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Dr. Plonk (2007)

6.7
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A scientist & inventor in 1907, Dr Plonk, predicts that the world will end in 101 years, unless something is done about it. A comedy in the Charlie Chaplin / Buster Keaton tradition.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nigel Martin ...
Dr. Plonk (as Nigel Lunghi)
Paul Blackwell ...
Paulus
...
Mrs. Plonk
Wayne Anthoney ...
Prime Minister Stalk
Phoebe Paterson de Heer ...
Maltreated Maid
Bogdan Koca ...
Knock-Down Policeman
Quentin Kenihan ...
Man on Trolley
Sam Brooks ...
Chauffeur & Busking Clown
Celine O'Leary ...
Park Bench Woman
Joey Kennedy ...
Park Bench Woman
Joanna McGovern ...
Park Bench Woman
Jeff Lang ...
Irascible Old Man / City Policeman
Joshua Jaeger ...
Botanic Gardens Policeman
Pip Schapel ...
Hippy Girl
Chris Farrant ...
Dog Walker
Edit

Storyline

A scientist & inventor in 1907, Dr Plonk, predicts that the world will end in 101 years, unless something is done about it. A comedy in the Charlie Chaplin / Buster Keaton tradition.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A comedy about the end of the world

Genres:

Action | Comedy | Sci-Fi

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 August 2007 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Doctor Plonk  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Though this movie is filmed as a silent film, it technically and strictly speaking is not actually a silent film, as it has a soundtrack. See more »

Connections

Features Shadows of the Heart (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

 
First you'll giggle, then you'll laugh.
9 February 2008 | by (Sweden) – See all my reviews

Dr Plonk is the genius of his nation and age (Australia, 1907). He predicts the end of the world in 2008, but no one will believe him without proof. Aided and abetted (and sometimes hindered) by his lazy, deaf assistant Paulus, bustling Mrs Plonk and his dog, Tiberius, Dr Plonk creates a time machine and travels forward in time to find proof.

This comedy is a feature-length (85 minutes) silent, black and white film with a specially composed musical score. And it is funny. The audience at the showing I attended at the Gothenburg Film Festival started out not really knowing how to take it, but first there were giggles, then there were laughs, and the whole thing ended with applause and lots of animated talk and cheerfulness.

The movie has been shot on film that has been treated to look like footage from 1907 and filmed throughout with a hand-cranked camera. An adapted modern camera -- apparently the attempt to use real antique cameras and lenses had to be abandoned as they were incompatible with the modern film that was available. The story is that the movie was conceived as a way to use up writer/director Rolf de Heer's back stock of left over film, but the effort that has gone into keeping true to the look of silent movies does not suggest that scrimping and saving is the film maker's prime motive.

The action of the film is one long list of clichés from all the silent comedies you can remember seeing, and a great deal of use is made of that silent staple, the vanishing box. Freeze the action. Cut the film. Remove the box. Start the action. Oooh, the box has gone! (The box in this case is the time machine.) The film is successful in part because it has been very well written and planned, and very well cut. Also, apparently, because making it was allowed to take a very long time. It shows a great knowledge of and love for the physical comedy of the old silent movies. It helps also that many of the actors, not just Nigel Lunghi/Martin (Dr Plonk), must have circus or acrobat training, as they are both physically very funny and their timing is meticulous. Beyond that they also play their parts very truthfully to the style they are imitating. This is a comedy, but it is a comedy in the style of silent comedies from the early days of cinema. Even in the scenes in modern Australia, the actors stay in style as well as in character.

And the dog seems to be having a whale of a time too.


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