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The Dismissal (1983)
Very Detailed but Understandable Account of Events
As a Canadian, I didn't know very much about the Whitlam dismissal. I had read the Wikipedia page about those events, but that was about it. Earlier this year, when Canada went through a potential constitutional crisis (it fizzled out, thankfully) that might have led to intervention by our Governor-General, the Whitlam dismissal was mentioned in the press. In an effort to learn more, I ordered the DVD of this mini-series through EBay.
I was greatly impressed by how interesting the account was. As dramatic as events were, this could have been a very boring political drama. However, it was a pretty suspenseful mini-series. I was also impressed by how understandable it was, despite my lack of familiarity with Australian politics. It didn't take long to figure out who everyone was, and what their roles were.
Having said that, it is not an entirely impartial account. Malcolm Fraser is certainly portrayed as a rather Machiavellian figure, who lets no person or thing get in the way of his quest to be Prime Minister. Gough Whitlam is portrayed in a more noble, almost saintly, light. However, the actor portraying Whitlam channels the nobility in such a way that it comes across more as pomposity. I thought that Sir John Kerr was portrayed in a fairly sympathetic manner.
I must warn people that the DVD is of very poor quality. I understand that it was made for television in the early 80s, but it would appear that no effort was made to restore the picture quality or sound quality. It was very disappointing that no extras were added either. A documentary, or even some interviews with the historical figures, would have enhanced the experience, but there is nothing.
I highly recommend this mini-series for anyone interested in the real-life events.
I Miss You, Hugs and Kisses (1978)
Not a very good movie based on an infamous true story
This is a poorly-acted and sloppily-made film based on the infamous Demeter murder case that happened in Mississauga back in 1973. Just a couple of years before, the same filmmaker made Recommendation for Mercy, a fictionalized account of the Steven Truscott case.
This movie takes liberties with some of the facts, but is substantially true to the real facts. Peter Demeter was an immigrant real estate developer that got rich and married a former model. When she was found dead in their garage, he was arrested and, with the help of friends-turned-prosecution witnesses, convicted of either committing or contracting her murder. An award-winning book, By Persons Unknown, written by George Jonas and Barbara Amiel, is an excellent account of the case.
The print that I saw was old and scratchy. It is not a remarkable film in any sense, but it is an interesting take on a small piece of Canadian history.
Stupid and Poorly Written
Dealers is a boring, messy cliché of a film. It is yet another one of those films that portrays the world of finance as a high-energy, high stakes game of egos and questionable morality. In reality, playing with other people's money as recklessly as the people in this movie do will end in negligence lawsuits or bankruptcy (a la Barings Bank).
On the cinematic front, this is not a good film. The script is poor and the acting isn't much better. Rebecca DeMornay is nice to look at but just isn't credible. This movie seems to have been made to cash in on the bull market mentality of the Eighties. There are generous doses of Oliver Stone's slightly-better Wall Street in this film, although it is closer in mentality to Top Gun than anything else.
A complete waste of time.
The World at War (1973)
Greatest Documentary Series Ever.
World At War is perhaps the greatest documentary series of all time. The historical research is virtually flawless. Even after a quarter century, it is the most accurate and definitive documentary about WW2. An invaluable historical work that includes interviews with some of the most important and fascinating figures from the war. I highly recommend it as a learning experience.