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aka - Sumner Locke Elliott's Careful He Might Hear You
Australia 1983
Directed by
Carl Schultz
110 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Careful He Might Hear You

Wendy Hughes made a decent career in the 70s and 80s as a kind of Antipodean Catherine Deneuve and regularly appeared as an elegantly aloof ice maiden. Here she gives one of the best performances as Aunt Vanessa, locked in a battle with her sister (Robyn Nevin) for custody for her six-year-old nephew, P.S. (Nicholas Gledhill) during the time of the Great Depression.

Sumner Locke Elliot's autobiographical novel is given a floridly melodramatic treatment by Carl Schultz that particularly thanks to Ray Crook's overwrought score is enjoyable, its excessiveness, reminiscent of Hollywood's classic studio era, setting it apart from the more characteristically restrained period films of the time. (Interestingly, Joshua Logan, the American producer/director who originally held the rights to Elliot's novel was planning a version with Vivian Leigh and Elizabeth Taylor). The film with its meticulous art direction and John Seale's fine photography is visually impressive and the film went on to win 8 AFI awards. The young Nicholas Gledhill is very effective as P.S. but John Hargreaves is mis-cast as his errant father, having none of the dash and charm that would supposedly have attracted the neurotic, sexually-repressed Aunt Vanessa.

DVD Extras: A 2 disc set gives us the film in a new 16:9 anamorphic widescreen transfer; an informative 74m interview featurette with producer Jill Robb, Wendy Hughes and Nicholas Gledhill talking about the film; a 1985 35m interview with Sumner Locke Elliott. A still gallery rounds off this handsome package.

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment

 

 

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