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Wednesday, 1 June 2016

The Reading List - There's a Fax from Bruce

Last night Barry Humphries, a little rickety on his feet after climbing the stairs at Gleebooks in Glebe Point Road, launched his usual suave self into an intro about his times with Bruce Beresford. An early film on 16mm made at Sydney University and titled The End was later followed by the formidable dramatisation of The Adventures of Barry Mackenzie (Australia, 1972). The old stories got another run around in a little speech notable as always for Humphries verbally punching a few old bags - the critical reception for Bazza, Philip Adams, the unions, the team of Brit comedians and vaudevillians Humphries himself rounded up for small parts (forgetting the best of them all, Dennis Price), resuscitating Dick Bentley. It was a droll time and all concerned went on to great and continuing success. The launch was given a speech worthy of its authors and subjects!

Beresford was his usual urbane and modest self and producer Sue Milliken who managed and kept the correspondence between herself and Beresford was as no-nonsense as ever. Producers shouldn't suffer fools gladly. Altogether a splendid occasion. When obtaining the master director's autograph I did take the opportunity to let him know, as this was the first time we had met, that I was the person whom it was proposed would interview him for an oral history recording commissioned by the National Film and Sound Archive. "Ah yes. Sorry. But I couldn't do it. I just don't have the time to devote to it." Not quite my memory of why it fell apart but that will have to wait until my memoirs...

Meanwhile I was accosted by a famous film person asking why I had not been at a special lunch the day before... "Well, it may have helped if I had received an invitation". Actually no I didn't come out with that modest bon mot, just shook my head and said I knew nothing.... Anyway above is the cover of Sue and Bruce's new book, launched last night and the autographs and dedications of its authors.

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