2008, 55 Minutes
Using Robert Menzies’ World War II diaries and remarkable 16mm film, Menzies and Churchill at War lifts the lid on a bitter behind the scenes battle between Winston Churchill and the Australian Prime Minister as the fate of Australia hangs in the balance.
It follows Menzies to London during the dark months of 1941 as he takes on the British Prime Minister over the strategic direction of the war, telling the story of Menzies’ political epiphany from his own point of view.
The film introduces the controversial theory that Menzies became so alarmed by flaws in Churchill’s leadership that he considered taking over himself. With Australia under threat of a Japanese attack, Menzies struggled to convince the autocratic British leader to send reinforcements to Singapore. The unequal struggle eventually cost Menzies his prime ministership, but out of it he developed a new vision for Australia and built a constituency of middle-class voters who swept him back to power to become Australia’s longest serving prime minister.
A Screen Australia Making History Production in association with 360 Degree Films. Produced with the assistance of Film Victoria. Developed and produced in association with the Australia Broadcasting Corporation. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, Film Victoria.
Director: Steve Jodrell
Cast: Robert Menzies: Matthew King; Winston Churchill: Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell.
Running Time: 55 Minutes
Classification: PG. Consumer advice: War themes.
Curriculum Links: English, SOSE/HSIE, Australian History and Politics.