Dimboola

Dimboola (John Duigan, 1979) prod. John Weiley for Pram Factory Pictures, wr. Jack Hibberd from his play, dp Tom Cowan, music George Dreyfus, Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band, design Larry Eastwood, ed. Tony Patterson; Natalie Bate, Max Cullen, Max Gillies, Dick May, Chad Morgan, Tim Robertson, Bruce Spence; review by Scott Murray in Murray 1995: 31; Eastman colour, 35mm, 94 min.

John Duigan was prolly reluctant to retain the directorial credit for Dimboola. It was interesting to see many of the Pram Factory people of the 1970s (Bill Garner, for example, tho mainly because of the connexion with his ex-wife and his daughter, rather than his acting) but it's a pity that the cast thought they could collectively direct a movie: it's a shemozzle. And any film with Bruce Spence in it is going to embody, um, exaggeration, to put it politely. He gets parts merely because of what he looks like, as does that fat chick who's in that film about the pig which thinks it's a sheepdog. All three are deluding themselves.

"In retrospect," says Duigan, "I should probably have pulled out, because I wasn't very happy with it. Probably the film would have been better if another director had made it more in Jack [Hibberd]'s concept, in a much more robust style." ... a wretched experience. Gillies gives one of the worst performances seen in an Australian film since the thirties .. the humour is so leaden, the awful songs so intrusive, the whole affair so badly timed and so banal that it is difficult to sit through it. Stratton: 179.


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