5 user 2 critic

The Everlasting Secret Family (1988)

A beautiful, if ambitious and amoral, youth is tapped to become the lover of a powerful senator. The young man quickly realizes that he can hold this place, with all its perks, only as long... See full summary »


Michael Thornhill


Frank Moorhouse (adaptation), Frank Moorhouse

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mark Lee ... Youth
Drew Norman Drew Norman ... Oil Boy
Dennis Miller Dennis Miller ... Eric, the Chauffeur
Arthur Dignam Arthur Dignam ... Senator
Alan Carey Alan Carey ... Doctor at Oval
Ken Keen Ken Keen ... Headmaster
Marcus Cornelius Marcus Cornelius ... Teacher at Oval
Heather Mitchell Heather Mitchell ... Wife
Michael Winchester Michael Winchester ... School Teacher
Louis Nowra Louis Nowra ... Shop Assistant
Dominic Barry Dominic Barry ... Bell Captain
Paul Davies Paul Davies ... Waiter #1
Allan Penney Allan Penney ... Gardener
Victor Ramon Victor Ramon ... Maitre'd #1
Michael Kozuki Michael Kozuki ... Mr. Akutangana


A beautiful, if ambitious and amoral, youth is tapped to become the lover of a powerful senator. The young man quickly realizes that he can hold this place, with all its perks, only as long as he is young. He has no other function than being young. With the help of an aged judge, the young man, referred to only as The Lover, contrives a plan to make a change in the way of the world, a plan that will take him years to realize. To succeed, he must manipulate, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, the senator, his wife, the family chauffeur (who was, when young, a lover), and, by implication, the entire well-planned and controlling everlasting secret family. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


Unrated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

September 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

O Senador See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



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Did You Know?


Paul Goddard's character ("The Son") tells Mark Lee ("The Youth") that he would love to see the site of the Battle of Gallipoli someday. Mark Lee starred in the film of Gallipoli (1981) with Mel Gibson. See more »


During his first encounter at the hotel, the Youth's grip on his creme de menthe glass changes between shots. See more »


Featured in The Hidden History of Homosexual Australia (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

A truly disturbing film
19 June 2005 | by adamm-4See all my reviews

A truly disturbing film that not only deals as its principal subject matter the sexual abuse of a youth who is inducted into an all pervasive "secret society" with very powerful members, but also because it confirms the sadly often held view of some sections of society that believe that this is how all homosexuals operate. That said, the sexual hypocrisy of Australian society of the sixties and seventies is tantalizingly portrayed.

The movie is set in an almost bucolic environment which is quite fitting when one considers that Canberra, the national capital of Australia is plonked right in the middle of nowhere. Later in the movie the scene shifts to Sydney, and surprisingly the harbour is not featured so much as the claustrophobic sandstone architecture of some indoor shots.

Designers should note the accurate representation of 70's chic of the youth's apartment.

The performance of Arthur Dignam in particular is spectacular, as is the muted and understated performance of the superb John Meillon in one of his final roles. Watch for Mark Lee trying not to cringe at one point when the "son" (Paul Goddard) says that he wants to visit the place where the first world war battle took place (Gallipoli) - Mark Lee having starred in the movie of the same name some years earlier.

The soundtrack is haunting for two reasons: Tony Bremner's themes orchestrated beautifully only to be let down by the unbearably out of tune male choir. This is such a pity because the score is truly wonderful.

I was delighted to have a copy of VHS: now it's even better on DVD, although the "extras" are virtually non existent.

Can this be recommended? It certainly reminds me of my teen years growing up in Australia when homosexuality was still a criminal offence and the only way to know one another was through underground contacts. I do wonder however, what people overseas will be able to make of this movie.

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