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Under the Lighthouse Dancing (1997)

The story of 6 friends who journey to an island off the coast of Australia for the weekend. Two of them (Emma and Harry) announce that they intend to get married, but have made no plans, ... See full summary »


Graeme Rattigan


David Giles (screenplay by), Graeme Rattigan (screenplay by)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Aden Gillett ... David
Jack Thompson ... Harry
Jacqueline McKenzie ... Emma
Naomi Watts ... Louise
Phillip Holder Phillip Holder ... Garth (as Philip Holder)
Zoe Bertram ... Juliet
Jo Bolton Jo Bolton ... Acrobats
Brendan Coleman Brendan Coleman ... Acrobats
Marty Cunningham Marty Cunningham ... Acrobats
Frederique Fouche ... Acrobats (as Frédérigue Fouché)
Judith Langan Judith Langan ... Acrobats
Simon Marsh Simon Marsh ... Acrobats
Karen Murphy Karen Murphy ... Acrobats
Natalie Saleeba ... Acrobats
Ross Vegas Ross Vegas ... Acrobats


The story of 6 friends who journey to an island off the coast of Australia for the weekend. Two of them (Emma and Harry) announce that they intend to get married, but have made no plans, nor do they have a proper license. Emma also announces that she is very ill, and all she wants is a wedding. The other four friends then try to find a way to make it all happen... Written by Bijou <Bijou@AppliedIS.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis









Release Date:

16 October 1997 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Bailando bajo la luz del faro See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Silver Turtle Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The filming location for Under the Lighthouse Dancing is Rottnest Island, a popular holiday island 30kms off the Perth coast and is famous for its quokkas. The beach house was constructed especially for the movie, as accommodation is limited to commercial establishments only. Cars are also kept to a minimum on the island and there are no private vehicles allowed. See more »


Written by Tom Kimmel (as T. Kimmel)/Jennifer Kimball (as J. Kimball)
Night Rainbow Music Inc/Morrissette Music Inc/EMI Music Publishing Australia Pty Ltd
Performed by John Farnham
Courtesy of BMG Australia Limited
See more »

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User Reviews

an Australian beauty
21 March 2005 | by ptb-8See all my reviews

UNDER THE LIGHTHOUSE DANCING was made in Perth Western Australia in 1996. It had a reputation then for being incredibly expensive and unfortunately unreleasable. In fact both those statements were at the time, correct. It cost an unbelievable $7million dollars which made it impossible to ever recoup its production cost, (it would have to gross $20m for the rentals to bring that back in) and more astonishingly was shelved because no Australian Film Distributor wanted to release it in cinemas. The gorgeous house as seen was actually built for the film and then demolished afterwards (sorry). But the film should never have cost so much; in Oz terms in the mid 90s,it should have cost about $3m like other films of the day (MURIEL, and S. BALLROOM etc) The director, Graeme Rattigan eventually was contacted with a rescue plan and the film broke records in Perth when released in just one cinema in Oct 1997. BUT....the reviews!!!.. crucifying nasty cruel vindictive and absolutely soul destroying. One male reviewer from the WestAustralian Newspaper printed a two page splash headed in giant letters ROTTO SHIPWRECK as the film was made on Rottnest Island, off Perth and gleefully demolished every single aspect of the production, the acting and the reputation of Rattigan himself. If one views the film at face value, as I did, and I can see from other comments from the USA that many other people did too, LIGHTHOUSE is a particularly exquisite romantic drama with glorious cinematography and lush production values. And set on one of the world's most beautiful unknown locations, Rottnest Island. But the media had it in for this film and wherever it played in Australia, it was lambasted by snarly critics, keen to kill it off. However, the female public loved it and word of mouth was quite good. It did play across the country in limited release and to a small appreciative audience. There was a reason for the Australian media to have it in for this production: lead actress Jacqueline MacKenzie was nominated in the 1997 Australian Film Awards for two other films in two equal Best actress categories: one was a Melbourne cinema-movie drama ANGEL HEART and another was a TV movie. As LIGHTHOUSE was filming at the time, the producers and director (incredibly) refused to let her leave the set and briefly travel back to the Eastern States to the Awards night. She was extremely upset. Then, to the collective embarrassment of everyone she won the two awards for both roles, an unheard-of achievement in Australian type "Emmy/Oscar". But she wasn't there to be on stage, she was stuck on the LIGHTHOUSE set, missing out on the one mighty acting awards achievement accolade of her career. As a result, there was an almost mutiny against Director Rattigan and the film was doomed to be the sour blot on his and her career. The actors refused to allow ANY publicity on LIGHTHOUSE, walked through the rest of their roles and laughed out loud at the mention of the film getting released. It is as if collectively the film making, media and acting community were punishing Rattigan for keeping her away from her biggest night. It was an unforgiven blunder and it cost LIGHTHOUSE it's proper release in Australia. The public who did not really know much of this just enjoyed the film, as is evident today, but the media made sure the film was either ridiculed or ignored as payback. Sad but true. Naomi Watts has survived it well though, as KING KONG can attest.

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