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Australia 1974
Directed by
Tim Burstall
103 minutes
Rated R

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars


Director Tim Burstall along with screenwriter David Williamson had been responsible for the ground-breaking 1971 populist sex romp Stork. Burstall followed that film by the even more successful Alvin Purple before he and Williamson re-convened for this story about a working-class bloke (Jack Thompson in his first feature) who decides to better himself by going to university.

More ambitious in creating a portrait of the contemporary zeitgeist, the film has much to commend it as a time capsule (including nice footage of the then newly-modernized University of Melbourne campus) although it tends to fall between the now well-hoed terrain of the sex farce with bare buttocks and breasts galore (including the first of many airings for those of Wendy Hughes who is here making her feature film debut) and a more serious statement about social and individual mores.

As with so many Australian films of this era both in front and behind the camera, those involved were learning their craft as they went along and the film is often rough in places across all departments. Shortly to be over-taken by the decorous costume dramas typified by Picnic At Hanging Rock, it remains a noteworthy attempt to capture a contemporary Australian voice.




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