Craig Lahiff

Craig Lahiff's career is pretty consistent: B-movies and telemovies you've never heard of it (one not even in the IMDb)—with two exceptions (now possibly three). One is Black and White (2002) the vehicle for the late David Ngoombujarra's agonising performance as Max Stuart, the man who was sentenced to hang for a pedophilic murder, and also for possibly the only performance by an actor (Ben Mendelsohn) playing Rupert Murdoch in a feature film. The other stars Russell Crowe in a film so literally melodramatic it's risible (and not in a good way). As the lovers proceed toward their death-by-inferno, the music on the soundtrack is the Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde. The film's called Heaven's Burning (1997).

Bob Ellis thinks that Craig Lahiff is the new sliced bread—tho I found Swerve too complicated. But David Stratton anticipated his coming in a couple of places in his 1990 book: ‘… Fever is the work of a talented director and there seems little doubt that, given a really good script, Lahiff might one day surprise us all.' (243) ‘Journeymen directors like [names] are unlikely ever to surprise us: Craig Lahiff might one day.' (291) It seems that the day might have come.

... As it's turned out, Swerve was his last film. He died 2 February 2014. Don Groves has written an obit.


Coming, The (Craig Lahiff, 1981) Elizabeth Alexander, Kerry McGuire, Rod Mullinar

Fragments of Terror (Craig Lahiff, 1985) Tom Burlinson, Rod Mullinar

Coda (Craig Lahiff, Terry Jennings, 1987) TV; aka Symphony of Evil, Deadly Possession; VHS

Fever (Craig Lahiff, 1987) Bill Hunter, Gary Sweet, Mary Regan, Jim Holt; film noir; filmed SA

Strangers (Craig Lahiff, 1989) wr. John Emery, dp Steve Arnold; James Healy, Anne Looby, Melissa Docker, Jim Holt, Tim Robertson; drama

Ebbtide (Craig Lahiff, 1994) wr. Bob Ellis, Peter Goldsworthy; John Waters, Harry Hamlin, Judy Mcintosh, Susan Lyons, John Gregg, Frankie J. Holden; thriller; lawyer accused of murder; VHS - no theatrical release?

Heaven's Burning (Craig Lahiff, 1997) aka You Don't Know What Love Is; wr. Louis Nowra; Russell Crowe, Youki Kudoh; Japanese woman on honeymoon in Australia leaves her husband and becomes involved with Aussie bushwhacker in a chase across Australia; 99 min.

Black and White (Craig Lahiff, 2002) Robert Carlyle, Charles Dance, Kerry Fox, Colin Friels, Ben Mendelsohn, David Ngoombujarra; premiere Sydney Film Festival 7 June 2002

Swerve (Craig Lahiff, 2011) crime drama neo-noir thriller


New: 3 November, 2011 | Now: 18 April, 2014 | garrygillard[at]gmail.com