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Saturday, 10 March 2018

A Forthcoming Book - A Long Way from Anywhere - Author Peter Galvin is interviewed by Lynden Barber about a book on the production of WAKE IN FRIGHT


Wake in Fright (Ted Kotcheff, 1971, Australia/USA) is the subject of a forthcoming book by writer and filmmaker Peter Galvin. Peter is interviewed here by critic, author and former Sydney Film Festival Director Lynden Barber*
From the opening shot of the film. This was only about 45mins from Broken Hill - the railway links BH to Sydney. The buildings and Tiboonda 'station' seen here were shipped to the location using the same kind of equipment used in transporting heavy machinery in mining. (Click to enlarge all photos.)

Based on Kenneth Cook’s novel of the same name, first published in 1961, it’s the story of a young school teacher, John Grant (Gary Bond) who becomes stranded in an outback city called Bundanyabba (the Yabba) on his way home to Sydney where he plans to spend Christmas holidays.

What follows is a lost weekend of boozing, cruelty, lust and violence. The plot provides John with a series of ‘guides’ – Yabba locals - each of whom challenge his bitter snobbery of the Outback while tapping his own buried desires…

 Gary Bond as John Grant downs a beer watched on by
Chips Rafferty as the Yabba's top cop Jock Crawford.
Most of the film's interiors were shot on real locations in
Sydney or AJAX studios in Bondi Junction and Paddington.
These include menacing local cop Jock (Chips Rafferty), and an intellectual alcoholic bohemian called The Doc (Donald Pleasence). The cast includes Jack Thompson (in his first feature) and Peter Whittle as beery ‘Roo shooters, John Meillon and Sylvia Kay.

Jack Thompson made his feature film debut in Wake in Fright and credits Kotcheff as a particularly fine 'actor's director'.
Now considered a classic, Wake in Fright was made when there was no feature film industry in Australia. It was a critical success and a box office failure, everywhere but Paris, where it ran in one cinema for many months.

By the end of the 70s it was difficult to see.  By the 90s its original materials were thought lost.  The film’s editor, now esteemed producer Tony Buckley (Caddie, Bliss), spent years in the search before he found Wake in Fright’s original neg and sound in order for it to be restored. It was re-issued in 2009 and since then has screened in hard top theatres and been released on home video formats in Australia, USA, Japan and the UK (amongst others).

Peter Galvin, an occasional filmmaker, screen studies teacher and long-term writer on film has spent years researching and writing the book which not only details the making of the movie, and the life and work of its key players but also explores the origins of Ken Cook’s novel on which the film is based.


Promotional pic for the book designed and created by Peter Galvin.
Still, he is quick to correct any assumption that this is to be a volume for fans only or the kind of publication that will attract only the most dedicated of cineastes.

Instead he hopes it will appeal to a mainstream audience interested in biography and Australia’s pop culture of the 1960s.

“There’s material here that you would expect,” he says, “the influence of the Cultural Cringe in culture and politics, the mechanics of TV and film as played out in boardrooms and nightclubs, the film culture scene in Sydney and Melbourne, the behind the scenes trade-offs in business where ego is a casualty in getting a project to ‘greenlight’…but there’s also lots of other intriguing stuff that’s part of a rich historical mosaic that throws the story of the making of the film and its impact into relief: Sydney’s illegal gambling dens of the 60s and the history of Two-up; Aussie slang and accents; the compelling reach of the RSL in every corner of the culture here in the 60s; the role of the kangaroo as pop art symbol; the dominant masculinity confronting feminism and gay lib; a portrait of Broken Hill, a strange city then, run by a Union (it was the key inspiration for the book and the main location for the film); live TV drama in Canada and the UK…”
Wake in Fright was in competition at Cannes in May 1971. This gatefold giveaway poster was used to promote it. The title used on all O/S prints, Outback, was the brainchild of UA's marketing dept., the film's worldwide distributor. Popular with the jury - led by famed French star Michèle Morgan - it was a finalist for the top prize. In the end, Losey's The Go-Between won the Palme d'Or.

INTERVIEW

Why is Wake in Fright important?

Well, I’m not writing a book that sets out to argue that it is. I mean for me it’s a given. I don’t want people to think the book is in the ‘this is a great work and why’ genre of film criticism or one those lengthy testimonials with lots of great filmmaker minutiae.  (I have to say I’m not snob about either of these angles on this kind of subject.) That said, I do think the film is important. There’s an assumption – backed up by received history – that the film was a watershed, a focus of optimism arriving right at the threshold of a new decade. It was understood as a rallying point for a nascent film industry and it was accorded a great deal of respect by filmmakers and many critics on first release in 1971. Its reputation has only grown since and I would argue that it is indeed a classic. Though such labels are always up for grabs, no?

Trouble is, Wake in Fright is not a film that has ever received a great deal of critical attention in the sphere of scholarship/the academy/or middle brow critics, so that familiar swing we know – ‘freshly discovered classic / consensus / revision / new estimation’ - has never happened to it on any kind of scale.

Why is that since the movie’s critical reputation is so strong?

Well, I’m not in the space but even as a casual professional reader there is a lot of stuff out there begging for the attention of researchers, academics etc, and frankly Ted Kotcheff is not now, nor was he ever positioned as an auteur by anyone. Which is, to be blunt, the lightning rod for special scrutiny amongst academic critics of a certain kind – and those who publish their work in peer reviewed journals and books. He was not even the first choice for the project, he was a hired gun…though once he did take it on he really made it his own…which created all sorts of issues.

Really? What sort of thing are you talking about here?

You’ll have to read the book.

How did the book start?

That’s a long story. Even the short version is a long story.

Try.

OK. By this stage – it’s been, like most books, I figure, a lengthy gestation, many years in fact. It’s taken on the aspect of an obsession.

Johnny McLean (with camera) and crewmates on location in the outback near Broken Hill in Feb. 1970. From JMs private collection
A trigger for the book is that I’ve always been somehow engaged in Australian cinema. I am not an adult contemporary of the Revival. But I was a hard-core film fan by the age of 8. By 12 I was in love with cinema. The first book I ever read about the movies was Movie Magic by John Brosnan- I look back on that as a happy omen!  I read Stratton’s book about the Revival the Last New Wave a few years after it came out in 1980. I lived on a diet of film reviews, and back issues of Films and Filming, Sight and Sound and Cinema Papers right through my teens and into my early 20s. I spent an unholy amount of time in the Stacks of Sutherland Library, which is where my hopes for scholastic success went down the tubes, but I emerged a cineaste! By this stage that first wave of Aussie 70s cinema had crested. I caught up with a lot of the famed titles on TV and then video in the early 80s and in revival houses like Walker Street, in North Sydney. But it was a strange induction – I came to a lot of those now famous films without any freshness (2). Before I knew them as movies I had read about them and not only that I had read about what the trade thought, and the filmmakers thought…. You know, that whole ‘this movie is a demonstration of exactly the wrong direction Aussie cinema should be heading in’ (virtually anything with Tony Ginnane’s name on it), or ‘this movie is nice, but a film industry’s foundations can’t be based on Art films’ (anything by Paul Cox) and occasionally there was that film that was said to have aspirations to that great big wide open middle of the road…Malcolm, or certainly, Crocodile Dundee and the Mad Max movies. Still, I did see Breaker Morant, Gallipoli and Mad Max 2 on their first run.

I studied Australian Cinema at UTS - this was the late 80s - and that’s when I really began to look at the films of the Revival as cinema in a fresh way. I started teaching Australian cinema in the late 90s.

I have always leant heavily toward to an auteurist sensibility. I think that it is true that even the most banal sensibility can’t hide behind a camera. One needs to heavily qualify it. But then something like Bazza McKenzie leads one into a discussion of the Sydney Push, Ubu Films, the Satire boom of the 60s, the Melbourne Eltham scene, the Film Societies and the traditions of a certain kind of Aussie comedy, Brit-Aussie competitiveness and how those attitudes and sensibilities are formed and collide…
On location in Broken Hill. Dir. Ted Kotcheff is centre framed in the jacket

Does A Long Way from Anywhere touch on these feelings?

Yes. It is a narrative which is very much about the forces within the Australian experience of the late 60s that played a role in influencing the Revival. I remember an old friend, a producer – he left the film industry a long time ago – saying to me that ‘Australia, in the late 60s invented a film industry’. That thought really resonated – even if on close scrutiny it’s a leaky premise. But still the idea that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ does have some merit in this history. I mean it is true that there was a powerful feeling in the 50s and 60s here that a cinema of our own is something we needed! This was exactly how it was written about and discussed.

Is this your first book?

Yes. It actually came out of an abandoned project. The model for the abandoned book was Otto Friedrich’s City of Nets. My book was a social and cultural history /group biography of the Australian Feature Film Revival. But I was too young, the scope of the book too big, and I discovered it was very hard to write about people who are still living.

What happened?

I moved on to more teaching and getting involved in screenwriting – I sold a script and took on some writing commissions and made short films…

Camera crew poses for a snap at the Tiboonda set near
Broken Hill. Feb 1970. From
 JMs collection.
Still, I interviewed a lot of people and one of them was on the crew of Wake in Fright. I started to research it and found there was nothing of substance about the making of Wake in Fright, which even to my generation was a sort of legendary film.

When did you see it?

On TV. Bill Collins Picture Show. Late night. I was still at school. It completely blew away. My parents come from the bush – though not the Outback. I recognised the attitudes, the vernacular, even the way people moved and all those silences, the awkwardness strangers take on when faced with forced intimacy and the emotional claustrophobia that comes from the pressure of performing in order to fit into a mood in a social situation – and the reckless choices that can emerge when confronted with opportunities that offer a chance to escape that feeling! I can articulate my feelings now…then I just knew it said what I felt. Now I know what I was experiencing was a kind of authenticity. And as style, I loved it.

Today it’s thought of as a sort of gothic mood piece. But in the way Kotcheff moved the camera and Tony Buckley’s editing and the choice to demonstrate drama physically and in cinematic terms – there was a kinship with that robust kind of movie making which in the 60s was thought of as the tropes of action cinema. I’m thinking of Frankenheimer. In researching the film, I discovered indeed the producers approached action directors before Kotcheff took the job!

But most importantly it was the first time I ever experienced an immediate shock of recognition on every level. I recognised it was both stylised and true. And the acting was really very good.

Belguim poster used in the films original rel. 1971-72.
What was the trigger to write the book then?

The search for the film and its restoration.

As I mentioned Tony Buckley was editor on the film. Every so often over many years he would drop anecdotes about its making…Tony has the native instincts of the historian. And he carefully detailed the story of the search for the film in his memoir Behind a Velvet Light Trap – it lasted years.

So, I was very conscious – as I think the most casual film fan here was – of the search for Wake in Fright – mostly because Tony was very good at publicising it. Once the restoration was underway I thought it might make an interesting oral history and since the NFSA were central to the process I felt they might be interested in a book.

When was this?

2008. Tony had tipped me that by early 2009 the restoration would be ready for release.  I was intrigued by the fact that there was very little written about the novel and very little about Ken Cook, the novel’s author. He’s a tremendous character: a genuine eccentric, an under-rated writer and terribly adventurous and restless. So right from the start I felt that the story of the film began with the story of Wake of Fright the novel.

By April/May 2009 I had interviewed almost all of the surviving cast and crew in addition to friends and relatives of Ken Cook. It was a firm basis for a monograph and I raised the idea with the NFSA.

What happened?

Nothing.

They weren’t interested?

Definitely not in a book, by me.

What did you do?

I pitched what I had to SBS Film (now SBS Movies) as a three-part monograph, which looking back was more than a little pretentious – but they took it, bless ‘em, thanks to the SBS Film editor Fiona Williams. Meanwhile, the NFSA had their own monograph planned through Currency Press, the Australian Screen Classics series edited by Jane Mills.

A writer was commissioned but the planned book never materialised. It’s never been made clear – at least in public – the precise reason why this project was not delivered (of course there is no call for it to be made public!). In the end Tina Kaufman wrote a monograph for the CP ASC series - an elegant blend of memoir and anecdotal history. But the NFSA came back to me before that!

Why?

They needed a media kit. So, I was commissioned to do it. They offered a good cash deal and since I was financing a short film I took it. Part of the deal was that I wouldn’t claim an authorship credit. That was my idea.

Because of the SBS thing?

Yes.

You returned to the project about two years ago, why?

Part happenstance, part design, part necessity. I had always wanted to do a hard copy version of what I ended up calling A Long Way from Anywhere. The title is a nod to Broken Hill, which is the model for the Yabba in the book…it’s a bit of a saying Outback folk have used for decades about remote locations but it’s often directly linked to the Hill…but I also like the way it suggests that cultural isolation we identify with as part of the Australian experience of the 60s.

I wrote the text of the online version very fast. There’s a swagger to it I don’t like. The balance is not right between commentary, anecdote, analysis. It’s not entirely fair to some of the real-life players in that their contribution isn’t accorded the space it should. Its principal virtue is that it featured an enormous amount of fresh material not found elsewhere, and some very funny and insightful anecdotes. After it went live on the SBS site I found immediately that my material was being paraphrased and excerpted – without attribution – even by writers who ought to know better. Even to this day.


The very classy ad used in trade papers for Wake in Fright's Cannes debut
bought by Group W in order to market the movie and promote
theirambition as 'players' in the film world.
NLT hated UA's promotional work and the OS title.
The actual moment when I pressed the ‘start’ on the book was Winter, 2016. I was having dinner with Tony Buckley, who has been a friend for decades and he suggested I take another look at the material for a hard copy version…two months later I was jobless – a contract had ended – I was at a loose end and I thought this was good timing! I was encouraged to move forward by a few close friends even though I knew it would be difficult since most of the principals are dead.

Did you go in with a set of ideas – a sort of thesis you wanted to prove?

No. But when planning the book, I knew I had no desire to add to the large library of books on Australian cinema that are scholarly expressions on certain well-trodden themes (and again those books are invaluable!). Besides, I don’t think I am at all qualified to write that sort of thing (a piece of self-assessment I am certain will meet with enthusiastic approval from the academics I know!!)

Instead, I wanted to write a book of popular history and do it as a narrative. No one has ever a written a narrative history on an aspect of Australian cinema where biography is equal to other significant factors of historiography. There’s been memoirs, and things like Ina Betrand’s Australian Cinema book, and interview books and TV shows. 

A Long Way from Anywhere is really a book that attempts to capture the moment of Wake in Fright – that point from the early 60s right through to the dawn of the new decade. The changes in the Australian experience were extraordinary. Which is why it’s a social and cultural history. The aim is to create as vivid a portrait as possible of the filmmaking and showbiz subculture here c.1961-1971 through a select cast of real-life characters all of whom had direct or indirect impact on the making of Wake in Fright and the Australian Feature Film Revival here. So, this part of the book is very conventional narrative history. I’m after a blend of biography, film criticism, film history, social and cultural history all told in a very intimate way but built on a solid foundation of original research with special attention to the principles of sound scholarship.

Talk about the research?

Well, that’s been very enriching and very exciting. I can boast I’ve uncovered a great deal – much more than I thought I would. But it has been tremendously difficult in that I don’t have a budget and I am in Sydney and so much of the primary sources are to be found in the UK, the USA, Canada, France, Poland and Norway and here in Broken Hill, and at the National Library. Fortunately, I have the State Library of NSW, UTS and the NFSA. Simon Drake and the access team at the NFSA have been wonderful too.


What was your research process for the O/S component?

I wrote a lot of emails and begged strangers for help. Happily, they were kind, professional, efficient, forthcoming and in all instances provided me with more than I asked for and pointed me in the right direction whenever I needed it. When people heard about the book they were very enthusiastic. I’ve dealt with libraries and archives in England, France, Norway, Poland and the USA.

These were documents and so forth?

Yes! Manuscripts, professional miscellany, reviews of the film, stills, business archives, private letters, newsreels, TV archives... I’ve also tracked down extras, cast members with tiny roles, in addition to doing much biographical work on the cast and crew and at NLT and AJAX Films - AJAX provided film services to the production– talking to friends, sourcing private memorabilia. Most of these people I am talking about died a long time ago including Gary Bond who played the lead in the film.


Is a lot of this research unique to the project?

Certainly! Early on I received the co-operation of the Wake in Fright Trust. The Trust is the copyright holder. With their support and permission, and with the tremendous assistance of the Trust’s lawyer Raena Lea-Shannon I was able to gain access to the entire archive of NLT which is at the Mitchell Library in Sydney. Very few people have seen it and fewer still have seen it all. I spent many months perusing every single bit of it! But I should point out that the pioneer for the TV part of my story is Albert Moran. His published stuff on NLT, though there isn’t much of it, is great.

What I have you discovered?

You’ll have to read the book. But I set out to answer certain questions. Right now, they have answers on the public record which in almost all instances are garbled, or flat out wrong.
John Grant (Gary Bond) wanders through the desert in a vain attempt to escape the Yabba and the outback. This was one of many spectacular second unit shots in the film. Bernie Jeffrey, a Broken Hill local, was the stand-in for Bond and actually did this shot.

For instance?

Well, the identity of the film as an Australian film. This is not so cut and dried. But I remember just before the film was relaunched in its reissue in Australia at the Sydney Film Festival in June 2009. It was without question one of the hot tickets of the festival and I asked a professional colleague, a local, someone who was a producer, who was almost but not quite a contemporary of the film whether they were planning to go to the screening. They were not. And their reply was disdainful: “They’re not trying to say that’s an Australian film now, are they?”

Now on the surface that attitude as wrong as it is, is easy to understand. Kotcheff is Canadian, the nominal producer presented himself as English (he wasn’t), the screenwriter was English/Jamaican, the DOP Brian West was a veteran of the English studios. The money was 50/50. Half of it raised here by NLT and the other half presented to NLT by their American partner Group W, a Westinghouse subsidiary.

Still, once one understands all these roles in business terms and understands how the film got prepared to the point of production c.1968 – then terms of identity need to be reassessed. Or to put it another way NLT the Australian producers were responsible for the film. They found it, developed it, packaged it, cast it, and searched out and found an overseas partner in order to make it…because they and they alone made the key decision: to make the movie! Aside from the cash, which is not insignificant, one could describe Group W’s practical and aesthetic contribution to the film, as, and I’m being kind here…negligible.

Who was NLT?

The founders were Jack Neary, entrepreneur, promoter and talent agent, Bobby Limb, a star in the 60s on TV big enough to rival Graham Kennedy, and Les Tinker, a businessman, who died soon after NLT was formed in the early 60s.

The deal NLT made with Group W presented certain hurdles all justified by an understanding of the market and also those points that traditionally are ways to exert executive will over the creative process: Group W demanded director approval/script approval and a star part that would be acceptable in America. They reserved the right to make changes as well as demanding NLT be entirely responsible for the making of the film! They also wanted a package: two films a year for five years and NLT had a number of properties Squeeze a Flower, The Long Shadow and Wake in Fright. Group W got their deal and NLT got their money. ***

As to Wake in Fright the material is of course Australian – indeed Australian-ness of a kind seems crucial to an understanding of its content.

There’s no question that in a certain significant way Wake in Fright is an outsider’s view of Australia. But then Ken Cook felt like an Outsider, in that place, the Outback, when he first went to Broken Hill in the early 50s and that’s the entire basis of the story! Still, if one takes Kotcheff as the author of the film – that’s a critical convention that deserves to be respected - and highly qualified. But it’s interesting Wake in Fright arrived during a wave of ‘internationalist’ productions. I’m thinking of Blow Up, Last Tango in Paris, to take two prestige pictures. The national identity of these pictures is confused with their production identity and the identity of the auteur which overwhelms everything! But there are countless B movies where the money might be American and British or German or French, the crew from all over and the film shot in say, Spain whose appropriateness to the story is less significant to its attractions to the production as a cheap place to shoot!

This was Group W’s preferred model of operation, incidentally. They were part of 30 movies and none of them made any money but as tax breaks they were blockbusters! Of course, the issue of the identity of Wake in Fright is made sensitive in the context of 1971. The point being that local pros in film wanted something they could call their own without question. I was only reading the other day a conference paper delivered by Tom O’Regan (from the early 80s) where he very eloquently summarised the push for a Revival in the 50s and 60s as part of a surge of new nationalism amongst intellectuals/artists – and they were quite dismissive of the ‘foreign film made here’ picture and it was not to be confused with the indigenous thing. But those same writer/critics O’Regan was talking about: Colin Bennett, Sylvia Lawson, Mike Thornhill to name three prominent figures at the time – they really got behind Wake in Fright and framed it as an Australian film – if directed by a Canadian! All that aside, I discovered something interesting. Amongst below the line crew at the time WiF was thought of as Australian made, no question!

Do you see the book as an opportunity to alter peoples view of how the Revival evolved?

Absolutely. If the book, God help me, has some merit it will be trying to give a fresh portrait of what happened in the world of film here between 1968-1972. I mean the odds were stacked against Wake in Fright from the start.

How do you mean?

Well, a lot of properties start off as ‘orphans’ and if they can’t find a home soon after they get to the marketplace they are branded as ‘difficult’. That’s code for un-makable…sometimes the block has something to do with the content, or the star part is unattractive, or the production demands make it costly on the expected returns…there’s countless reasonable reasons and even more plausible excuses not to make a movie than can ever be reasons to make a movie and the Wake in Fright property fell foul to these realities immediately.

I’ll correct one popular assumption about the films evolution from book to screenplay to movie in answering this. Joseph Losey never had the rights to Wake in Fright. Dirk Bogarde and his long time companion and business partner Tony Forwood set up their own production co. in the mid-50s. After Bogarde left Rank he wanted to smash his matinee idol image which he made fun-of and loathed. He searched for vehicles to star in and produce and bought the movie rights to Wake in Fright soon after the book was published in London in 1961. He had visited Australia in the war years. I think he recognised there was an opportunity to explore some stuff in the piece about role play in a hermetically sealed environment and submerged murky sexual feelings…things that we know interested him and themes he would return to. Of course, he made that movie The Servant, didn’t he?

What happened?

He hired Evan Jones (5) to write the screenplay and attached Losey to it as director. He even paid Losey to commit his involvement to it. It was announced. It fell over. From what I understand the market felt the film’s commercial prospects negligible and the money was never there – I mean I really think that they were never that serious about it since they never came out here to investigate the possibilities and for Bogarde and co. it was just another property amongst many.

A few years later Morris West bought it and the Jones script for a new production venture he has set up in Rome with Maurizio Lodi Fe (Bread and Chocolate). West actually wrote an uncredited pass on the script and this version was thought to be lost. But I found it. West, like Bogarde and co. struggled with it. I think both these groups didn’t even get to the point where they had found solutions to the film’s production challenges – beyond throwing money at them and I think that’s why they foundered.

How did it come to NLT?

You’ll have to read the book. But they saw no reason to bring in another writer since Jones’ work was excellent, Cook had been close to its development from the start and Cook had ties inside NLT…but NLT paid for a re-draft. Still, there’s a lot of drama in the story precisely because the market and indeed professional filmmakers just couldn’t put Wake in Fright together with NLT. It made no sense. They made variety shows. They made kids shows. They did TV variety specials. They guided the careers of a huge roster of talent through their agency interest…but their management team had absolutely no experience in either the business of films nor the making of films and the showbiz scene here couldn’t believe that as the old studios in the USA were being disrupted by new models and global audiences for movies were shrinking this small but prosperous TV and talent co. in Sydney wanted to get into the movies! I mean the players here thought they were insane.

Because there was no film industry?

Because there was no film industry.

What’s the explanation?

Well, the personalities involved, and their network played a significant role.
Jack Neary was widely admired for his decency, and his eye for fostering talent…but Neary was considered ‘old-fashioned’ and there was suspicion that the wrong co. got hold of a great property. Still, there was a belief that no matter what - NLT would see this through.

Bill Harmon is crucial to the story. He was the driving force behind Wake in Fright at NLT, the executive in charge of production. He was an outsider. An American, Jewish (NLT was full of Catholics), very showbiz, Broadway, a veteran of live TV on US network, who had worked for some hard-cases like Jimmy Durante who knew how to take a hit from talent and keep cool. Neary had hired Harmon to ride shot gun on production at NLT. After that NLT had a reputation as ‘cowboys’.

But what I discovered in the NLT archive was that very early on in the life of NLT Harmon convinced the execs to spend time and resources on ‘schooling’ themselves in the minutiae of movie making. They didn’t rush into it. They took years to get to the point where they felt confident to move forward. Their ambition had credibility. But the trouble was they had no track record and the perception that they were maverick cowboys became impossible to displace…until people saw the film. That changed everybody’s mind. But by then NLT were coughing blood.

Why?

You’ll have to read the book.

Visit it and like the A Long Way from Anywhere FB page
https://www.facebook.com/alongwayfromanywherethestoryofwakeinfright/

1.      Lynden Barber is a Sydney-based film teacher and journalist and a former artistic director of the Sydney Film Festival.

2.      Some of the titles Galvin is thinking of include Newsfront (Phil Noyce, 1978) Caddie (Don Crombie, 1976), The Devil’s Playground (Fred Schepisi, 1976), The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (Fred Schepisi, 1978), Alvin Purple (Tim Burstall, 1972) Sunday Too Far Away (Ken Hannam, 1975), Picnic at Hanging Rock (Peter Weir, 1975), The Last Wave (Peter Weir, 1977) and Stone (Sandy Harbutt, 1974).

3.      Squeeze a Flower was rel. in early 1970 to great indifference. It was directed by American Marc Daniels. The Long Shadow based on the novel by Jon Cleary was never made.

4.      According to Australian contemporaries these following films were in the ‘foreign films made here’ category: Kangaroo (Lewis Milestone, 1952, USA), Summer of the Seventeenth Doll (Leslie Norman, 1959, USA|Aust.|UK), On the Beach (Stanley Kramer, 1959, USA), The Sundowners (Fred Zinnemann, 1960, USA|UK|Aust.) and all the Ealing Films produced here including The Overlanders (Harry Watt, 1946, UK|Aust), Bitter Springs (Ralph Smart, 1950, UK|Aust.), and The Shiralee (Leslie Norman, 1957, UK).

5.      Evan Jones had worked with dir. Losey on Eva rel. in 1962. Another e.g. of an ‘internationalist’ production, incidentally.




A Long Way from Anywhere The Story of Wake in Fright An Australian Classic will be published in 2019.

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