Film

More has been written about Rolf de Heer than about most Australian film directors of his generation, but Jane Freebury's Dancing to His Song contains ...

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Emanuel Levy has had a prestigious career as a senior critic at Variety, professor of film and sociology, and jury member at fifty-four international film festivals. His exhaustive account of the careers of five gay male auteurs is peppered with quotes from his own interviews with them. This awfully titled book may frustrate some readers, including Levy's p ...

Marguerite and Florence Foster Jenkins

Ian Dickson
Wednesday, 20 April 2016

As with London buses, one waits for ages for a film based on the life of that vocal phenomenon Florence Foster Jenkins (1868–1944), and then two arrive simultaneously. Add to the mix Maggie Smith's Miss Shepherd in The Lady in the Van and it seems to be open season on eccentric ladies of ...

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Brian McFarlane reviews 'Mad Dog Morgan' by Jake Wilson

Brian McFarlane
Monday, 21 December 2015

The evocative Prologue to this book has a poetic precision that bodes well for its treatment of this too-long neglected film, and what follows more than answers such expectations.

Jake Wilson's analysis (resuscitation might be a better word) of the 1976 Australian bushranging adventure,

Careful readers will soon notice something puzzling about this book, an attractive large-format paperback with frequent colour illustrations. Staring accusingly from the cover is the young indigenous actor Rowan McNamara, one of the stars of Warwick Thornton's 2009 love story Samson & Delilah. The image seems aptly chosen: Thornton's film is an acknowle ...

Desley Deacon reviews 'Women I've Undressed' by Orry-Kelly

Desley Deacon
Thursday, 29 October 2015

Orry George Kelly – the Oscar-winning costume designer professionally known as Orry-Kelly – was one of the many Australians who have made it big in Hollywood. He is lucky enough to have been rediscovered by one of our major filmmakers, Gillian Armstrong. Kelly's name and story are now well known, thanks to Armstrong's recent documentary, and so is the brilliant ...

The first time that I really took notice of Orry-Kelly’s name was when I began researching the 1933 pre-code film Baby Face a number of years ago. I became obsessed with Barbara Stanwyck’s sharp Manhattan business attire, her intricate gloves, and the fur-draped costumes she later wore as a kept woman. That the costumes were, at heart, Australian m ...

Part of a series aimed at undergraduates, Ron Wilson’s stimulating guide to American gangster cinema covers much ground in just over a hundred pages. What is especially useful about Wilson’s approach is his ability to place the genre in a context that extends beyond cinema: not so much what actual gangsters said and did, but the various discourses, from pulp nov ...

Desley Deacon reviews 'Double-Act' by Brian McFarlane

Desley Deacon
Thursday, 28 May 2015

Although many attempt it, writing the biography of an actor of a previous era is fraught. They consist mainly of lists of movies or plays long forgotten. The reception of their art is recorded by critics, once all-powerful, but now unknown. Their personal life and personality are hidden behind a screen of studio publicity. Writing the lives and careers of two stars ...

Mad Max: Fury Road ★★★

Kim Wilkins
Friday, 15 May 2015

In a hit-driven commercial climate, creating film franchises makes economic sense. Consumers who enjoyed the first The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel are likely to purchase a ticket to the sequel. Those who have committed more than eleven hours’ viewing to the first six films in The Fast and the Furious series will probab ...