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Australia 1983
Directed by
Donald Crombie
97 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Kitty And The Bagman

A somewhat Johnny-come-lately film, Kitty And The Bagman mixes the jauntily stylized Borsalino-like Roaring 20's crime comedy genre so popular in the 1970s, with the historical excavation that typified the Australian film renaissance of that decade (Phillip Adams, one of the main players of that time was executive producer here), creating a lightweight hybrid that never convinces.

Kitty O'Rourke (Liddy Clark) is an English working-class girl who arrives in Australia with the new husband only to find out that he is not the war hero he pretended to be but a pimp and gangster. He is quickly dispatched to the Big House by crooked cop, John Stanton aka "The Bagman", and her descent into the world of Sydney crime and corruption begins. Despite the quality production design, (the film had a budget of $2.5m) as a caper comedy the film does not come off, the only aspect  that does catch one's attention is John Stanton's turn as the world-weary cop but it is a Dennis Potter-ish touch adrift in what is otherwise pretty much hackneyed stuff.

Director Crombie, who had had a popular success with Caddie (1976), loses track of any historical or contextual realism that might have given this film bite (supposedly set in Sydney the film was shot in Melbourne), at least to a domestic audience, as Brian May's score tinkles away in the background and the film wend its way through the generic plot.




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