The Golden Harvest of the Witwatersrand

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Screening Details

Running Time: 75 min. (Black and White) / Copyright Date: not given / Release date: 1935 / Language: English / Genre: Documentary

Synopsis & Context

A history of and tribute to the gold mining industry of South Africa, this documentary was shot over a number of months during 1934. For its time it was an epic production, supported by the Transvaal Chamber of Mines and the Board of Trade and Industries, much of it shot at Crown Mines. It covered the whole production process, from the recruiting of labourers to the extraction of the ore and its transformation into gold bars. It was written and directed by Joseph Albrecht, then African Film Productions’ most prestigious filmmaker, with G.F. Noble in charge of the cinematography.

The Rand Daily Mail stated that some 30,000 feet of film was shot, helpfully explaining that if rolled out it would stretch from Zoo Lake to the Turffontein racecourse. This was edited down to a more manageable length and the completed film had an approximate running time of 75 minutes. There was a preview for a specially invited audience at the Plaza Theatre on 30 January 1935 and it was also shown to delegates to the Imperial Press Conference at the Colosseum on 24 February 1935. It was produced with natural sound and music supplied by the Colosseum Cinema Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michael Doré. In London it was screened at South Africa House, where it was seen by members of the Royal Family.

A shortened version appeared in the supporting programme of the American feature film Laddie, directed by George Stevens, first at the Plaza on 29 July 1935 and then at the Standard. In 1939 it was reissued and was submitted to the organisers of the Venice Film Festival. It is uncertain which version of the film was awarded a bronze medal.


Rand Daily Mail, 21 June 1934

Rand Daily Mail, 31 January 1935

Gutsche, Thelma - The History and Social Significance of Motion Pictures in South Africa 1895-1940 (1972)

Return to

Return to

Return to South African Films

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page