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Australia 1966
Directed by
Michael Powell
107 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

They're A Weird Mob

The glorious British team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (the latter wrote the script under the nom de plume of Richard Imrie, as John O'Grady wrote the original novel in the persona of Nino Culotta) were at the helm of this racist, patronizing, unfunny, misogynistic, boorish film devoid of any form of conceptual or narrative maturity, let alone visual merit that, at least in hindsight, is the great grand-daddy of the Ocker comedy. Made for $AUD600,000, largely raised by then J.C. Williamson's manager, John McCallum, it was a huge commercial hit, anticipating the success of the Barry Mackenzie films of a few years later and it remains one of our top grossers (in every sense).

As a generally faithful depiction of mid '60’s Australia, this swing through traditional blokey precepts, she’ll be right-ness and riotous, wrestling mateship with its cheery admonition to all and sundry that so long as you act and talk and think like the rest of us, social acceptance is assured, is a dire sight to behold from our new millennial multi-cultural perspective even if it is all meant to be in good, tongue-in-cheek fun.

If its artistic merit is dubious It is, however, a remarkable time capsule of  contemporary Sydney life and, if you go that far back, it will no doubt stir memories both for the cast which included many familiar faces of the time such as Chips Rafferty, John Meillon and Ed Deveraux) and its representation of pre-decimal Australia,

FYI: Powell returned to Australia to make the much classier The Age Of Consent in 1969...

DVD Extras: Whilst the film is of questionbable merit, there’s a superb “making of” feature. Students of film or anyone in the least bit interested in Australian film-making of the period will be transfixed by this nuts and bolts documentary (filmed in black and white) blithely narrated by one of the film’s stars, Ed Deveraux.

Available from: Village Roadshow




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