“Malcolm” Assignment 2 Australian Cinema Andrew Buckley 30322717 Part 1 Crew Details Director: Nadia Tass Writer: David Parker Cinematographer: David Parker Producer: Nadia Tass, David Parker Executive Producers: Bryce Menzies, Timothy White Production Company: Cascade Films, Film Victoria Cast Details Colin Friels: Malcolm Lindy Davies: Judith Chris Haywood: Willy John Hargreaves: Frank Baker Beverly Phillips: Mrs. T Judith Stratford: Jenny Release Dates Malcolm was released in the U.S.A before Australia and become recognized there before it was so famous in Australia. Canada 5th September 1986 (Toronto Film Festival) Australia 18th September 1986 U.S.A 18th September 1986 Sweden 4th September 1987 Finland 6th October 1989 (TV Premier) Awards 8 AFI Awards Won in 1986 Best Achievement in Editing – Ken Sallows Best Achievement in Sound – Roger Savage, Craig Carter, Dean Gawen, Paul Clark Best Actor in a Lead Role – Coin Friels Best Actor in a Supporting Role – John Hargreaves Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Lindy Davis Best Director – Nadia Tass Best Film – Nadia Tass, David Parker Best Screenplay, Original – David Parker Budget and Box Office figures Malcolm was not produced on a big budget, Nadia Tass and David Parker managed to create the film on a budget of 1 millions dollars financed by Channel 7. This made it hard to do better quality cinematography and techniques, which David was capable of and can be seen in his later films but the film was still completed to a good standard. The films box office figures includes its earning of $544,472 (USA) and $3,483,139 in Australia distributed by Hoyts. This is not that much considering the awards it won and since its competition was Crocodile Dundee (1986) released the same year shadowed it. Crocodile Dundee made $47,707,045 in Australia and $174,803,506(USA) in the U.S. No Australian distributors were interested in distributing the film to start off with, not until Nadia and David screened it to the American film market getting around 7 good responses. They then passed these comments over to Hoyts who took another look at it and after a preview screening knew it was good and took it. The pre sale of the film before its theatrically released was priced at $125,000 and after its release it was priced around $900,000. Interviews and Reviews There was an interview done by the SBS Movie Show at the AFI Awards 1986, it can be seen on the Malcolm Collectors Edition DVD. In this review Nadia Tass, David Parker and Colin Friels are interviewed, with Lindy Davies being interviewed separately. In the interview they talk about how no one really knew that this film was being made as no one talked about it and it kind of came out of nowhere. Nadia said that they didn’t feel need to talk about it and she wanted to just “Make the picture and see what you’ve got”, (Nadia Tass) by showing everyone. They also said that they wanted to make a film which was entertaining but at the same time had a lot more depth to it which they succeeded in doing. The DVD released in 2001, has some quotes from the time of its release and later, focusing on its good points. Here is an assortment of quotes from newspapers and magazines at the time of the films release in the year 1986. ”There’s not a wasted or awkward moment in all of its 90 minutes” – Washington Post “Will appeal to a wide audience with its quality humour and eye popping mechanical inventions” – Screen International “There will always be a place for fantasy and always a place for laughter … Malcolm gives us an abundance of both … A work of absolute delight” – Cinema Papers “A charming tale replete with pointed humour” – People Australia (renamed Who Weekly) “An offbeat comedy… a warm look at a naïve man who resorts to fantasy to cope with an unfriendly world” – TV Week “A comedy that is REALLY funny … clever little gadgets are thick on the ground … steps straight into the from row” – Daily Telegraph Sydney “A delightful good hearted yarn … amusing … immensely likable … Nadia Tass has done a superb job” – Sydney Morning Herald Here some quotes from reviews in the year 2001. ”The car that splits itself in half has become an incredible icon … the time is right for a new audience to see this film” – The Australian “As caper flicks go Malcolm is one to watch, Whimsical and heart warming can be applied without cringing” – The Weekend Australian Magazine The film Malcolm is still being reviewed mainly because of its DVD release in 2001, the film is not featured that much on the internet and there aren’t that many reviews or articles about the film today. This shows that Malcolm is a small time Australian film with a lot of character but it didn’t quite lift off as much as other films of the same year. Part 2 The film Malcolm written by David Parker and directed by Nadia Tass is a great Australian comedy, dealing with strong issues of society in a very real style incorporated by the film. However there are mixed views of the film from its mixed use of comedy and serious issues. The award winning director Nadia Tass and writer David Parker created this film for a deeper meaning. The main character Malcolm is based upon Nadia’s late brother who had died before hand. The couple only had a small budget for the film and in the end had to mortgage their house for the movie. Nadia and David also helped build the gadgets for the film. It meant a lot to both of them and it shows in the movie. The film Malcolm is about a man named Malcolm living in Melbourne Australia. Malcolm is socially inept and is not accepted by society and so is seen as a “moron”. Malcolm’s only way to bridge himself into society is through his machines, he has a knack for creating wonderful little gadgets. He soon loses his job through being mischievous at work with his machines and is told to get a boarder into his house in order to get money through the deli owner Mrs T. Mrs T keeps an eye on Malcolm and helps him after his mother died. Malcolm soon gets a costumer, Frank, a pretty normal Australian Bloke into criminal activities who just got out of jail. Frank moves in and so does Frank’s girl friend Judith. Frank and Malcolm’s personalities begin to react with each other and soon become friends through their abilities in society working together to commit crime. Their abilities aren’t quite complete without the help of Judith who then joins their circle and they become free in society through working together and being successful in the bank robbing business. Malcolm is a great Australian film and I think it shows it views on society well within this very real feeling film. The film is very well thought out as an idea and was carried out that way, the makers not wanting to make nay changes at all. The films main issue is with society, how we treat people and how we see people. Together Malcolm and the film show that everyone has abilities that can be used in society and that we just need to find out what these abilities are. In this case Malcolm’s ability is mechanics; this ability was brought out into the world through Frank, a man who is against society being a criminal. Frank although against society opens the world up for Malcolm, shedding light on the world around them, in this case its Franks view on the world. Frank becomes a sort of hero figure for Malcolm because he is able to do things in society so freely, Malcolm is able to help Frank with his abilities in turn helping each other become complete in a way. The films comedy counterpart also reflects real life. As we go through life, enjoying ourselves carries us on; this is the main part of the film that is used to catch the audience’s attention. This can be seen in the trailer used, as trailers screen the most likable things about the movie in order to get the viewer interested, the trailer for this movie uses a cartoon and some enjoyable moments out of the film. This film which can be sub classified as a comedy shows a hard look on life but uses comedy in order to carry this view across to the audience, which I think is useful in bringing issues across, (1) “but the essential thing with any comedy is whether it's funny or not, and at its best Malcolm is very funny indeed”. One of the magazines in America (Murdochs Paper) said that the film was immoral, because of the way the character Malcolm was developed, as said by Nadia in the SBS interview on the DVD release. I feel that Malcolm’s character development is not immoral as in this film criminology is seen as a freedom and is also a trait shared by everybody. It’s part of our nature to go against authority in order to feel free. Malcolm’s ability to bridge himself to this freedom through the use of his gadgets, Frank and Judith develop his character into a person who now feels more accepted by the world around him because he feels he now has a place. The film also conveys the characters as being innocent and with the music and actors its not to be taken completely seriously it should convey (6)”an innocence that is matched by Malcolm’s own nature”. I feel one part of the film that hold it’s together strongly is the music. The music conveys exactly what Malcolm is striving for, freedom. It feels very playful and is only used when constructing Malcolm’s character, for example when he first rides his tram that he built. He has immense joy on his face and the music captures this. On his walk home from when he was fired the music show what he wants and what he’s walking away from, the way he moves shows this. The music also adds to the light heartedness of the film, as the critic Gary Couzens says… (1) “Simon Jeffes and the Penguin Cafe Orchestra's score adds to the film's quirky feel. (The score is probably a little overfamiliar now, as tracks like "Telephone and Rubber Band" have been featured in several commercials.)” Some critics dislike the way that the film was shot, in that the film has a very gloomy mood to it. I feel that this gives the film a realistic look, unlike movies today where everything looks so pretty and stylised. Instead this film has more of a raw feel to it. This in turn helps to address the very real issues that the film possesses about human nature. I don’t think of it as one of its down points but as adding to the feel or mood it creates for the world that the characters live in. It also provides some contrast between the start and the end of the film, the start is very dark and closed in, being the tram depot and the end is very open and bright, showing that the characters are now happy in their new lives. Malcolm was not talked about very much while it was in production, so it was kind of a surprise when it was first screened. Surprisingly enough Australian distributors didn’t want to distribute it for them not until they received good comments from America did Australia decide to distribute the film for them… (3) “The irony is that all the local distributors they approached showed no interest in the film at all - well, not until after the Americans had gone gaga for it. Sadly that attitude doesn’t seem to have changed very much even today, however…” The film received critical acclaim, receiving 8 AFI awards and receiving many good reviews. Although being a film of a more serious nature it was not as popular as other films released at the same time. As said above the overall earnings for Malcolm did not compare to the highest earnings of Crocodile Dundee. The film rated at 10 th spot for their overall figures in Australia beating films such as Short Circuit, another gadgets movie, Labyrinth and Star Trek 4. The film was only topped by films such as Aliens, Karate Kid 2, Golden Child, Top Gun, Out of Africa and of course Crocodile Dundee. Overall Malcolm had a very good uptake on its release compared with the budget the crew had and amount of publicity it had while in production. There are many good reviews with some failing to see its potential such as this critic … (2) “"Malcolm," a new Australian movie, desperately wants you to fall in love with its story, its characters, and its gadgets. But its direction is ungainly to distraction. The story line meanders like a sunstroked wallaby, the hackneyed characters fail to interact logically or even interestingly, and the gadgets are just so many mildly diverting toys.” While other critics say the opposite, (1) “imagine an Aussie take on an Ealing comedy – that is fast-paced, has considerable charm and is often funny”. Overall Malcolm was liked by many not just by Australians but overseas as well, but was also shadowed by other big hits released the same year, plus it wasn’t advertised as much. This film was a first for Nadia Tass and David Parker, who later went on to make many other films. Their skill also improved, once they had more money to do make new films they could use more techniques and therefore improve in their abilities. (1) “Tass and Parker have become much slicker filmmakers since, and have been graced with higher budgets”. There have both worked on many films since together such as Ricky and Pete (1988) made after Malcolm, The Big Steal (1990), Mr Reliable (1996) and Amy (1998). This means that the film Malcolm got them a higher place in the film business, from being an actor, Tass, and a photographer, Parker, into producing many Australian films together. Malcolm was released on DVD in 2001 letting it be seen by audiences once again, as after it was released it kid of disappeared. (4)” This film vanished for many years when the distributor, Cannon, went out of business”. The new audiences of the film still enjoy it even though it has an old look to it, it can still entertain people. (5)” After all these years it still makes me laugh so much I cry!!! What a subtle and special comedy of friendship, care and vulnerability. A highlight of Australian films”. As that person stated it can be seen as a highlight of Australian film and is still remembered by most. Its value although is not that high, as it is not an extremely well known film. Maybe if had more publicity and the makers were able to take that rough edge out of the film; it would have a higher position in Australian film. It did win 8 AFI awards at the time and was highly commemorated but is kind of lost in the past. However (1) “Malcolm has a special place amongst Australian films of the 80s”. Overall Malcolm is seen as an Australian comedy film, but I find it hard to classify it as just that. As this critic said (3)” Sure it has some wickedly comedic moments, however it’s rather difficult to classify simply, as many of its messages are slightly fuzzied”. The film also has a very serious edge to it, focusing on human nature, the way we look at each other in society and how everyone has their own talents even if they aren’t seen as normal. It then uses the crime genre, the plot of a bank heist, focusing on the criminal’s point of view, but like other Australian films on crime, crime is seen as a sort of freedom. The film uses our instinct of going against authority in a place where we feel that we don’t belong in order to carry the message of becoming free. (3) “Malcolm is simply a very clever, very amusing, very Australian film, with a skewed look at the world the likes of which just doesn't emanate from anywhere else on the planet”. In this case I feel that it seen as an Australian film as it is kind of different in that way. This also may be why it is not as popular as the other films of the time. Overall I believe Malcolm is a great film classified as an Australian Crime and Comedy film. It deserves its 8 awards especially best film and conveys issues relevant to that time period, with social differences. The film did not get the popularity it deserved, overlooked by many and overshadowed by higher budget films, as is usually the case in the film business. This film was able to further Nadia Tass and David Parkers careers in the film business. In the end it is a great film enjoyed by all, in Australia and overseas. References 1. http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/content.php?contentid=3593 (gary couzens) 2. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp- srv/style/longterm/movies/videos/malcolmpg13howe_a0b0a6.htm 3. http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=1076 4. http://www.stevemunro.ca/wp-content/uploads/2006/01/FFEST86.pdf 5. http://webflicks.com.au/user/movieDisplay.php?movie_id=10330 6. http://www.rtguide.com/servlet_film/com.icl.beeb.rtfilms.client.simpleSearchServlet? searchTypeSelect=5&frn=10466 7. http://www.moviemarshal.com/boxaus1986.html 8. http://www.imdb.com 9. Malcolm. Dir. Nadia Tass. Pro. Nadia Tass and David Parker. 1986. DVD. The AV Channel. 2001.