This film is part of Free

A Journal of the Outdoors No. 11

Wildfowl and wallabies in the wild, exotic animals in the office

1953 16 mins


Ever wondered how to adopt a duck? That's just one of the wildlife topics covered in this varied short. Cricket commentator John Arlott narrates an item exploring a national project to record wildfowl numbers, followed by a look at wallabies and their young, voiced by actress Barbara Mullen. The final story's the quirky keeper, with Robert Beatty doing vocal honours: a steeplejack's office is home to a parrot, cockatoo, toucan, alligator and a marmoset who snacks on live fish.

Countryman Films was an ambitious venture formed by the great producer Leon Clore and documentary veterans John Taylor and Graham Tharpe. Their films, released with the slightly confusing double branding of both World of Life and Journal of the Outdoors, were intended as modern equivalents of the much-missed 1930s and 40s series Secrets of Nature and Secrets of Life. Their productions were solid, well-crafted stuff - note the fine photography that legendary Irish cameraman Patrick Carey contributes to this edition - but after a few years fell victim to the vagaries of film distribution. The post-war cinema trade increasingly lost its enthusiasm for padding screenings with supporting shorts - and besides, there was no way Countryman's worthy efforts could compete with Disney's much glossier nature films.