neil with that report.

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