Monash contributor

Posthumous Holmes

Brian McFarlane

 

The Narrative of John Smith
by Arthur Conan Doyle (read by Robert Lindsay)
British Library Board (Inbooks), $39.95 5 CDs, 270 minutes, 9780712351157

 

A century later, the Conan Doyle/Sherlock Holmes industry shows n ...

The fifty-seventh summer of Ray Lawler’s great play

John Rickard
Wednesday, 01 February 2012

‘This harsh, cawing, strongly felt play’

by John Rickard

 

 

I first saw Summer of the Seventeenth Doll in 1957 in London, of all places. I remember feeling some pride in seeing the symbolic kewpie doll presiding over the New Theatre in the heart of the West End. June Jago’s performance as Olive has stayed ...

Philip French: I Found It at the Movies

Brian McFarlane
Saturday, 21 January 2012

Out of the dark

Brian McFarlane

 

I Found It at the Movies: Reflections of a Cinephile
by Philip French
Carcanet Press (Australian Book Group), $35.95 pb, 292 pp, 9781847771292

 

Whenever I have found myself in disagreement with Philip French’s film ...

Jonathan Croall: John Gielgud

Brian McFarlane
Friday, 21 October 2011

One man in his time

Brian McFarlane

 

John Gielgud: Matinee Idol to Movie Star
by Jonathan Croall
Methuen Drama, $75 hb, 688 pp, 9781408131060

 

As the dust settles on twentieth-century acting giants, and reputations are appraised, it is at least argua ...

Brian McFarlane reviews 'On Shakespeare' by John Bell

Brian McFarlane
Tuesday, 27 September 2011
Others abide our question. Thou art free.
We ask and ask: Thou smilest and art still,
Out-topping knowledge.
(Matthew Arnold, ‘Shakespeare’)

When Arnold wrote his famous sonnet, he could have been anticipating John Bell’s book, which repeatedly asks provocative questions about the man and the work that have been his ...

The title of this book might, to an innocent observer, suggest a triumphalist history, an impression that could be reinforced by the preface, which argues that the setting up of a squatters’ camp on the banks of the Yarra in 1835 ‘had a significance far beyond the baptism of a great city’, and concludes with the ...

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Cloudstreet

Brian McFarlane
Monday, 23 May 2011

Whereas the miniseries, most often based on revered literary texts, has been a staple of British television for fifty years, I could count on the fingers of a dismembered hand its Australian counterparts. In fact, the miniseries in general, as distinct from serials that run for a longer or shorter ...

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Lacking a titled aristocracy and the leisured class that went with it, Australian colonial society encouraged an egalitarianism of manners. This, however, did not reflect the absence of social stratification: rather, as it has been argued, it was a means of being reconciled to it in a new setting ...

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The Tempest

Brian McFarlane
Thursday, 21 April 2011

Anyone who remembers Julie Taymor’s 1999 version of Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare’s first published play, will not be expecting a reverential treatment of what is reputedly his last, but Taymor’s new film does move more or less inexorably to the play’s final wisdom: ‘The rarer action is / In virtue than in vengeance.’ The Tempest is a d ...

David Walker: Not Dark Yet

John Rickard
Thursday, 24 March 2011

An historian’s journey into the past

John Rickard

 

Not Dark Yet: A Personal History
by David Walker
Giramondo, $32.95 pb, 336 pp, 9781920882655

 

It is perhaps not surprising that historians, as they edge towards retirement, should consider the poss ...