Australian Movies I've Watchedby johnnymoronic | created - 22 Jul 2012 | updated - 2 weeks ago | Public
A list of Australian movies/TV movies/mini-series that I have watched.
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1. Stork (1971)
85 min | Comedy
Stork is a 6-foot 7 hypochondriac who dreams of revolution and works at General Motors Holden. He is sacked from his job after doing a strip tease at work and goes to live in a share house ... See full summary »
The film that heralded in the New Wave of Australian cinema and was very different from the films that came before it. An early gross out film that still has a few good laughs and a rare lead role from stalwart character actor Bruce Spence. You can see the early remnants of Alvin Purple in this film.
2. Walkabout (1971)
GP | 100 min | Adventure, Drama
Two young siblings are stranded in the Australian Outback and are forced to cope on their own. They meet an Australian boy on "walkabout": a ritual separation from his tribe.
Walkabout is a coming of age drama that begins with a father bring his teenage daughter (Jenny Agutter) and his young son to the desert where he promptly attempts to kill them, fails and then kills himself. Leaving the girl and boy to fend for themselves in the desert, they struggle until they meet an aboriginal boy (David Gulpilil) who is in the midst of his 'walkabout', a journey he must take to learn how to fend for himself and become a man. Together, they manage quite well, but over time, the aboriginal boy begins to take a shine to the girl, feelings that are not reciprocated by the girl. So, will the threesome survive?
Not a lot to Walkabout, it is more about emerging emotions, cultures clashing and burgeoning sexuality than a survivalist film, but that's what makes Walkabout a very intriguing film. An excellent film that still holds up extremely well.
3. Wake in Fright (1971)
R | 109 min | Drama, Thriller
After a bad gambling bet, a schoolteacher is marooned in a town full of crazy, drunk, violent men who threaten to make him just as crazy, drunk, and violent.
Votes: 7,597 | Gross: $0.05M
Wake in Fright is a UK/Australian co-production that follows English teacher John Grant (Gary Bond), who has finished the term in the middle of nowhere and is now heading to Sydney to meet up with his girl. When Grant gets to the 'Yabba, a mining town full of men, he stays the night before getting a plane to Sydney the next day. Big mistake. He stops in for a drink at a pub and meets up with Jock (Chips Rafferty in his last film), the local cop and he shows Grant the local traps including the game of 2-up. Grant is reluctant to join in on the town's frivolity, in fact deriding it to local doctor (Donald Pleasence, pure gold). The Doc's response is to just accept it and enjoy it. So, Grant joins in the game of 2-up and wins big, but like all greedy gamblers, he goes for one more big win, selling his plane ticket to put more money in, and of course, he loses it all and is stuck in the 'Yabba. With no money and no access to work, all there is to do is go to the pub and drink and meet up with other men and drink your worries away, cos without money, Grant ain't getting to Sydney and he's stuck in the 'Yabba. It's going to be a long few days.
Sublime, almost lost classic that is a brutally honest portrayal of the Australian way, amplified in mining towns. Wake In Fright holds up as well as Walkabout does, including the shocking kangaroo hunt scene which has to be seen to be believed. Great stuff. Looks amazing on the big screen.
4. The Adventures of Barry McKenzie (1972)
114 min | Comedy
Young Australian, Barry McKenzie, travels to England with his Aunt Edna after his father dies and a request is revealed in his will.
The Adventures of Barry McKenzie is an ocker comedy about the Aussie who everyone in Australia knows, Barry McKenzie (Barry Crocker). When Barry's father dies, his father leaves him $2000 on the condition that he spend it in England spreading his unique Aussie way. Joined by his aunty Edna Everage (Barry Humphries, who else...), he reluctantly leaves and finds himself getting fleeced by the locals as well as confiscating the precious Foster's Lager. Once in England, he meets up with his friend Curly who introduces him to the Aussie sites in London. In a pub, he is asked to act in an ad for a pervy ad director, but when he falls for his co-star (Maria O'Brien), the ad director stops him from congress, much to Barry's chagrin. Barry and Edna meet up with old friends the Gorts, a typically British family with an ugly duckling daughter they want Barry to marry, but Barry manages to escape only to be taken in by jaded hippie folk singers who use him to make it big. It turns out Barry's a hit singing one of Curly's anti-Pommie poems. But in the commotion to get his services, he is knocked out and taken to hospital where a dodgy psychiatrist (Barry Humphries, again) declares him insane because of his ocker speak. Again he escapes. His aunty then takes Barry to meet an old Aussie friend Lesley, a lesbian who has an ex-husband (Peter Cook) who is a producer of a late night BBC show and wants Barry to spread his infectious behaviour, with disastrous results.
Yeah, some of the comedy has dated in our PC environment, but gross-out comedy never dates and the first Barry McKenzie film is still a pretty funny film. And let's face it, it's such an Aussie film that it might just be unwatchable to anyone outside of Australia, even the English (a thing that is ridiculously compensated for in the follow up). And boy do the Poms cop it. The only thing there is more of is Foster's. A fun film that is a nostalgic reminder of that continuing rivalry between Australian and the old Country.
5. Night of Fear (1972)
54 min | Horror, Thriller
Insane sadistic hermit stalks and captures those who get lost in his part of the woods. A young woman whose car broke down is about to find out what he does with them next.
Night of Fear is a 50 minute stalker thriller feature made in 1972 from the same team as Inn of the Damned where a young woman (Carla Hoogeveen, also in Inn of the Damned) goes off to have some tennis and a liaison with a married man. She is also a reckless driver and on her way back to Sydney, she narrowly avoids hitting a truck, only to run off the road and into a dead end (which she does not know). She follows it until she drives into a hidden ditch. This awakens a hillbilly type (Norman Yemm) who just happens to be a man who likes to do bad things to women, usually involving rats. The young woman is now lost in the middle of nowhere with a drooling maniac after her. Here's hoping she gets out alive...
Feeling more like an experimental movie with a multitude of editing and sound production, Night of Fear feels extremely dated but highly ambitious and technically proficient pointing to director Terry Bourke's hands on approach. The acting though is overly dramatic and seriously off-putting and while it may have worked back in the 70s, feels way too much now. But, like Inn of the Damned, Night of Fear isn't without it's charms, but again, it's close but no cigar.
6. The Sex Therapist (1973)
R | 87 min | Comedy
Australian waterbed salesman Alvin Sees a psychiatrist about his irresistibilty to women
Breakout film from the director of Stork, a fun but now quite questionable sex comedy about an average looking man who is irresistible to all women, but only wants one girl. Meanwhile, an incredibly sleazy psychiatrist uses him to seduce frigid women so he can film it and sell it to stag parties. Some of the content is troubling now, but it's still a very fun film with Graham Blundell's in his iconic role. Stacks of 70s nudity too.
7. Libido (1973)
117 min | Drama
Explores adultery and jealous fantasies, the end of innocence, the moral and spiritual conflicts of a priest and a nun in love. The stories define the exploration of women and the cultural upheaval of the early 70s.
Libido is a portmanteau film consisting of 4 short stories revolving around the erotic feelings of certain people in very different situations. The Husband is about an ultra-jealous husband who allows his wife and mother of his two children (Elke Neidhart) to have her own life, but has secret fears that she is off with other men. His fears seems unfounded or are they? The Child, directed by Alvin Purple director Tim Burstall, is about a young boy who becomes infatuated by his new nanny (Judy Morris), but things sour dramatically when she falls for a man and ends in tragedy. The Priest, directed by Fred Schepisi, is about a Catholic priest who falls madly in love with a nun (Robyn Nevin), but does she return the love. Finally, The Family Man is about two married men, Ken (Jack Thompson) and Gerry (Max Gillies), who decide to hook up with some young women while Ken's wife is in hospital after giving birth, but things don't go to plan when they pick up two girls (Debbie Nankervis and Suzanne Brady) from a bar.
Tough to like all four stories as they are all quite wildly different in tone and how they are told. Both The Husband and The Family Man are told in a more contemporary, mainstream way while the other two stories are more artfully told. The Priest is almost all narration, which gets a bit monotonous. Personally, I would say my favourite story was The Family Man, mainly for its interesting look at sexual politics in a time of great change for women and because Jack Thompson acting drunk is always fun.
89 min | Comedy
Alvin Purple, the world's most unlikely sex symbol stumbles from woman to woman and job to job in this zany, sexy Australian comedy.
Dreadful and obvious cash in follow up to the successful Alvin Purple. Most of the same cast comes back, some in different roles. Everything seems to be made up on the spot and after beginning in a similar way to the original, the film bizarrely turns into a gangster film. Frank Thring is a rare highlight.
9. Barry McKenzie Holds His Own (1974)
93 min | Comedy
Barry McKenzie's Aunt Edna is kidnapped by Count Von Plasma, the vampire head of an isolated Eastern European dictatorship who mistakes her for the Queen of England and thinks that ... See full summary »
Barry McKenzie Holds His Own is the follow up to the 1972 original where Barry McKenzie (Barry Crocker) and his aunt Edna Everage (Barry Humphries) are heading over to Paris to visit Barry's identical twin brother Kevin (um, probably Barry Crocker...), a reverend who is doing a talk in Paris. Meanwhile in Transylvania, head vampire Count von Plasma (Donald Pleasence) is wanting some royal blood and accidentally mistakes Edna Everage for the Queen of England and sends two incompetent goons to kidnap her. Finally, they kidnap her and the Australian cultural attaché tells Barry that he is not safe in Paris and that he can hide in England. Except, you now need a work permit to get into England, so Barry is smuggled in by boat. Once in England, he is instantly detained, but escapes to the Australian embassy where they hatch a plan to get Edna back from the Count.
Having a similar nonsensical plot change as the Alvin Purple sequel, this film handles it a lot better though. This film is actually pretty funny, I especially crack up any time the legendary Clive James' piss pot character appears on the screen, always opening a Foster's and then being siphoned for his blood, except it's 100% Foster's. Yeah, it's still very politically incorrect, there's even a black face scene, but once you get over the fact that these were different times, it's a very enjoyable sequel.
10. Between Wars (1974)
100 min | Drama, History, War
This film traces the career of Dr Edward Trenbow (Corin Redgrave), who becomes a well-respected Sydney psychiatrist. In the 1920s, he takes up residence at Callan Park Asylum. The film ... See full summary »
Between Wars in a drama about an English doctor during World War I, Dr. Edward Trenbow (Corin Redgrave) who is left in charge of a fledgling psychiatric war of a military hospital, even though he knows little about psychiatry (mind you, psychiatry was still very much trial and error at this point of time). After the war, he is brought to a mental hospital and put in charge of the hospital where he meets a German doctor versed in Freud. Dr. Trenbow is then sent to Australia where he continues his work, only to walk away and start up a country practice and something about becoming a communist and I starting to bore myself.
Yeah, I don't have an interest in psychiatry, but apparently neither does Dr. Trenbow. He seems to just float by as if he can't be bothered doing anything else, well until the whole communism thing in the 1930s comes along. He doesn't seem all that interested in defending his actions when charged with malpractice and doesn't seem all that interested in communism, his marriage and why not, life itself. I don't know what going on, but the doctor just seems to do things for something to do, it just bizarre. If only this was meant by the filmmakers, otherwise it would have been a far better film than this dated nonsense is serving up. Ah well, there's, bizarrely, a blow job scene in the film that comes out of nowhere. Hmmpgh, why not..?
11. The Cars That Ate Paris (1974)
PG | 91 min | Comedy, Horror
The small town of Paris, Australia deliberately causes car accidents, then sells/salvages all valuables from the wrecks as a means of economy.
First feature from the great director Peter Weir about a small town that causes fatal car accidents on out-of-towners and then sell the parts and belongings to live on. When one man survives, instead of the usual lobotomy, the mayor of the town takes him under his wing. Meanwhile, the young folk are getting antsy. Interesting film and a sign of better things to come from Weir.
12. Petersen (1974)
R | 97 min | Drama
Tony Petersen, a married electrician and ex-footballer, goes to university to study English. Petersen is odd man out at the uni. He receives extracurricular help from his stuffy professor's... See full summary »
Petersen is a drama about renaissance man Tony Petersen (Jack Thompson), an electrician and former footy star who has taken time out from his job to go to university, all the while encouraged by his doting wife Susie (Jacki Weaver) as she looks after their 2 kids. At university, he is a struggler, but he's doing a good job fitting in, mainly with one of his lecturers, the married Trish (Wendy Hughes), who are having a passionate affair. It seems that Petersen is quite the lady killer, even in front of his wife. He's also a big drinker and a brawler and you know how these go together. As the relationship with Trish develops, things for Petersen get more and more complex until it ends with a burst of extreme violence as he desperately tries to come to terms with his new life.
Wow, Petersen, from the writer of Don's Party and the director of Alvin Purple and Stork (and Attack Force Z, can't forget that little corker), is one hell of a film that is very much of the time, so much so it seems like science fiction. Petersen pretty much has to walk in a room and every woman wants to sleep with him. His wife is one of the most submissive wives I've ever seen in film, she seems unreal. Were/Are woman really that dismissive of themselves? The sexism is a given for a 70s film, but at least it addresses it and then throws it against the wall when Trish calls one character a nymphomaniac even though she is having an affair with Petersen. The violence in the film seems unbelievable, but after thinking about it a little, I don't think it's that far removed for a notorious brawler. The rape scene is very sudden and I can't make up my mind about it's meaning. I'm still struggling to get my head around the film but it has definitely got me thinking. It's a strong and often ugly look at a man trying to find himself, even if it's not a perfect film, it's definitely something. Plus Jack Thompson's drunk acting is a hoot and he's regularly drunk and violent in this film.
13. Stone (1974)
103 min | Action, Drama, Adventure
Members of the Grave Diggers Motorcycle Club are being knocked off one by one, and someone needs to find out why! Sandy Harbutt's timeless Australian cult film about a bunch of renegades riding Kawasaki 900s.
Stone is a bikie cult classic about a cop named Stone (Ken Shorter) who has been asked to find the person who is assassinating bikies. He attempts to join the Gravediggers, run by Undertaker (Sandy Harbutt, also writer/producer/director etc.) and is helped when he saves Undertaker from being assassinated. The gang reluctantly allows the cop to join but they welcome him as he is willing to join in their activities. As Stone goes about looking who is behind the killing, he finds that most people actually welcome the Gravediggers because while they're rowdy, they actually drive business. It turns out that those wanting them dead are not actually the usual enemies of bikies.
It's tough to describe the plot of this film because not a lot actually happens, it's more about the lifestyle and this is usually portrayed in the film with striking images more than plot. Stone is a filthy film, with the biker gang and their girls looking incredibly dirty which definitely adds a layer of authenticity to the film. Other images such as a massive (and quite insane) clifftop dive from a motorcycle, the bikie funeral ride, a bikie race and the brutal final scene are memorable even almost 40 years on. While the film meanders along in no hurry to get to it's destination, it's never boring and is far more intriguing than most biker films even when it delves into gross misogyny and other ugly behaviour. Stone is fascinating film that will be forever memorable.
14. The Great MacArthy (1975)
106 min | Comedy, Sport
Macarthy is a country football player who is kidnapped by the South Melbourne Football Club and made a star player in the city.
The Great Macarthy is a Aussie Rules comedy about country football star McCarthy (John Jarratt on debut) who is recruited to play football in the big leagues by the South Melbourne Swans. In the country, he worked in his dad's garage as a mechanic. In the city, he is well looked after, given an office job, which is basically a token position. And he soon becomes the star player at full forward. Then he starts taking night classes and he meets his teacher Miss Russell (Judy Morris), a cultured professional. He falls for her hard, but things don't go as planned and they break up. McCarthy moves on, but she is still in the back of his mind even when he quickly marries Andrea (Kate Fitzpatrick), the ballsy daughter of the club's owner Col Ball-Miller (Barry Humphries, criminally underused). And quickly divorces. McCarthy then loses his love for the game, but who knows, maybe Miss Russell will help him find it.
The Great Macarthy is a bizarre relic that is a rare example of Aussie Rules on the big screen (I think The Club and Australian Rules are the only others). The movie is all over the place. It places itself as a bawdy comedy, but anytime Judy Morris' cultured character is on screen, the film almost turns into an arthouse love story which doesn't fit at all. Most of the comedy is pretty crass and dated, but there's a laugh or two. The footy scenes are a mix of acting and real live action with a lookalike playing McCarthy and the footage is really good, so is the incorporation of the League Teams crew (although Jack Dyer is strangely missing from the film, but appears in the trailer...). Max Gilles plays two different characters who look exactly the same, which is just out and out baffling. Barry Humphries' character probably seemed funnier on paper.
But, there's one thing that amused me unintentionally and that is McCarthy wears the number 39 and plays full forward for the Swans just like a rather flamboyant show-off (who admittedly could play) in the 80s named Warwick Capper, who was the Great McCarthy of his day (as the tag line says, 'He's footy's most forward full forward'). Now, that is a bizarre coincidence.
15. The Dragon Flies (1975)
R | 111 min | Action, Drama, Adventure
Hong Kong Inspector Fang Sing Leng travels to Australia to extradite a drug dealer. When the hood is assassinated on his way to court, everyone suspects Jack Wilton, a crime lord who the local police haven't been able to pick up.
Epic kung fu actioner from genre journeyman Brian Trenchard-Smith bringing out Jimmy Wang Yu to Australia to track down the killer of a Hong Kong drug dealer (a really young Sammo Hung) and he does things his way which is to beat up everyone till it leads to the man he wants (George Lazenby showing some good skills). Insane action, a surprising amount of ball punching and some great scenery round out an superb action thriller. Surprised it's never been remade. 'You, you've blown it all sky high...'
16. Inn of the Damned (1975)
Not Rated | 118 min | Crime, Horror, Thriller
A sheriff investigates why the guests at a local hostelry check in, but never check out.
Inn of the Damned is a 1975 thriller set in the old West (bafflingly Gippsland in Victoria) where a rundown inn in the middle of nowhere is the site for a string of murders. Caroline (Dame Judith Anderson from Rebecca) and her ever loyal husband Lazar (Joseph Fürst) run the inn where they kill anybody who stays in their establishment which has something to do with their young children dying or something. One day, a trooper (Tony Bonner) stays there and is crushed in the bed by a platform weighed down by heavy rocks that the operated by Lazar. But, this couldn't of happened at a worse time as the place gets busy for the first time ever. First, a couple of noble women with their horseman get caught in a rainstorm and stop off to get out of the rain, then a maverick sheriff (Alex Cord), who has just killed a child killer who was harboured by the inn couple in self-defence, goes looking for the trooper and finds that the inn has much more than meets the eye.
Overlong (pushing two hours) movie that has pretensions to greatness including being heavily inspired by Hitchcock (Psycho particularly), but comes up short mainly thanks to too much going on. That's not to say that there aren't good things in the movie, it is well cast, particularly the inn couple who are very unnerving. The murders are quite nasty and well done and the movie is technically proficient, but it's the story that lets the movie down. It feels like two movies rolled into one, hence the quite long running time.
18. The Removalists (1975)
93 min | Drama
A good and a bad cop assist a battered wife as she tries to escape her belligerent husband.
Following two cops, Sergeant Dan Simmonds (Peter Cummins), a 30 year veteran and Constable Neville Ross (John Hargreaves), on his first day. Things are slow until Marilyn (Jacki Weaver), with the help of her sister Kate (Kate Fitzpatrick), files a complaint of domestic abuse against her husband Kenny (Martin Harris). After filing the complaint, the sisters come back a hour later to claim that Kenny has struck Marilyn again. The two cops call in a removalist (Chris Haywood), to help get Marilyn's stuff and head over to the house to supervise. But Kenny is completely standoffish, refuting all claims and goading the cops when not accusing his wife of everything under the sun. Then, Sergeant Dan starts laying into Kenny to help him shut up, which only exacerbates things as Kenny starts claiming police brutality. Things get more tense and more violent before the unthinkable happens.
Based on a David Williamson play (wasn't everything in the 70s), The Removalists finds it hard to move away from its stage origins and at times feels very crowded. Even at only 85 minutes, the movie feels long and has scenes that don't feel necessary. And while the movie is fairly watchable, it does become a brutal violent mess where you'd think the cop characters would probably be kicked out of the force for what happens. I get the feeling this is one of Williamson's lesser plays.
19. Scobie Malone (1975)
98 min | Mystery
Sydney homicide detective Sergeant Scobie Malone and his offsider investigate the murder of Helga, whose corpse is found in the basement of the Sydney Opera House.
A thriller where playboy cop Scobie Malone (Jack Thompson) is called in to investigate the murder of actress Helga Brand (Judy Morris) at the Sydney Opera House and who Scobie has a brief fling with. As we follow Scobie and his partner Clemens (Shane Porteous) as they investigate, we also see Helga's side of the story, we find out that Helga is really a blackmailer who seduces men of importance, including in this case Walter Helidon (James Condon), a high up politician. Helga asks for $20,000 or their dalliances are made public. But, Helga wants out of the blackmailing business and looks for one big score and when her lover Jack Savanna (Joe Martin) happens across crime kingpin Mr. Sin's (Noel Ferrier) heroin importing operation, they may have their way out. But, Mr. Sin is having none of that.
Surprisingly good little, long forgotten potboiler that's carried by Jack Thompson's usual charm and an against type turn from Judy Morris, who's all types of nasty. Also backed up by a fairly decent supporting cast including a pre-A Country Practice Shane Porteous trying to be hip and some quality tail making Scobie Malone a pretty fun ol' watch.
And if you ever see it, look out for Bryan Brown playing a cop in what looks like his first ever movie, bafflingly listed as Brian Bronn in the credits.
20. The True Story of Eskimo Nell (1975)
103 min | Comedy, Western
The film's unlikely protagonist is a mild-mannered window peeper named Dead-Eye Dick (Max Gillies), who spies on a Mexican couple.
Two travellers form an unlikely bond over Dead Eye Dick's liking of Mexico Pete's orgasm face. And then at the insistence of Dick they travel together far and wide to find the ultimate prostitute Eskimo Nell, who turns out to be someone very different depending of the person. Feeble comedy and a waste of Max Gillies and if that doesn't grab you there's plenty of nudity, including Abigail's first full frontal nude scene as trumpeted loudly at the time. Director Richard Franklin would go onto to much better as a genre director.
21. Caddie (1976)
100 min | Drama, Romance
Sydney, Australia in the mid-1920's. Proud and classy Caddie Marsh is forced to get a job as a barmaid and raise two children on her own after her rich cad husband walks out on her. Despite... See full summary »
22. Deathcheaters (1976)
93 min | Action, Adventure
Two best friends, Vietnam War veterans turned stunt men, are sent as spies to the Philippines on a top secret mission for the Australian government.
'Boy's Own' action adventure where two Vietnam war buddies, Steve (John Hargreaves) and Rod (stuntman Grant Page) now run a successful movie stunts business with them as the stars. One day, shady ASIO head Culpepper (Noel Ferrier) spies them performing some spectacular stunts and decides to test their abilities for a super-secret spy mission. With some reservations from his wife Julia (Margaret Gerard, the director's wife), Steve and ladies man Rod take the job. They are to infiltrate a power station which holds the details of a plan by some Filipino crime lord and they are to bring it back to Culpepper.
Second feature movie directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith (The Man From Hong Kong was his first) is a shameless ode to stuntman Grant Page but has the added bonus of a surprisingly well-cast John Hargreaves in a rare action role. Deathcheaters is a movie that is just an excuse for spectacular stunts and with that brief, it more than excels. The movie has some spectacular sights thanks to first-time cinematographer John Seale and features plenty of cameos from BTS regulars. The plot is very thin, but who cares. Apart from some heavy exposition scenes in the middle, Deathcheaters is a whole lotta fun, but if you're looking for more, this isn't the movie for you.
23. The Devil's Playground (1976)
107 min | Drama
Fred Schepisi's film, 'The Devil's Playground' is an intimate portrait of Tom, a thirteen-year-old struggling in spirit and body with the constraints of living in a Catholic seminary. It is... See full summary »
24. Don's Party (1976)
90 min | Comedy, Drama
The movie Dons Party is about a wild house party in a suburban Australian neighbourhood. Don Henderson convinces his wife to have another party so that their friends can gather to watch the... See full summary »
Don's Party is a slice of life comedy/drama that focuses on a time when there is key changes in the social structure. Set on the night of the 1969 Australian elections where the Labor Party is tipped to get back into office for the first time since 1949, Don (John Hargreaves) and his wife Kath (Jeanie Drynan) host a party to celebrate a Labor Party victory, inviting his friends who have varying views. Simon (Graeme Blundell) and Jody (Veronica Lang) are fairly conservative and seem out of place at the party. Mal (Ray Barrett) and Jenny (Pat Bishop) are long time friends of Don and Kath with similar views, but their marriage is a little unsteady. Mack's (Graham Kennedy) wife has dumped him and arrived by himself. Evan and Kerry (Candy Raymond) are a couple whose marriage is falling apart and it's going to be a long night for them. Finally, serial womaniser Cooley (Harold Hopkins) has picked up a promiscuous young girl Susan (Clare Binney) and together they are going to set this party alight. Over the night, both political and sexual tensions will hit boiling point, marriages and friendships frayed and things may never be the same again. If only the Labor Party would win the election. (Spoiler: They don't).
It's hard to describe Don's Party without going on and on because there's some much happening. It's a pretty much perfect showcase of a certain time and I say that as someone who has an aversion to writer David Williamson's work (although I seem to have forgotten why). While it is based on a play and is pretty much set just at Don's house, it never feels stagey or restrictive like The Removalists. Director Bruce Beresford has done some great work here. There's so many iconic scenes and while the characters all have their purpose, Cooley is a standout, he's so freaking hilarious. His reaction to finding out the girl he just picked up, Susan, is just 19 is priceless. And he hits on every woman at the party, including Jenny, who he calls a fishwife. It's all gold and I have to say, one the best Australian films ever.
25. Eliza Fraser (1976)
130 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama
An old captain & his young wife share a lot of adventures after they're shipwrecked and captured by Aborigines on an island near Australia.
Eliza Fraser is a bawdy period farce set in the early years of Australia where the incompetent captain of the brigantine ship, Captain Fraser (Noel Ferrier) sails his ship to Moreton Bay prison where his 2nd in command Captain Rory McBride (English actor John Castle) disembarks wanting to captain his own ship. McBride is also carrying on an affair with Captain Fraser's wife Eliza (English actress Susannah York). At Moreton Bay prison, now under the command of the sadistic Captain Foster Fyans (the legendary Trevor Howard), always enlists a snitch and a bedboy at every prison he run and the job of bedboy goes to David Bracefell (John Waters), who decides to run off naked instead of sharing the bed with Fyans. He ends up the bed of Eliza, who at first mistakes him for McBride, but instead of turning him, she takes pity on him and helps him escape. The next day, the Frasers leave Moreton Bay and wouldn't you know it, get shipwrecked in the same spot the Captain did 4 years previous. A group of Aborigines take in the Frasers and for a while, they live like Aborigines until an Aboriginal elder decides to marry Eliza and she and the Captain escape, with the help of Bracefell who turns up in the nick of time. Eliza takes a shine to Bracefell and want to escape to New Zealand with him, away from her husband, but there one more thing they hadn't counted on. The return of McBride.
From the people behind Alvin Purple and Petersen, Eliza Fraser is a fun romp, although not really a funny romp. Would have to be one of the first movies to have an extensive look into the lives of Aborigines. Eliza Fraser was a real life person who was notorious for spinning tall tales and this is definitely one tall tale. And there's a requisite nude cameo from Abigail, an oft-used selling point for movies in the 70s.
26. End Play (1976)
80 min | Thriller
Interesting two-hander about two brothers who are both suspected of a series of murders of female hitchhikers (we enter with a hitchhiker played by Delvene Delaney been bumped off), even though one is wheelchair bound. Both brothers are weirdos and the alibi involves both using each other in one way or another. Intriguing stuff from the director of Stork and Alvin Purple.
27. Mad Dog Morgan (1976)
R | 102 min | Action, Crime, Drama
The true story of Irish outlaw Daniel Morgan, who is wanted, dead or alive, in Australia during the 1850s.
Mad Dog Morgan, ah Mad Dog Morgan, is a biographical drama about notorious bushranger Daniel Morgan (Dennis Hopper, yes Dennis Hopper at his most ridiculous best), an Irishman driven to robbing a stagecoach when his luck runs out in the goldfields. He is caught and sent to jail for 12 years where he is subjected to all sorts of horrors. On release, Morgan vows revenge on everyone who wronged him and because he is broke, he might as well robbed some folk as well. When Morgan is shot, he is nursed back to health by an Aborigine named Billy (David Gulpilil from Walkabout), who then joins forces with Morgan to help him escape from the encroaching traps (police), headed by a harsh Superintendent (Frank Thring, in fine form) and lead on the ground by Detective Manwaring (Jack Thompson). As Morgan heads to Victoria, he also seems to be given the support of many people who hate the traps and authority as much as he does.
This, this is a bizarre film and I suppose that is why Troma were involved with it for a while. Dennis Hopper is so over the top (and possibly under the influence) that it's impossible not to shake your head in disbelief. Lots of rambling and incoherent behaviour both on and off the set. And the director Philippe Mora (later of Howling 2 and 3, Communion) seems just as eccentric with some absolutely bizarre stuff going on. I wouldn't say this was a particularly good film, but one you should watch just for the sheer madness of it. And it contains the best final line in cinema history.
And don't forget the scrotum...
28. 20th Century Oz (1976)
R | 85 min | Fantasy, Comedy, Musical
Dorothy is a sixteen-year-old groupie riding with a rock band when, suddenly, the van is in a road accident, and she hits her head. She wakes up in a fantasy world as gritty and realistic ... See full summary »
70s rock'n'roll interpretation of The Wizard of Oz (funnily enough not credited as such...) as Dorothy decides to come to Melbourne to see the Wizard, a glam rock star, after she is in a car accident that kills a town bully. Along the way, Dorothy is joined by with a dumb surfer, a rigid mechanic and a cowardly bikie and she is being followed by a psychotic truckie who wants to rape her. Some good moments mixed with the silliness of reinterpreting Oz to 70s Australia. The concert footage featuring The Wizard is superb.
29. Storm Boy (1976)
Not Rated | 88 min | Drama, Family
Mike is a lonely Australian boy living in a coastal wilderness with his reclusive father. In search of friendship he encounters an Aboriginal native loner and the two form a bond in the care of orphaned pelicans.
32. The F.J. Holden (1977)
101 min | Drama
Bankstown, NSW, Australia, 1970s. Kevin and his mate Bob spend their time drinking and cruising around the western suburbs of Sydney in Kevin's yellow FJ Holden, looking for girls. One day ... See full summary »
Teenage boy gets his first car and uses it to cruise for girls. One girl takes a shine to him and they go out for a while, her parents object and then boy blows it during a booze fueled sex act. Boy tries to get her back, but by this stage he has passed to the point of no return and being drunk (again) doesn't help. Interesting slice of life film that feels like Puberty Blues told from the boys perspective. And Frankie J. Holden has an obvious cameo.
33. High Rolling in a Hot Corvette (1977)
PG | 89 min | Comedy, Crime
Two fun-loving carnival workers take a vacation with the hope of finding plenty of sex and drugs. Their "quest" is fulfilled when they encounter a dope-peddler and two exotic nightclub dancers.
High Rolling (also known as High Rolling in a Hot Corvette, which is pretty good description of the plot) is a caper comedy about two bounders, an cocksure American cowboy Texas (American actor Joseph Bottoms) and a bare knuckle fighter Albee (Grigor Taylor) who move on for more adventures after Tex is sacked for having sex on the job. They hitch a ride with a rough character (John Clayton) is his green Corvette, but after the rough character comes onto Albee, Albee knocks him out and he and Tex steal his wad of cash and his car which also has a large stash of dope and a gun. So off they drive to the Gold Coast, picking up a teenage hitchhiker Lynn (Judy Davis, on debut), but once they get to the Gold Coast, they are picked for a couple of rubes and cannot pick up any girls. They get some new 'threads' and head to a strip club where they hit on a strip act duo (Wendy Hughes and Sandra McGregor), but Tex is unsuccessful and gets beaten up by a bouncer (Gus Mercurio). While the beaten Tex goes off to lick his wounds, Albee goes off with the girls for a night to remember. All the while, the rough character is tracking them down wanting his stuff back.
Interesting relic that is fun and has an occasional good scene (the bus robbery is pretty funny, the strip performance is surprisingly sexy particularly with Wendy Hughes cast majorly against type), but has also seriously dated and barely gets going before ending, suggesting a serious of adventures were planned.
Judy Davis was a real cutie back in the day, still in NIDA during filming, but I doubt she ever made a movie like this again. I can't think of one.
34. Journey Among Women (1977)
93 min | Drama
In colonial Australia, daughter of a judge helps a group of female convicts living in inhuman conditions escape. Aboriginal girl teaches them how to survive in the forest. One of them gets raped and killed. The group seeks revenge.
35. The Last Wave (1977)
PG | 106 min | Drama, Fantasy, Mystery
A Sydney lawyer defends five Aborigines in a ritualized taboo murder and in the process learns disturbing things about himself and premonitions.
36. The Mango Tree (1977)
PG-13 | 93 min | Drama
Jamie is a young man growing up in the small Australian town of Bundaberg during the early 1940's. Jamie loves his tranquil life, surrounded by the friendly locals, and being brought up by ... See full summary »
37. The Newman Shame (1978 TV Movie)
93 min | Thriller
Stars "For One Time Only" James Bond George Lazenby as John Brandy, an ex cop who turned in his badge when he inherited money. Living a hedonistic lifestyle his pleasures come to an end ... See full summary »
A rare foray into Perth for an Australian film where a former cop (George Lazenby) is brought back to investigate the supposed suicide of an old friend, a bank manager who supposedly killed himself to end the shame of being the unwitting star of a homemade porno. But, the porno is obviously faked and there's a conspiracy in the making. With the help of his overexuberant girl, the cop delves into the underworld and is shocked by what he discovers. Good little thriller well played by both Lazenby and Diane Craig as his girlfriend.
38. The Picture Show Man (1977)
PG | 99 min | Comedy, Drama
At the beginnings of this centuary a man, his son and a piano player travel around Australia showing the first silent movies (naturally in black and white). But what they really want is ... See full summary »
The Picture Show Man is a light comedy nostalgia piece from 1977 that follows a father and son travelling picture show troupe. Pop (John Meillon) and Larry (Harold Hopkins) travel across the bush showing films to towns that are starved of such things. But, they are struggling and have just lost a piano player in Lou (Garry McDonald), who joins their competition, run by an American called Palmer (Rod Taylor). Pop replaces Lou in the next town with playboy piano player Freddie Graves (John Ewart) and then picks up a new horse, well, a horse that was a champion, but is now struggling. It is not until the horse is embarrassing trounced by a horse ridden by a woman that Pop realises his error. Meanwhile, Larry has a growing need to move on and that's when he meets a woman bathing in a lake, Lucy (Sally Conabere), who was also the woman jockey. He immediately falls for her and then convinces Pop that he could stay with her while Pop goes onto the next town. Pop replaces his son with a travelling gypsy magic act, but that goes wrong when Pop attempts a relationship with the woman of the group. It's clear that Pop is out of his depth, but a change in luck is around the corner.
Set in the times when sound was about to be implemented in movies, this film is a small joy, but at the same time a slight film. While never boring and has some genuinely funny moments, it seems stuck on being a slapstick film, which may have been befitting of the time the film is set, but doesn't quite click in regards to the film. A fun film, but ultimately a forgettable one. And while it's good to see Rod Taylor in an Australian film, he seems wasted in a small role.
39. Summer City (1977)
Not Rated | 83 min | Drama, Thriller
The exploits of four boys who leave Sydney and head out for a weekend of surfing and adventure. Unfortunately the fun takes a serious turn when they find themselves involved in a murder.
Cheapie apocalyptic surfer flick (yes, that's right) about four friends looking for surf and girls. But, when one bloke knocks up a young girl, her father goes berserk and hunts them down. Starring Mel Gibson and Steve Bisley in their first roles (later together in Mad Max), it looks like it was made with loose change and was apparently half finished but is surprisingly well made and intriguing. It's unofficial sequel is that very special beyond awful that could only happen in the 80s, which make you wonder...
40. Summerfield (1977)
95 min | Drama, Mystery
A teacher discovers one of his students has a rare blood disease, and is drawn into a mystery that culminates in a thrilling climax.
Very good moody thriller about a substitute teacher that comes to an island community to teach after the previous teacher mysteriously disappears. He becomes involved in helping a young girl who has a rare disease and then is attracted to her mother. But something is off, particularly with the mother's relationship with her brother. Film takes a while to get going, but when it does, it's very intriguing. Final act is quite shocking even now.
41. The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978)
108 min | Biography, Crime, Drama
The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith is a shocking indictment of the racism inflicted on the Indigenous people of Australia.
The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith is a drama set in the late 1800s that focuses on half caste Aborigine Jimmy Blacksmith (Tommy Lewis) who is brought up by the local reverend (Jack Thompson) in his orphanage. Once he becomes old enough, Jimmy sets off into the world, taking jobs where he can find them, but the racism against Aborigines is shocking and Jimmy has it hard, but fights on nonetheless. After meeting a white woman Gilda Marshall (Angela Punch McGregor) at a new job, he gets her pregnant and is happy to be a father and maybe he might be accepted more by the community. He is for a while, even given land and his own place for he and Gilda, but when his brother and uncles join him on the land, Jimmy's boss sees red and bans Jimmy and Gilda from getting supplies. They also offer Gilda a way out by leaving Jimmy and this sets Jimmy off and after a confrontation with his boss goes wrong, Jimmy goes berserk and with the help of his uncle, he takes revenge on the women of the house, killing 4 and seriously injuring one other. On the run with his brother, Jimmy decides to take revenge on everyone who wronged him to the point where he seems like a 'devil' to his brother. But, the posse are not far behind and are bloodthirsty in their revenge.
Brutally honest look at the life of Jimmie Blacksmith, an Aboriginal man from the late 1800s, who tries to make a go at life including marrying a white woman and caring for her child, but when his bosses family restricts his ability to do things in an attempt to drive him away, he takes revenge by murdering the women of the house. Based on a book by Thomas Kenneally, this is a well made look at a shocking incident and a time when Aborigines were treated like animals. Tough stuff to watch at times.
42. The Getting of Wisdom (1977)
Not Rated | 101 min | Drama
Oscar-nominated director Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy, Tender Mercies) crafts a tender coming-of-age tale that introduces one of Australian literature's most beloved characters to ... See full summary »
Period piece featuring possibly every young teenage actress in Australia at the time. Young girl from the country with exceptional talent is offered scholarship to prestigious girls school, but finds the social politics hard to handle, particularly when they find out her family is poor. Finally, she makes a friend, but loses her just as quickly. Then she concocts a relationship with the handsome young priest that enthralls the others, but when it backfires it further alienates her until she moves in with a young social climbing teacher who takes her under her wing. But that's going to end badly too. Great comedy of manners film from director Bruce Beresford, who was on such a roll at this stage that even a change of pace was not going to trip him.
43. Long Weekend (1978)
Not Rated | 97 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
When a suburban couple go camping for the weekend at a remote beach, they discover that nature isn't in an accommodating mood.
Intriguing two-hander humans vs nature thriller about a bickering couple who go camping for the long weekend much to chagrin of the wife (Briony Behets, adding to her list of victims). They treat nature with contempt and then nature fights back in its own special way. Great idea that is executed creepily well, but just falls short of being a great film mainly because its very heavy handed and over-the-top with the humans brutality of nature. Even Greenpeace isn't this overbearing!
44. Money Movers (1978)
R | 92 min | Crime, Action, Thriller