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Seeing "Australia" in Australia

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Since it's too early to write a column refuting the nasty insinuations raised by those who would question President-elect Obama's whereabouts on the day Vince Foster turned up dead,(Rush is bound to raise some such scurrulous speculation sooner or later) this might be a good time to revive our film reviewing talents.

A movie reviewer might point out that Nicole Kidman's acting is a bit contrived and comes off as unnaturally melodramatic, but Americans tend to say:  "I'll see it and make up my own mind."  

When a reporter notes that during a screening at the Queensgate (on William St. in Fremantle) Theater complex, members of the audience responded to some dramatic lines with inappropriate laughter, then folks may get a better idea of whether they would get their money's worth if they paid to see this flick.

It has some interesting film allusions to classical films such as evoking the "Gone With the Wind" type climactic battle scenes, and the thought that the ranch house is reminiscent of a scene from "Giant" and music from "The Wizard of Oz" (Pun?), but these days some Brits don't know that much about American film culture, so why bother mentioning such cinematic references?

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The director manipulates the audience and (according to news reports) the management types at Twentieth Century Fox thought that the ending that relied on Australian culture for it's ending, wouldn't sell as many tickets as the traditional Hollywood "happy ending" and so the ending was redone to sell more tickets.  Ahh the joys of crass commercialism!

Apparently one of the film's lesser goals was to give Americans a glimpse of the nation without any borders and inspire some tourist interest in the country that spawned Qantas.  Sitting in the theater, it sure seemed to work.  The feeling that one could exit the theater and actually be in Australia was overwhelming.  The fact that when the film was over such a response was natural and realistic, brought home the artistry of the film. 

For someone who had an intense desire to travel "down under" (a local informed the columnist that some Aussies consider that a pejorative term), it was an amazing and exhilarating feeling to know that (with some cash help from a landlord who wanted to get a guy out of a rent-controlled apartment) dreams do come true.

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The scenery in the film is beautiful, but then again the drive along Motor Ave from MGM to Twentieth Century on Pico will take you past some marvelous homes, but that has nothing at all to do with the quality of this column.

The movie's best line is "Give him a ******* (gosh-darn) drink!"

Now, the disk jockey will play Judy Garland's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and we will (like those old soldiers in a barracks ballad) slowly fade away.  Have a "happy ending" type week.


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BP graduated from college in the mid sixties (at the bottom of the class?) He told his draft board that Vietnam could be won without his participation. He is still appologizing for that mistake. He received his fist photo lesson from a future (more...)

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