Plasticity, not pedagogy
In this representative review, Colin Ross, the writer, is hailed as a “travelling philosopher”, while his filmmaking is seen as a step down, but still “a travel reportage in great style”.
Ross, the writer, is praised for being “less interested in the face of the world than in its soul”. His filmmaking, however, is deemed more superficial, if still outstanding within the travelogue format, “a sequence of images of rare vividness and plasticity”. The latter word comes up repeatedly in German reviews of the film, which demonstrates how Ross’s more popular, enveloping filmmaking, was seen as distinct from the more straightly pedagogical filmmaking and writing around the time. Reviewer Engel explicitly contrasts him with the “impassioned delineators of nature”, the “stereotypical describers of a country and its people”. Indeed, for those more inclined towards such dry taxonomy, the footage of Achtung Australien! Achtung Asien! was refashioned into two more straightforwardly educational films, Australien und Neuseeland (Australia and New Zealand) and Völkerschicksale zwischen Indischem und Großem Ozean (Peoples’ Destinies between the Indian and Pacific Oceans) by Ufa in 1932.
Richard Engel. Achtung Australien - Achtung Asien! 8-Uhr-Abendblatt: 1930 Nov 15; 268.
Case: Oceania-Asia trip 1928-30