Australasian Cinema > directors >
Man from Hong Kong, The (Brian Trenchard-Smith, 1975) aka The Dragon Flies; wr. Brian Trenchard-Smith, dp Russell Boyd; Deryck Barnes, Rebecca Gilling, Bill Hunter, Hugh Keays-Byrne, George Lazenby, Grant Page, Ros Spiers, Frank Thring, Jimmy Wang Yu, Roger Ward, Phillip Avalon
The first important actioner; Grant Page does stunts. Includes unarmed combat on Ayer's Rock (Uluru): you'll never see that again.
Deathcheaters (Brian Trenchard-Smith, 1976) prod. Brian Trenchard-Smith, wr. Michael Cove, Brian Trenchard-Smith, dp John Seale, 93 min.; John Hargreaves, Grant Page, Margaret Gerard, Noel Ferrier, Wallas Eaton, Ralph Cotterill, Judith Woodroffe, John Krummel, Michael Aitken, Drew Forsythe, Chris Haywood, Roger Ward; story about stuntmen: "Cunning Stunts"; Eastman colour, 35mm, Panavision 100 min.
You see the moment when John Hargreaves nearly died even more prematurely than he actually did, or at least nearly lost his sight. Very risky film.
Turkey Shoot (Brian Trenchard-Smith, 1982) aka Escape 2000, Blood Camp Thatcher; prod. Antony I. Ginnane, William Fayman for Second FGH Film Consortium, wr. Jon George, Neill Hicks, story George Schenck, dp John McLean, music Brian May, design Bernard Hides, ed. Alan Lake; Steve Railsback, Olivia Hussey, Michael Craig, Carmen Duncan, Noel Ferrier, Lynda Stoner, Roger Ward, Michael Petrovich, Gus Mercurio, John Ley, Bill Young, Steve Rackman, John Godden, Oriana Panozzo; Kodak colour, 35mm, 94 min.
One of the most distasteful films ever made in Australia. See the huge man (Roger Ward) beat up the girl using only his bare hands! See Olivia Hussey's body double with the large breasts! See the gratuitous monster! And then there's the story!
Dead-End Drive In (Brian Trenchard-Smith, 1986) Ned Manning (Crabs), Natalie McCurry (Carmen); based on Peter Carey story, "Crabs": uncredited; Sydney; 91 min.
Dystopic future partly based on the 'peak oil' paranoia found in the Mad Maxes.
Day of the Panther (Brian Trenchard-Smith, 1988) prod. Damien Parer, wr. Peter West, dp Simon Akkerman, 84 min. Edward John Stazak, John Stanton, Jim Richards, Michael Carmen, Zale Daniel, Paris Jefferson; martial arts master Jason Blade is sent from Hong Kong to Perth [WA] to deal with drug lord Stanton; first Jason Blade feature is traditional well-staged action; followed by sequel Fists of Blood.
There's a market for this chop-socky stuff: I'm not in it. But it was at least made in WA, as was its sequel, the next one.
Fists of Blood (Brian Trenchard-Smith, 1988) aka The Strike of the Panther, prod. Damien Parer, wr. Peter West, Ranald Allan, dp Simon Akkerman, 84 min.; Edward John Stazak, John Stanton, Rowena Wallace, Paris Jefferson, Zale Daniel, Jim Richards; second Jason Blade feature has our hero on the trail of recently escaped adversary Richards, who has shanghaied Blade's girlfriend; routine chop-socky actioner is a sequel to Day of the Panther
Jenny Kissed Me (Brian Trenchard-Smith, 1986) wr. Judith Colquhoun, Warwick Hind; prod. Tom Broadbridge; Deborra-Lee Furness, Ivar Kants, Tamsin West, Paula Duncan, Steven Grives; Carol (Deborra-Lee Furness) and de facto Lindsay (Ivar Kants) live with ten-year-old daughter Jenny; family melodrama; 98 min.
Quite a bit of this is the family melodrama stuff, which comes from the writers, but there's also a helluva lot of car-chase stuff, which I imagine comes from the director. Unfortunate and irrelevant use of Leigh Hunt's poem.
BMX Bandits (Brian Trenchard-Smith, 1983) aka Shortwave, colour, 35 mm, 90 min., prod. Tom Broadbridge, Paul Davies for Nilsen Premiere, wr. Patrick Edgeworth, dp John Seale, production design Ross Major, ed. Allan Lake, music: Colin Stead and Frank Strangio; David Argue (Whitey), John Ley (Moustache), Nicole Kidman (Judy), Angelo D'Angelo (PJ), James Lugton (Goose); children
Yes, 'our Nic' is lovely with all that hair, but I do get tired of all the chasing - even tho it's on bikes for a change. Slapstick climax.
Frog Dreaming (Brian Trenchard-Smith, 1986) aka The Quest, Spirit Chaser; Henry Thomas (from ET)
Some reviews of Frog Dreaming.
Paul Harris's short article in Murray (1995: 198) is mostly disparaging. He tells how Trenchard-Smith took over the direction two weeks in, when someone called Russell Hagg went off in a hissy fit. He mentions how permission had to get sought for Henry Thomas to come over and take the part away from a potential Australian actor (for obvious marketing reasons). And he runs down Everett De Roche's writing generally: he says the script 'frequently deploys American slang expressions' - funny, cos I noticed the Aussie ones! - like 'shut your cake hole', for example. And Harris says that the shots of Australian wildlife are largely irrelevant, which is simply wrong: they contribute to the tension and the sense of the strangeness that BTS is building up.
Next I got out Raffaele Caputo's review in Cinema Papers 58, Sept 1986: 50. Caputo is much more perceptive than Harris. He points out three (or four) sources of unity in the film (the fourth one being the Aboriginal contribution). First, there is the quest, which he sees as being informed by Twain's Huckleberry Finn. Then there is the interest in mechanics and invention which runs through the whole thing, from the bike on rails to the donkey engine. Then there there is sexual awareness, which obtains much more in the world of the children than in the generally inadequate adults. Unfortunately, Caputo has much of his discussion of this last aspect depend on what I think is a mishearing - which I speculate is possibly because English is not his first language. He says Barry's character says Miller's character doesn't want Cody 'banging around' with his daughter. I'm pretty sure I heard Tony Barry say 'hanging around'. We didn't talk about sex as 'banging' in 1986; well, maybe Caputo did, but I'm sure it's not a word Tony Barry would ever use on film.
Next David Stratton, in his book The Avocado Plantation (1990: 340-341). He uses all of one of his two pars knocking the 'opportunistic casting' of Henry Thomas, and his undisguised accent - which I think is a minor feature of the film, even if it's relevant at all.
None of these writers mention the thriller structure. Typically, Frog Dreaming has the initial scary teaser, followed by a very long buildup to the revelation of the monster - at 78-82 minutes into the 93 minute film. I noticed the timing, as I wondered what was in the coda. And again, typically, there is a final revelation: there really is kadaitcha, and frog dreaming, and a dreamtime - as seen, and stated, by Cody. However, the film withdraws from taking a definitive decision on this spiritual matter, by closing with the same shot with which it opened: the frog's-eye view which is ambiguously both above and below water-level.
A final word about the music: it's by Brian May (again) and sounds like routine 'film music' to me, which does nothing for this film, and could indeed be used for almost any film. But, given the 'dreaming' theme, there is some use of clicking sticks, and I think a bull-roarer at one point, but I don't remember hearing a didjeridu, thank goodness.
Love Epidemic, The (Brian Trenchard-Smith, 1975) wr. prod. Brian Trenchard-Smith for Hexagon Productions; photo; Melbourne and Sydney, colour 35 mm from 16 mm, 83 min.
Forgettable - or forgotten. Actually I may not have seen this.
Out of the Body (Brian Trenchard-Smith, 1989) thriller
Dangerfreaks (Brian Trenchard-Smith, 1989) doco
Siege of Firebase Gloria, The (Brian Trenchard-Smith, 1989) war
Drive Hard (2014)
Absolute Deception (2013)
Chemistry (TV series) 2011
The Cabin (TV movie) 2011
Arctic Blast 2010
Pimpin' Pee Wee 2009 aka Porky's: The College Years
"Fusion" (2008) TV series
Tyrannosaurus Azteca (2007) ... aka Aztec Rex (USA: TV title)
Long Lost Son (2006) (TV)
In Her Line of Fire (2006) ... aka Air Force Two (Australia: DVD title)
Tides of War (2005) (TV) ... aka The Phantom Below (UK) ... aka USS Poseidon: Phantom Below (USA)
DC 9/11: Time of Crisis (2003) (TV)
The Paradise Virus (2003) (TV)
Sightings: Heartland Ghost (2002) (TV)
Seconds to Spare (2002) (TV)
Megiddo: The Omega Code 2 (2001)
"The Others" (1 episode, 2000)
Britannic (2000) (TV)
Happy Face Murders (1999) (TV)
Voyage of Terror (1998) (TV) (as Brian Trenchard Smith) aka The Fourth Horseman
Atomic Dog (1998) (TV)
Doomsday Rock (1997) (TV) ... aka Cosmic Shock (UK)
Leprechaun 4: In Space (1997) (V)
Escape Clause (1996) (TV)
Sahara (1995) (TV)
"Flipper" (1995) TV Series ... aka The New Adventures of Flipper (USA)
Leprechaun 3 (1995) (V)
Night of the Demons 2 (1994) (V) ... aka Night of the Demons: Angela's Revenge
Official Denial (1994) (TV)
"Time Trax" (2 episodes, 1993)
"Silk Stalkings" (5 episodes, 1991-1992)
"Mission: Impossible" (2 episodes, 1989)
The Siege of Firebase Gloria (1989)
Dangerfreaks (1989) doco
Out of the Body (1989)
Day of the Panther (1988)
Strike of the Panther (1988) ... aka Fists of Blood
Dead-End Drive In (1986)... aka Dead End (USA: short title)
Frog Dreaming (1986) ... aka The Go-Kids ... aka The Quest (USA)
Jenny Kissed Me (1986)
BMX Bandits (1983) ... aka Short Wave (USA: video title (bootleg title))
"Five Mile Creek" (1983) TV Series
Turkey Shoot (1982) ... aka Blood Camp Thatcher (UK: video title) ... aka Escape 2000 (USA)
Day of the Assassin (1979)
Hospitals Don't Burn Down (1978)
Stunt Rock (1978) ... aka Sorcery (USA)
The Man from Hong Kong (1975) ... aka The Dragon Flies (USA) ... aka Zhi dao huang long
The Love Epidemic (1975)
Kung Fu Killers (1974) (TV)
The Marty Feldman Show (1972) (TV)
Penny Becchio, 'An interview with Brian Trenchard-Smith', Metro, 149, 2006: 174-177.
Garry Gillard | New: 6 December, 2006 | Now: 19 June, 2021