5.5/10
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Emerald City (1988)

A couple move to Sydney from a small town, and soon become lured by the bright lights of the big city. Colin, the scriptwriter husband, is corrupted by his editor and then falls for his ... See full summary »

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(play), (screenplay)
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2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Hargreaves ...
...
...
...
Ruth Cracknell ...
Elaine Ross
Dennis Miller ...
Malcolm Bennett
Ella Scott ...
Penny Rogers
Haydon Samuels ...
Sam Rogers
...
Ian Wall
Michelle Torres ...
Kath Mitchell
Bruce Venables ...
Limousine driver
...
Kate's friend
Robert L. Rosen ...
Society photographer (as Robert Rosen)
...
Polish director
Philip Dodd ...
'Coastwatchers' director
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Storyline

A couple move to Sydney from a small town, and soon become lured by the bright lights of the big city. Colin, the scriptwriter husband, is corrupted by his editor and then falls for his wife, whilst Colin's wife Kate begins to lose sight of her ideals in a new world of hustlers and cynics.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A tale of two cities. Four people. And life's little pleasures . . . Money. Lust. Temptation. Greed. Power. Ambition. [Australia Theatrical]

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 February 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Cidade De Esmeralda  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Actors John Hargreaves and Chris Haywood had also previously appeared in another filmed version of a David Williamson play that being The Removalists (1975) around thirteen years earlier. See more »

Connections

References A Country Practice (1981) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Not bad, but badly missing the Bruce Beresford touch
25 April 2014 | by (Melbourne, Australia) – See all my reviews

When 'Emerald City' was released, expectations on it would presumably have been high. A quality cast including the underrated John Hargreaves, then young rising star Nicole Kidman and solid acting talent in Robyn Nevin and Chris Haywood.

But even more significant for that was that David Williamson had written it, based on his own play. And Williamson had as much box-office clout as anyone in the Oz film industry at the time, having helmed numerous successful films (sometimes based on his own plays) ranging from Don's Party to Phar Lap.

Alas, when released in 1988 the film was a disappointment as it received little critical praise, minimal box office and was quickly forgotten. Why was this?

What lets it down is that instead of feeling like a film on its own terms, it feels like a filmed version of the play. The theatrical style comes through in the overacting and the lack of a cinematic feel, so therefore it feels like actors acting instead of characters behaving and interacting. As a result the potential impact is muted.

The blame for this is largely at director Michael Jenkins, whose career was largely in TV and it shows. His efforts here pale in comparison to that of Bruce Beresford, who made excellent films out of two David Williamson plays in Don's Party & The Club.

Despite that, the film is worth a look. Being a Williamson play, there are plenty of good lines and scenes with some occasional incisiveness at the artistic milieu the film concentrates on.

The four main actors are all entertaining to watch (although Hargreaves is a bit over-the-top at times), with probably the best performance by Robyn Nevin who makes her character multi-faceted and surprising and convincing.

Overall, a missed opportunity but not bad.


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