Fifty years ago today, Albert Falzon premiered what would become one of the greatest surf films of all time: Morning of the Earth.
The film premiered on February 25th, 1972 at the Manly Silver Screen Theatre in Sydney and much to everyone’s surprise became an instant hit at the box office with sold-out shows for weeks to come. The story was inspiring, visuals stunning, and the editing cutting edge; but, a big contribution to the film’s success was G. Wayne Thomas’ legendary soundtrack, which became the first Australian soundtrack to sell over a million copies and go Gold. The film’s counter-culture approach and its country-soul soundtrack resonated deeply with Australia’s youth culture and solidified it into Australian history as a national treasure.
Above all, Morning of the Earth was a labour of love for Falzon: “I just wanted to make a beautiful film about surfing, the planet and the ocean.”
Falzon frequented the North Coast of New South Wales with his friends as a getaway from the hustle and bustle of Sydney’s concrete jungle. He would pack his car with camera gear, surfboards and rolls of 16mm film and road trip north to capture the beauty and serenity that those journeys and destinations had to offer. But the film’s locations reached much farther than Australia’s North Coast. Morning of the Earth was the first film to capture surfing in Bali, and its two surfers, Stephen Cooney and Rusty Miller, became the first to ever surf the now world-famous Uluwatu. Falzon also captured the powerful surf of Hawaii’s North Shore during the winter of 1970/71, which contributes a presence of energy to the film that is unparalleled in both beauty and power.