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Australia 1973
Directed by
Fred Schepisi, Tim Burstall, John B. Murray, David Baker
117 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars


Modern Australian cinema appropriately enough has it origins in sex but with two branches, the bawdy romps of Stork and Alvin Purple and the more refined, literary concerns of Picnic At Hanging Rock and The Devil's Playground. This film belongs to latter stream.

Emanating from the Victorian branch of the Producers and Directors Guild of which John Murray, who had directed the pioneering The Naked Bunyip (1970), was an executive member, it was intended as a workshop film and showcases the work of many of the early players in the industry on both sides of the camera. Made up of four separate stories, Murray directs The Husband, a Craig McGregor penned, Mike Nicols-ish look at contemporary "liberated" marriage, whilst Tim Burstall takes on the only historical piece, a dark tale of awakening sexuality written by Hal Porter. Fred Schepisi (then trading as Fred A. Schepisi) joins Thomas Kenneally in a kind of precursor to The Devil's Playground, giving the latter's wordy, theatrical script a striking, although perhaps excessively fluid, visual treatment and David Baker directs a typical David Williamson look at ocker culture with the unlikely pairing of Jack Thompson and Max Gillies in an episode which steers more to the Alvin Purple side of things but does provide some relief to the overall seriousness of the film.

DVD Extras: Brand new 16:9 transfer; an audio commentary with various cst and crew members and a essay by John Murray of the genesis of the film and the early background of the Australian film industry.

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment




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