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Australia 1979
Directed by
Michael Thornhill
83 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Journalist. The

If intended as a sophisticated version of Alvin Purple  the only virtue of The Journalist is that it manages to demonstrate the complete lack of any such quality in Australian society of the time.

In the spirit of the  “sex” comedies that were so plentiful in Australian film of the 1970s, Jack Thompson plays Simon Morris, a Sydney journo, separated from his wife and child and with a new girlfriend (Elizabeth Alexander). Despite his genuine love for the latter he is unable to turn away the advances of the innumerable women, old and young, who find him irresistible. There is more to the plot but it's hardly worth worrying about.  

Looking like an Antipodean Oliver Reed,  Thompson and the relatively short running  time are the only two mollifying aspects of what, with a perfunctory script, awkward support performances, cheap production design, clumsy editing, seemingly clueless directing and any other category you care to mention being truly awful, approaches the level of being so-bad-it’s-good

All that leaves the film in the remainder bin of Australian film history but combine this with the opening titles sequence of a flyover of Sydney Harbour to the strains of the theme song “Fancy Dancer” (which keeps recurring throughout the film), the cast which constituted a roll-call of well-known small and large screen names of period including Sam Neill, Charles “Bud” Tingwell, Carol Raye, Penne Hackforth-Jones,  Dennis Miller, Frank Wilson, Candy Raymond and so on, and fashion statements that beggar belief, whilst in itself a fiasco, The Journalist makes for an excellent time capsule of Australian social and film-making values of the time,




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