State Library of South Australia

What's new in archives : Great White Death

Date: 27 February 2014

Rodney Fox is a South Australian film maker, conservationist and a world authority on the great white shark. In December 1963 he was attacked and badly bitten around the chest and arm while spearfishing. It was one of the world's worst non-fatal shark attacks and his survival was regarded as a miracle.

The original Great White Death image quality before restoration
Original image quality before restoration

Rodney went on to design and build the first underwater observation cage to dive with the great white shark and earned a reputation as a producer of shark documentaries. Rodney kindly donated his films 'Attacked by a killer shark: the Rodney Fox story', 'Great white death' and a news interview conducted whilst he was in hospital to the State Library.

Over time the film's colour has faded but our Film Preservation Officer, Michael Veitch, has been able to use our new Flash Transfer Choice preservation equipment to restore the film to as natural a colour as possible. You can see from the above 'before' and below 'after' still images that the quality has been much improved.

The new Great White Death film quality after restoration
The new Great White Death image quality after restoration

The State Library is pleased to be able to preserve these important films and share them with the community. By investing in saving film and storing it properly, we can make sure that movies will be here to be studied and enjoyed for years to come.

As filmmaker Martin Scorsese says:

'Film is history. With every foot of film that is lost, we lose a link to our culture, to the world around us, to each other, and to ourselves.'

~ Quote from Martin Scorsese taken from the National Film Preservation Foundation website.


Story by: Sue Ward

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