I’m not just interested this episode because it’s all about the silent movie industry; it’s right at the transition to sound, which means we’re in the late twenties and Black Tuesday is approaching. I’m terrified what it’s going to mean for “Miss Fisher.” Especially when you consider this episode is all about one of Essie Davis’s investments, childhood friend Hamish Michael’s Australian movie studio.
Michael’s trying to keep the local film industry going even though the Americans are trying to takeover. Craig Hall’s the potential investor from the United States; he’s the most problematic thing in the episode because his American accent is bad so it’s hard to take him seriously.
The leading man on Michael’s historical epic ends up murdered and so Davis is investigating as investor, not as private detective. Means she gets to do things like take over directing when she wants to take over directing. It’s awesome. Also a smooth way to get her and Nathan Page working together for the first time in a few episodes without tension.
Well, without professional tension. There’s still personal tension, thank goodness, and the first Phryne Fellow in ages.
The movie studio setting gets everyone involved, from Ashleigh Cummings’s movie trivia helping solve the case (she also proves herself a more diligent investigator than beau Hugo Johnstone-Burt, which is concerning but not surprising) to Travis McMahon and Anthony J. Sharpe having to fill in as actors.
Chris Corbett’s script is geared to be amusing, but the guest stars help a lot. Constantly suspicious Michael is adorable, as is script girl Jane Harber, who’s got a photographic memory. Richard Sutherland’s funny as the asshole director and James Beck turns out quite good as the American actor slumming in Australia.
Stephanie King’s fine as the leading lady but doesn’t have a lot to do.
More than enough excellent support to make up for Hall.
And the action-packed resolution is dynamite; great direction from Peter Andrikidis.