Malcolm

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					                                        “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.

				
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