Thursday, July 03, 2008

They're a weird mob - and I don't mean Australians


Thanks must go to Cocktails for recommending an Australian film that sums up Australia in the mid-Sixties. They're A Weird Mob is about an Italian immigrant who arrives in Australia to find the magazine job he'd been promised doesn't actually exist, meaning he gets what work he can: a building site. He mixes with your average Aussie while all the time being mystified by the language and customs. Oh, and he falls in love.

It's a big Australian dream of making something of yourself and you can see its appeal. It's a light comedy, probably means more to you if you're actually an Australian and was the biggest Aussie film for years, apparently. Some lovely shots of Sixties Sydney, something I've not seen before, Neighbours' Helen Daniels as a barmaid and all the beer you can drink. But the underlying thing I got from it is that attitudes were quite British still. And they still used pounds, shillings and pence.

Then I checked out Don's Party, set in Sydney again, but this time on election night 1969. This was great, cringe-worthy stuff, like Abigail's Party with tits and a barbecue. It was made in 1976 and for the time I imagine was rather risque. Swinging, boozing, swearing, with boorish men and women who are either bimbos or shrews getting drunk and getting it on, while important election results are counted in the background. All mores were on show, sexual or otherwise.

My curiosity about this period is Aussie history is now partly satisfied. When are they making a film about the Beaumont children?

On another note, it was nice to meet Planet Mondo, Rockmother at The Urban Woo's birthday, and to see Roman Empress and Let's Look Sideways again. Great do, I was rather hungover the next morning, but it was a useful bridge-building exercise.

And have you seen Juno? You must, it's as briliant as they it is for once.

7 comments:

Roman Empress said...

Brill, we have Don's Party right here, can't wait to sit down to watch it.

Phil Norman said...

Great to see yourself, Woo and Mondo last night too, F-C. Weird Mob is great, as is most anything with ocker's ocker Chips Rafferty in it.

For a bleaker view, there's Outback with Donald Pleasence as a teacher stranded in a tiny bush town.

For a less bleak view, there's Sunstruck with Harry Secombe as a teacher stranded in a tiny bush town.

Five-Centres said...

Thanks Phil, I shall surely check those out.

Planet Mondo said...

FC - it was great to have a hook up, and meet so many cyberspace chums - I didn't have as many sips as I should've done to steady the nerves, so all clear headed for me.

As for Aussie films give Razorback the 80s horror by Russell Mulcahy a wide swerve - and isn't Night Of The Lepus a 70s Australian horror film too?

Cocktails said...

I'm pleased/relieved that you like it. There aren't many Australian films from that period, things didn't really kick off until the 70s.

Now, if you're into 70s Australia like Don's Party, I would also recommend having a look at(if you can ever find them)The FJ Holden (1977) - http://www.collectingbooksandmagazines.com/fjholden.html - and Newsfront (1978) which has a classic Australian cast. There is of course also ABBA: The Movie, one of my very favourites...

Five-Centres said...

Thanks Cocktails, I've gone after both of those now.

I hadn't thought about Abba the Movie. I remember we queued around the block to see that.

I might do a separate blog on that.

rockmother said...

Somersault is a good Australian film - as is The Castle. I must check out They're A Weird Mob.

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