Monash contributor

Much Ado About Nothing

Brian McFarlane
Wednesday, 24 July 2013

There have been more than 900 Shakespearean film adaptations of one kind or other, for screens large and small, dating back to scenes from Macbeth in 1898. The Stratford playwright would have become rich beyond the dreams of avarice from film rights alone; equally, though, I think he would have acknowledged that film-makers have notched up a pretty hono ...

The Great Gatsby

Brian McFarlane
Friday, 17 May 2013

One should approach a new film with an open mind, but it’s very hard to do so when it has been preceded by the sort of hype that has accompanied The Great Gatsby. And it’s not just the hype but the other threats to the open mind which include the famous source novel (one that people know about even if they haven’t read it), the previous film versions, ...

Great Expectations

Brian McFarlane
Tuesday, 26 March 2013

What is it about Great Expectations (1861) that makes it seem indispensable? Can it be its hero, Pip’s, search for a liveable identity? The small, terrified, often bullied child gets a glimpse of ‘the quality’ albeit in desuetude, becomes dissatisfied with being a blacksmith, receives the eponymous expectations, and tries to become a gentleman before se ...

The fortunes of HHR’s father

John Arnold
Monday, 25 March 2013

Helen Garner, speaking about Nora, the main character in her iconic novel Monkey Grip (1977), once said that, although she had seen and experienced many of the things that had happened to Nora, she was not Nora. In a similar vein, Bruce Steele argues in this short biography of Walter Lindesay Richardson that although there are many similarities b ...

Norman Haire was born in Sydney’s Paddington in 1892, the year in which the word ‘homosexual’ is said to have entered the English language in the translation of Krafft-Ebing’sPsychopathia Sexualis. It was a coincidence Haire might have enjoyed, though for a man given to speaking his mind he was always discreet about his homosexuality.

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Wuthering Heights

Brian McFarlane
Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Those Brontës. If they’d only had a decent agent with foresight, they could have escaped that dank parsonage on the gloomy moors of windswept Yorkshire and set up on the French Riviera in comfort. Since 1910 there have been at least forty film or television versions of Jane Eyre, most recently in 2011. Now it is Emily’s turn for the latest (seventeenth) ...

Darrell Lewis first encountered the Victoria River District of the Northern Territory in 1971 when he worked as a field assistant for the Bureau of Mineral Resources. ‘There was an aura about the country which fired my imagination,’ he writes. Since then, as an historian and archaeologist, he has become an auth ...

Robert Aldrich: Gay Life Stories

Brian McFarlane
Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Brian McFarlane

 

Gay Life Stories
by Robert Aldrich
Thames & Hudson, $39.95 hb, 304 pp, 9780500251843

 

The author of this handsomely produced volume claims in his opening sentence, ‘The sex lives of celebrities (and the less famous) always excite the cu ...

The Deep Blue Sea

Brian McFarlane
Monday, 23 April 2012

By chance, two of the most famous 1950s plays are in the news again. John Osborne’s historic rant, Look Back in Anger (1956), has been successfully revived on Broadway, while Terence Rattigan’s emotionally taut piece, The Deep Blue Sea (1952), has been filmed by another Terence – Davies, that is. In their day, Osborne railed against the ‘po ...

Lucas Smith reviews 'The Cartographer' by Peter Twohig

Lucas Smith
Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The unnamed, eleven-year-old narrator protagonist of The Cartographer has an epileptic fit after witnessing a horrific rape-murder. The year is 1959. His father has just left the family days after his identical twin brother was killed by faulty playground equipment. The child’s closest friend is his wheeler-dealer grandfather, but it is in his own head that he thrives. To act out his ...