The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (Fred Schepisi, 1978) prod. Fred Schepisi for Film House Australia, wr. Fred Schepisi, novel Thomas Kenneally, dp Ian Baker, music Bruce Smeaton, design Wendy Dickson, ed. Brian Kavanagh; Tommy Lewis, Freddy Reynolds, Ray Barrett, Jack Thompson, Tim Robertson, Angela Punch, Bryan Brown, Eliabeth Alexander, Ruth Cracknell, Don Crosby, Julie Dawson, Robyn Nevin; young Aboriginal explodes into violence when treated unjustly by whites; drama, thriller; Eastman colour, 35mm, widescreen, 122 min.

Despite, or because of, the massive publicity build-up, despite the good reviews, the film was a major commercial disappointment. Its failure was, in fact, a serious blow to the whole industry, for here was an impeccably made, ambitious, intelligent, expensive film from which the public simply stayed away. Was it the violence? Was it a deep-seated racism among Australian audiences that kept them away from a film about an Aboriginal who declares war on the white race? David Stratton: 137.


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