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Australia 1977
Directed by
Bruce Beresford
101 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

The Getting Of Wisdom

One of the clutch of backward-looking works that constitute the Australian 1970s film renaissance (producer Phillip Adams, who had an important role in this re-birth appears here as a mathematics teacher). As with Picnic At Hanging Rock (Peter Weir, 1975) The Getting Of Wisdom, which is based on a 1910 novel by Henry Handel Richardson, deals with the goings-on at a Victorian (both in place and time) ladies' college and similarly suffers from an excess of twittering teenage girls.

Beresford's adaptationis rather mechanical and hurried. The historical recreation, however, is impressive. As we now know, Sussanah Fowle, a plain jane lead, faded without a trace but supports Sigrid Thornton and Kerry Armstrong went on to become staples of the Australian film and television industries. Another icon and Beresford buddy (they had worked together on the Barry McKenzie films), Barry Humphries, has a revel in his role as Reverend Strachey, the college chaplain.




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