Caught on Camera: Movie Magic

By Jarah Weinreich

The National Automobile Museum of Tasmania's latest theme display is a spectacular homage to the automobile on screen. Running for three months, Caught on Camera: Movie Magic features an array of iconic machines spanning over sixty years of cinema.

Visitors to the Museum will be given the rare chance to see a real James Bond Aston Martin, the magnificent 1969 DBS which starred alongside George Lazenby in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The Aston Martin name has been inexorably linked with the 007 franchise ever since Ian Fleming gave his hero a DB3 in the 1959 novel Goldfinger.

The story of Preston Tucker's attempt to produce the car of the future was immortalized in the 1988 motion picture Tucker: The Man and His Dream. Francis Ford Coppola, a Tucker enthusiast and owner, was determined to bring the story of the doomed Tucker 48 to the big screen. With Jeff Bridges in the lead role, the film was deemed to be a warm and generally accurate account of Tucker's endeavors. The fabulous Tucker 48 is displayed in celebration of this incredible true story.

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly were icons of the kind of glamour captured in Alfred Hitchcock's 1955 production, To Catch a Thief, which starred Grant as a retired cat burglar and Kelly as a jeweler's daughter. The fleeting appearance of a sleek Sunbeam Alpine made a lasting impression and added to a sense of refinement and independence. A perfectly presented Alpine takes its place in the display.

In 1983, Stephen King's vision of a demonic 1958 Plymouth was adapted for the big screen in Christine, a horror flick with a motorized villain. A stunning Plymouth Fury, authentic to the film car, is presented.

Meanwhile, the antithesis of the malevolent Plymouth appears in the familiar shape of Herbie, the magical Volkswagen Beetle that inspired a family film franchise over nearly forty years.

In Germany, home of the Volkswagen, Walt Disney's Herbie inspired Rudolf Zehetgruber to produce a series of comedy films starring 'Superbug', a yellow sentient Beetle. As testament to the Volkswagen Beetle's immense contribution to popular culture, the Superbug and Herbie cars are displayed together.

In the years following its 1973 release, American Graffiti has become a landmark in American cinema. The classic coming-of-age drama depicted the events of a group of school leavers over one night in 1962. The culture of the late 1950s/early 1960s was already looked upon with nostalgia, and American Graffiti captured this in abundance. A recreation of the iconic yellow 1932 Ford Coupe features in the display.

The 1981 Disney comedy Condorman was one of countless films to use the Rolls-Royce marque as a symbol of wealth and power. Unfortunately, the Condorman Silver Cloud's cinematic career came to an abrupt end when it plunged off a wharf into the seas of Southern France. A superb 1965 Silver Cloud III is displayed in tribute.

Caught on Camera: Movie Magic is a display like no other, with an array of memorable four-wheeled screen legends to thrill the entire family.