Saturday, 20 September 2008
Classic Australian Cinema: Petersen (1974)
Yes, from the team (David Williamson scriptwriter, Tim Burstall Director) that brought you the more renowned Alvin Purple, Petersen (1974) starring Jack Thompson in his first lead role is a classic.
Basically, Thompson is an ex-AFL star and electrician who saves up his dough to go to Uni in the pre-Whitlam era. Great scenes from University of Melbourne in the early 1970s. Thompson has an affair with his English lecturer (Wendy Hughes), fails the course when her Professor husband becomes jealous, becomes frustrated with his own wife (Jacki Weaver), and eventually gets beaten up by the cops while mouthy and drunk, sealing the conflict of class cultures theme with a nice little Queensland-style 'police interview'. Bud Tingwell appears briefly - and quite hilariously- as Thompson's agnostic Reverend father. All very raunchy in that frappez le bourgeoisie early 70s mode.
I also saw Stork recently - an earlier incarnation of the same team's work - which is rougher, and doesn't flow nearly as well as Petersen. Mind you, you get to see Monash Uni in that one, so they're both interesting pieces of social history.