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Australia 1966
Directed by
Michael Powell
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2 stars

They're A Weird Mob

The glorious British team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (who 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 (Powell returned to Australia to make the much classier The Age Of Consent in 1969).

Made for $AUD600,000, largely raised by then J.C. Williamson's manager, John McCallum, it was a huge popular and commercial success, mirroring the success of the Barry Mackenzie films of a few years later and remains one of our top grossers (in every sense). As a generally faithful depiction of mid 60’s Australia, this boof-headed 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. It is, however, a remarkable time capsule of Sydney, contemporary values and the Australian film industry and, if you go that far back, it will no doubt stir old memories.

DVD Extras: Whilst the film is of dubious 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. A case of the extras easily outweighing the main feature.

Available from: Village Roadshow




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